Designing a Game for Playful Communication within Families

Vol. 6, No. 1 (2012)

 

http://www.eludamos.org

 

 

Designing a Game for Playful Communication within Families

Ida Toft, Amani Naseem

Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 2012; 6 (1), pp. 39-52

 

 


Designing a Game for Playful Communication within Families

Ida Toft and Amani Naseem

 

The article will illustrate and explain how we worked with research and our own and secondary literature to create a game that had the potential to create social change. The game Junomi was designed to address the problem of loneliness among Danish teenagers and create opportunities for the families to play and experiment with the ways in which they communicate together.

The game is a location based smart-phone game that takes place in players' everyday environments around the city. Players invite close family members to play for an agreed period of time (for example a week or a couple of months). Throughout the game period, players create questions, each with three possible multiple choice answers, and place them on a map to be found by other players. When other players pass by the question locations on their everyday routes around the city, the questions pop up on the phones.

 One player might, for example, make a question involving what she would like for dinner and locate it at the supermarket. Another player might then write a question indicating that she won't come home for dinner and leave it on her mother's route back from work. When the mother receives the question she would have to forward it to all the other family members if she wants to receive points for her answer.

Players receive points for creating questions and choosing the correct answers. There are seven question categories to inspire the players to make different types of questions. The questions and answers are saved, and can be browsed through on the game map, and are thus similar to other family collections such as photograph albums or videos. Junomi has been designed as a response to the widespread problems of loneliness and weak family relationships in Denmark. The hope is that by playing together, family members will get a chance to play with the way they communicate and update each other, as well as a chance to experience closeness and togetherness even though they are rarely at home at the same time.

The following section will  provide an introduction to the situation experienced by  Danish families and, in particular, their teenaged members.

Throughout a familiy's history, norms, roles and habits of communication are established during such ritual moments as dinner, breakfast, family evenings, chores,  SMS messages, phone calls and car trips and transportation time. Communicating about new issues and changes in the family members' lives can be a challenge. This is especially prevalent with teenagers as, during  this transitional period in their lives they face many new situations, dilemmas, doubts and insecurities, and yet spend even less time together with their families, thus receiving and giving fewer  opportunities to build confidence and develop trust and togetherness. Torben Bechmann Jensen, a psychologist researching Danish teenagers says that Danish teens have to be "cool, calm and collected" (2006 p.16) and that independence and maturity are highly valued qualities needed for them to be seen as a success. According to Bechmann Jensen, showing uncertainty can be a threat to this image and for some even a taboo (Bechmann Jensen 2006). This makes sharing  stories and thoughts about their lives a challenge: a lot of trust and closeness is thus required for teenagers to open up, and be comfortable enough to confide in family members and in one another.

According to Kirsten Drotner, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, the pace of development in modern society drives a wedge between generations, making many of the parents' life skills irrelevant to later generations. Instead, the skills for succeeding in contemporary society are learnt in institutions, where the children spend most of their time (Drotner 2001). In a normal family situation, both parents work, and on average the Danish families only spend a few hours a day in the same location (Bonke 2009). These hours are, however, often spent doing household duties and chores, and do not necessarily represent time spent on what Bonke calls 'primary care' (when the parents do things together with or for the child), instead merely representing time spent under the same roof. The time families actually do spend together is usually very restricted and inflexible, often limited to some time after dinner, or on weekends and as teenagers grow older the time spent with their families becomes less.

Bodily, social and intellectual change characterizes teenagers' lives and family relationships have to evolve, change and grow through these changes. This makes communication, confidence and trust in each other important during these years. However as described above, family life in Denmark provides limited opportunity for spending time together to create these strong ties,

Statistics of loneliness among Danish teenagers reflect this apparent inability to confide in the members of their close social circle. Almost every forth teenager identifies loneliness as part of their lives (Simonsen and Hansen 2006). As many teenagers are surrounded by people every day and have a seemingly rich social life filled with parties, friends and social activities, it is surprising that so many identify with loneliness and self harm. Psychologist Ida Kock distinguishes between the qualities of different social relationships and characterizes loneliness as the state of exclusively having  weak social relationships and being without anyone to confide in or trust (Simonsen and Hansen 2006). Junomi is concerned with improving communication and strengthening close relationships among the teenagers' closest social circles.

