I started TAing last week. It’s a terrifying experience when I have to get up and talk, but sometimes it can lead to some strange ideas. You see, the professor I’m assisting (Brenda Laurel by the way) had the students read my own essay that compares genre to PGDI as a tool for gaining literacy in games. That piece wasn’t on my blog yet, probably because I wanted to go and revise it once before I put it up here, but the students read it (at least it seemed so), and wow did they have questions. One of the more interesting comments that came up was this idea of using game-centric methods on other pieces of interactive media. Popular game genres are pretty bad at that, since they describe a very specific type of medium. The thematic genres we’ve borrowed from cinema and literature (sci-fi, romance, etc.) are better at it, by far, but then we’re already using them to do that.
PGDI, though, might be more flexible. Since PGDI started as a games studies method, it would be interesting to be able to apply it to other kinds of media. It is particularly helpful when looking at something like Coffee: A Misunderstanding by Squinky Kiai, an interactive piece that introduces elements of plays and improvisation to the gamespace. So, I got to thinking, what kind of interactive media could I test PGDI on? Well, it happens that the students are reading about affordances for class, as well, and for affordances, we have a piece by Don Norman from The Design of Everyday Things. In the reading, Norman opens by talking about doors that have a problem with perceived affordances (e.g., doors that push from the left, where the left and right are indistinguishable). Since I have doors on the brain, I came up with the idea, why not try to apply PGDI to describe a door? Sure, most people don’t see doors as media, but they are interactive and they are things that are designed. I think that PGDI is robust enough to wander out into other areas of art and design. Let’s see how it holds up. This will be a piece in three parts. The first part will deal with the Social and Participation components. The second part will examine the Mastery and Immersion components. Finally, the third part will tackle the Customization and Progression components. The format for this will be similar to my treatment of Catherine through PGDI (Part 1, Part 2).