Grief-Based Game Design

How can designers make space for grief in their games? And why should they? This presentation will discuss challenges and possibilities of grief-based game design in Jocoi, a game about pregnancy loss. The talk looks at three moments in the design process of Jocoi. First, why and how did we involve four women who had experienced pregnancy loss to inspire design constraints? Secondly, how did we translate lived into game play experience, making important themes tangible through game aesthetics? Finally, I will share some impacts of making Jocoi which reflect what grief-based game design can do, and why it matters.

About Sabine Harrer:
Sabine Harrer is a Vienna/Copenhagen-based cultural researcher and part of the Copenhagen Game Collective. She has collaborated on experimental games like Cunt Touch This, an erotic vulva-based tablet game, Lovebirds, an awkward romantic performance, and Jocoi, a computer game about pregnancy loss. Jocoi is part of her PhD thesis, which explores how videogames can represent attachment, loss and grief. Sabine has been a lecturer in cultural studies, critical media analysis, and game studies at the University of Vienna and IT University Copenhagen. Sabine’s work is driven by an interest in intersectionality, representation, and the question how videogames can become a medium for all.

Also check out Sabines other talk at the GGC – Vulvas on the Tablet: What Cunt Touch This has taught us about shame and pleasure in gaming!