In the following section we describe the methods used to produce the data  upon which we based our game design. We then illustrate some of the considerations involved in the design process and detail how we investigated the social situation. We explain how we investigated what kinds of play could be meaningful for the different situations the families live in everyday and how play could have the potential to make the families feel close and connected throughout their daily lives. Finally, the game and design decisions are evaluated through reflections, argumentation, Experience Prototypes and follow up interviews. The discussion section at the end of the article addresses how to make a game with a potential to make change.

 

Method

We wanted to design our game in a way which would be relevant in the sense that it would have the potential to transform the current familial situation into a preferred state (Zimmerman 2007). We considered the social situation to be complex, consisting of issues on many levels. To investigate the situation from as many angles and levels as possible, this project relied on a research-based design approach and was based on literature from disciplines including psychology, sociology, media studies, science and technology studies, and economics and youth research, as well as our own qualitative research.

In total we carried out seventeen qualitative interviews to discover the details and nuances of how the teenagers and parents themselves talk about their experiences. The interviews were carried out in two phases. The first eight interviews had a general focus, concentrating on the teenagers' everyday routines at home and while out and about in their neighbourhoods. The following nine interviews (of which seven, three with teenagers, four with parents, followed on from the introductary interviews) focussed specifically on communication with family and close relationships, in particular when talking about experiences, concerns, wishes and successes in their relationships. The teenage informants can be divided into two main groups, one consisting of teenagers who were in the last year of Middle School and the other half who went to High School (14-18 years). Among the informants is a mixture of teenagers from divorced and cohabiting families with a varied number of siblings. Also, two of the informants had parents from Iran, and saw themselves as fully Danish. We chose teenagers from different kinds of families, as we wanted the project to obtain as many perspectives on the target group as we could to be relevant to as wide a group of teenagers as possible.

We also carried out two Experience Prototypes (Buchenau and Suri 2000) to explore how the different aspects of the proposed concept could work and be experienced in a working context.

By the term 'Experience Prototype' we mean to emphasize the experiential aspect of whatever representations are needed to successfully  (re)live or convey an experience with a product, space or system. So, for an operational definition we can say an Experience Prototype is any kind of representation, in any medium, that is designed to understand, explore or communicate what it might be like to engage with the product, space or system we are designing. (Buchenau and Suri 2000, p.1)

The main prototype for Junomi was a Wizard of Oz-type (Buxton 2007) SMS prototype of the game, which was played by the users during a twenty-four-hour session as they went about their daily activities. Afterwards, interviews were arranged to get comments about their experiences and further explore design opportunities.

The first Experience Prototype was carried out with two teenage friends. Cards were designed for testing the categories used in the game and whether the rules of the game were understandable before the main prototype session. The friends understood the categories and the rules quite well and they were thus used again during the main prototype, which was carried out with a family of two children (a girl of fifteen and a boy of twelve) and their two parents. The children lived with their mother but also spent approximately two days a week with the father who lived in the same neighbourhood. It must be noted that there were two factors that could affect the dynamic of the game that were not tested here: Firstly, the duration of the prototype was only twenty-four hours instead of a period of several weeks or months as the final game is intended to be. This was something that greatly effected the pace of the game. Secondly, this prototype did not test how the players would have played if they had been choosing locations for questions around the city for their questions.

Since this was a research situation in which the participants did not initiate the play or choose to play the game themselves, they may have felt a pressure to be active, and remain active for the duration of the game. However, the follow up interviews did not indicate that the players felt obliged to play.

The fact that we did both the design work and the user-research ourselves meant that we did not boil down the data into a finalized analysis in report form, or make scenarios or personas as is often done in user-centered or research-based design processes. The data from the interviews were coded and categorized. The coding was done directly onto Post-it notes or coloured paper, a method inspired by Anna Maria Nicolaci Da Costa's way of working with empirical data in design processes (Da Costa 2007). The Post-it notes were pasted on a wall to find relevant and representative categories.

Although ethnographic research usually requires very detailed coding and categorization (Coffey and Atkinson 1996), the method of using Post-it notes did not allow for such measures. The size of the Post-it notes did not afford lengthy descriptions, but called for concise phrasing. Rather than giving detailed descriptions of the experiences from the interviews, they worked as references to our memories of the situations.

