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Designing Dating Games: (Re)Designing the “Oldest Game”

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Abstract: This chapter explores the background, ethics, and design of “Dating Games.” It explores how Dating Games differ from other forms of serious games and how designers can both get dating and Dating Games wrong if poorly designed. The chapter does this through the lens of the author’s non-digital Dating Game, Fellowship of Fools: The (Romance) Game and Fellowship of Fools: The (Sexuality) Game. The chapter also examines the role that friendship plays in romantic and sexual relationships and thus also uses the author’s game, Fellowship of Fools: The (Friendship) Game. Dating Games, not unlike dating generally, are a “fraught” field. Players bring with them a great deal of cultural assumptions that require a great deal of thought and care on the part of designers.

Casey O’Donnell and Hermione Banger (2020). Designing Dating Games: (Re)Designing the “Oldest Game”. Pp. 189-242 in the Edited Volume, Love and Electronic Affection: A Design Primer. Edited by Lindsay Grace. New York, NY: Routledge.


About Casey O'Donnell

Casey O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. He is part of the games faculty and Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) lab at MSU. He is also part of the game development collective Affinity Games. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace.

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