This visible overview of the data on the Post-it notes facilitated discussions and the clustering of the data by allowing connections to be immediately pointed out and discerned. As the discussions and interpretation of data continued for several weeks throughout the design and concept development, the Post-it notes reference to the original data helped us retain the clarity of our memories of the teenagers in their homes. Using short references to memories of the situations rather than a finalised report or scenarios made our interpretations both agile and malleable. The interpretations we drew could easily to travel far from the original situations. The actual audio files from the interviews were therefore revisited during the process to keep our work as close as possible to our original impressions.

Having all the data around us on the walls facilitated how we continually analysed and reinterpreted the data throughout the design and concept development process. The design practices of sketching (Buxton 2007) and prototyping allowed us to explore possible futures by allowing for the critical examination of the properties and ideologies inherent in possible platforms, technologies and the games. It is also important to emphasize that the concept development and interpretation of data were carried out as parallel processes so that design ideas and discussions themselves could open up various perspectives from which to consider the data. The practice of framing and reframing possible ways in which elements are prioritized (Löwgreen & Stolterman 2004) and of (re)framing different configurations of systems and technology opened up new sets of possibilities, repeatedly calling for "a new understanding of the phenomenon" (Schön 1983, p.68). When designing a game to deal with a complex issue, unfolding the situation by keeping the analysis and interpretation of data open throughout the design process can support the development of a nuanced understanding of the field, making data-based research particularly suitable for this kind of work.

 

Design Considerations

This section illustrates some considerations we took into account  when working with the data from our interviews and the literature from larger empirical studies that we found relevant to the topic. It explains how we explored the families' everyday lives and daily routines to find moments and possibilities for play; and how we considered what kind of play would be suitable and how various aspects of the situation could be drawn in to the game and made playable. It finally details how we further investigated different technological solutions and their potential to facilitate different forms of play.

This section is a snapshot of some of the concerns we had and, even though actual processes were much messier than they might appear here, it serves to exemplify the way in which we worked.

 

Using the mobile phone as platform

Both our own empirical research and other academic research shows that the Danish families are extremely busy and spend a few hours a day together on average. As one teenager explains:

I usually go out on Friday night, so I sleep until late in the morning, then my mother and [mother's partner] often go to the gym on Saturday morning. So I manage to just see them before they leave … then I go to football practice. (Seventeen-year-old girl)

All eleven teenagers we interviewed wanted to spend more time with their families and wanted them to know more about their daily lives. Some teenagers expressed concern that they felt they isolated themselves from the family; as one girl expressed, she felt like "she was not so much part of the family anymore" (16 years old). Others felt nostalgic about the Friday evenings when the family used to gather around the television and how they used to go and visit the siblings in their rooms and chat, play or do homework in each other's company.

The teenagers expressed a considerable need for independence and for close relationships with good friends and grown-ups who had known them for a long time. But they also expressed that it was difficult to balance the two needs.

When designing our game, we considered these busy schedules and found that it would be necessary to make it very easy and convenient to play together. So we considered a range of technologies and looked into research on media studies, youth culture and technology use.

The families already have a range of media they use to communicate with each other in different ways, such as SMS Messages, telephone calls, paper notes and calendars etc. Media scholar Christian Licoppe explains how the use of communication technologies can be conceived not as compensation for being together, but as part of a "continuous pattern of mediated interactions that combine into 'connected relationships', in which the boundaries between absence and presence eventually get blurred" (Licoppe 2004, p.136). He considers communication in terms of mediated relationships instead of separate and particular mediated interactions and points out that different devices have distinct properties that can be used to add to this pattern of flows that constitutes communication between people  in intimate relationships. Taking Licoppe's view into account, we chose to design Junomi in such a way that the game could become a part of players' communications repertoire, and would include the possibility for playful and ambiguous communication when played for a longer period of time (e.g. 6 months).

During our interviews we found that moments for chat and intimate conversations were often squeezed in between other activities, for example during transportation, homework or teeth cleaning. A father, for instance, would drive his son to ice hockey practice and help him with his training, using this time to talk and catch up. Similarly, one girl talked about her close relationship with her grandparents who often invited her and her brother to their summerhouse and would always have some chores or repair work for them to do together: While working they would catch up and talk about all sorts of things.

We were inspired by the ways in which these families created moments for themselves where they could talk and catch up together, often using practical activities or other chores as excuses for dialogue.

Richard Ling and Jonathan Donner describe the mobile phone as a technology of the intimate sphere: The large majority of mobile phone contact is between people who are close in their everyday lives, and most of their communication is about practical, everyday things, like what is in the fridge or coordination of activities (Ling and Donner 2009). Since playing games is not a habit for many of the family members we studied, we thought it would be most useful to build the game on the phone, a platform  the family members already use regularly to communicate with each other, and on which norms and habits of communication are already established. Furthermore, we thought that the location-based aspect of the playful questions popping up around town in a way similar to practical SMS messages could be like reminders to play and be playful in different places. We wanted to take advantage of these qualities inherent in mobile phone communication in the development of our game.

Ling and Donner also talk about how the quality of mobile phones allow for the interlacing of activities (Ling and Donner 2009).

Interlacing of activities means that we can vicariously participate in situations or we can organize one social interaction while we are still (physically) in a separate one. (Ling and Donner 2009, p.139)

Taking advantage of this possibility of interlacing allowed us to make a game that-contrary to a board game-does not need to be played in a particular situation. This, and the fact that the game is constantly available, means that the game does not require one to set aside time for it, allowing it to be  interwoven into daily activities. The mother who participated in the SMS Experience Prototype described how she  answered the questions on a bathroom break. This is one aspect of the game that makes it easier for the whole family to participate. The game play can fit easily and conveniently in with the families' busy lives.

 

Telling Stories

The location-based aspect of the game provides an opportunity for the design to strengthen a family's feeling of togetherness and to make it possible for members to  think about each other in considerate ways. We considered how places are filled with stories and memories. Making questions for particular locations gives players the possibility to consider the context for the question may be "found" in and to take into account each others' schedules, routes and rituals in the city. For example, a player could place a question on the playground to remind another player of childhood memories. Alternatively, a player could create a question  simply when thinking about where another player might pass on their way home, thus giving them a hint to pick up some cookies from the nice bakery they travel by, for example.

John McCarthy and Peter Wright write about how the narratives we use to recount experiences play a pivotal role "not only in the way in which we make sense of our experience but also for the way in which they can shape our felt, lived experience" (McCarthy and Wright 2004, p.119). Building the game on questions and answers would let the players create narratives about real experiences as well as to make up fictional ones using their imagination.

When a player creates questions about a fact or an event and then writes corresponding right and wrong answers, they not only change the way these facts are communicated among the players, but also the player's own way of considering both their experiences and the places they visit in the city.

McCarthy and Wright claim that the recounting of stories is self-referential, in that narratives are 'selective interpretations' constructed for a specific purpose and for a particular audience. In our game, we constrained the format of a question to two incorrect and one correct answer to bring in an ambiguity which would give the player freedom to play and interpret the events of their lives, through, for example, the fictional answers they write, the types of questions they create, and the decision at what point to start the story, and so forth.

We also wanted to make use of how the way in which players express themselves relates to the way  they think they will be understood by other players. As the game is designed in such a way that asks players to formulate the questions themselves, they must also consider what the others know or think about  a subject.

In the Experience Prototype the family's daughter made a question about a funny anecdote concerning her father. Even though it was the father who had originally experienced the situation, he got the question wrong because he had forgotten to consider the story from his daughter's point of view. A player could also put a right answer as a wrong answer to test out others' expectations and interpretations of him, making the others consider not just what is correct, but also what is likely that the question's designer would tell them and put as the right answer. This is a very straightforward example, but it also works on more subtle levels. McCarthy and Wright explain this in terms of Mikhail Bakhtin's idea of inter-animation (McCarthy and Wright 2004, p.122) in the sense of having to consider not only the question designer's experiences but also who they are in relation to others, a process which involves reflections on their family relationships. In the Experience Prototype, the children who were dealing with the rather difficult situation of their parents being divorced, used the questions to show their concern and care for both of their parents, by asking questions referring to the parents' backgrounds, and the culture and experiences they had had with each of them.

This section has given an insight into how we worked with research and theories to understand the situation for which we were designing the game, and how we discovered opportune moments in which play would be relevant and have potential  to create change in families' lives.

 

Discussion

For this project we recognized that the communications situation among Danish teenagers is a difficult problem involving disparate issues and people with varied goals and interests. As the sociologist Bente Halkier states, the heterogeneous nature of social problems makes them indefinable (Halkier 2001, p.58). As written earlier the practice of creative design (Schön 1983) allowed us to explore the situation and its future possibilities concurrently. Attempting to create a game that had potential to change a situation to a preferred state we can refer to Mary Flanagan's notion of Critical Play. Here she argues that games are spaces in which it is possible to be in several spatialities simultaneously, and in which social and political transformation is possible.

The challenge, then, is to find ways to make interesting, complex play environments using the intricacies of critical thinking, and to encourage designers to offer many possibilities in games, for a wide range of players, with a wide range of interests and social roles. We can manifest a different future. It is not enough to simply call for change and then hope for the best; we need interventions at the level of popular culture. (Flanagan 2009, p.261)

As Flanagan writes about critical computer games:

Games are frameworks that designers can use to model the complexity of the problems that face the world and make them easier for the players to comprehend. By creating a simulated environment, the player is able to step away and think critically about those problems. (Flanagan 2009, p.249)

Although most of the video games Flanagan addresses in her book model or simulate problematic situations, we did not consider this as a useful way to design a game which would improve communication. We considered how Tracy Vetting Wolf et. al. argues that it is not possible to delineate these kinds of problems. Wolf et al. explain that these are 'wicked' problems (Rittel and Webber 1973) and that designing for 'wicked' problems requires "the assessment of multiple possible solutions and the integration of multiple facets [of a situation] " (Wolf et. al. 2006 p.2). According to them it is not possible to boil down these kinds of problems to a single set of requirements, nor to identify a "logical systematic plan" (Wolf et al. 2006, p. 4) which would be necessary in order to make a simulation game. Our focus was not on producing a game that modelled a system or situation, but was concentrated instead on finding a way to make the communication situation playable and playful. Thus we had to consider not just what we would put inside the game but also the whole situation surrounding its play.

Ian Bogost (2007) identifies computational processes and simulations as being characteristic and unique to video games, argueing that they can be used in persuasive ways. In computational systems like video games, the construction of dynamic models, rules and behavior are authored in code, in programming and in processes. According to Bogost, the power for video games to disrupt and change fundamental attitudes and beliefs about the world, and their potential to create significant long-term social change, lies not in the content of the game, but in the rhetorical use of processes.

Our design approach takes a broader perspective, in order not only to consider the potentials and possibilities of the processes within the game, but also to draw on discussions from Science and Technology Studies on the relationship between human agency and technology. This was done to explore the potentials and possibilities in the game as a whole, including the qualities of the platform and how it is already integrated within the families' habits in their everyday lives.

Bruno Latour and Marc Berg argue that humans and the technologies they use should be understood in relation to each other:

… 'we' are what we are only in close co-evolution with the plethora of changing artifacts that constitute, sustain, mold, and re-conceptualize us-from mundane artifacts such as egg timers to the complicated historical and material processes that have produced what we now call 'the subject'. (Berg 1998 p.476)

It is important to consider such co-evolution in our project, as the goal of designing technology involves, in this case, achieving a preferred state in the relationship between the teenagers and the people they are closest to. Latour (1992) argues that the discussion should be taken  beyond humanistic or technological determinism. He argues that both human and technological powers are equally able to originate actions in society. Different technologies have different ontological and epistemological foundations that determine the way in which they  "constitute, sustain, mould and re-conceptualize" the people who use them. The ideologies and implications behind different technologies had, therefore, to be examined when working out and evaluating proposed concepts for our design.

In such a design process, an understanding of the values in technology, complemented by a detailed understanding of how they would work in the field, is necessary in order to evaluate and judge a proposed design's possible implications and its potential to make an apt change in a social situation. Our analyses of data had thus to be continuously re-considered and re-conceptualized in relation to the proposed game ideas.

From this perspective we consider our game to be a technology with specific qualities, which frames the families' communication in playful ways. When questions pop up on the phones, they work as a reminder to find a playful attitude, and as a suggestion and an excuse to play in the daily hassle of routines and commitments. The game is designed as a structure for play, making playing and experimenting with ways of communicating a little bit easier for those who are often too busy, caught up in life's concerns or simply out of practice.

This is an understanding of the relationship between game and play that can be compared to Douglas Wilson's description of his own party games: "… it can be productively evocative to conceptualize these kinds of silly party games not as "systems", but rather as festive contexts-as excuses to laugh with and horse around with friends" (Wilson 2011). Similar to Junomi, these kind of party games do not check up on how the players play the game, thus creating a gap between what the game tells the players to do and what it is actually able to monitor and enforce. We see that building a space of ambiguous rules between what the game directs and what is actually possible foregrounds the social context and calls the players' attention not only to each other but to the play and social interchange surrounding the game. As the players in Junomi define the true and false answers, the system does not check up on their accuracy: The players themselves have thus  to consider not just what what has been defined by the designers as the right answer, but what the player who asked the question might consider to be the right answer in a particular context.

Several authors point to how the context of play and the way games are played are complicated and intrinsically interconnected. Referring to 'the assemblage of play', game scholar T. L. Taylor draws attention to how games are placed within the context of a larger net of nodes and structures (including physicality; virtuality; physical, social and historical structures; and social relationships etc.) which  becomes part of and shapes the way a game is played (Taylor 2009). Also Mia Consalvo (2005) has studied players' cheating practices. She draws attention to how a culture and a network around cheating nurtures and facilitates the development of individual play and cheating practices. These studies draw attention to the contexts of games and how these contexts enable the players particular play practices.

For this project we studied the families' existing everyday lives, rituals, habits and established practices of communication and their use of technology and used it as the context in which to place our game. We looked for ways in which we could design a kind of play that would be suitable to the social environment, and also how we could draw the different aspects involved in this situation into the game. In short, we examined how the different aspects of the families' communication situation could become playable.

Many games with a purpose beyond entertainment are based on the models of persuasive games and procedural rhetoric. These games are most often designed to have their impact after playing the game, for example getting players to donate to certain causes. Some discussion has been conducted about how and whether it is possible to evaluate and measure the success of the game in terms of long-term change. Ian Bogost argues that the effect of a persuasive game lies in the reflections, conversation and discussions it initiates, e.g. in the public media (Bogost 2007 p.317-341). Junomi primarily focuses on creating change while playing, both in the sense described by McCarthy and Wright when recounting and retelling, and also when the players are more consciously contributing creatively to the game. Relying on players to engage with the game in this way requires much more from the players than simple decision making among defined choices. As Flanagan points out, games can function as intervention, as subversion and as a space for imagining new futures and realities, making change that reaches out into the contexts around the game possible. In Junomi, these changes can be subtle or drastic, but how lasting the changes are and how it may transform people's lives over time is very difficult to predict.

The impact and relevance of the game was evaluated based on the Experience Prototypes as well as reflections coming out of the theory and research. This is a typical method for design projects with a purpose such as social change. Design for social change is often evaluated and validated by examining the rigour of reflections and argumentation to ascertain whether the design practice was based on solid research. There are very few studies empirically investigating the impacts of social change and the methods and practices of evaluation are therefore not very established. This is especially a problem when it comes to soft changes such as seen in this project.

It would be very interesting and relevant to study how the game play of Junomi would actually manifest within a larger sample of families, playing over a longer period of time. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see whether the experiences and ways of communicating enacted in the game would reach into other realms of the families' communication, and how that would change over time in a variety of families. It would be interesting to investigate how disciplines such as educational research (such as transformative learning, social psychology and micro psychology) can contribute to such studies, as they actually has a longer tradition with established methods of evaluating soft changes such as this project is dealing with.

 

Conclusion

In our attempt to make a design that had the potential to change the social situation in the families to a preferred state, we made a game to instigate, frame, facilitate and encourage playful attitudes towards the way in which family members communicate together.

As we were designing for a social situation that is characterized as being heterogeneous, complex and indefinable, we made a game that works as a frame for playing within the actual life situation rather than creating a system that simulates or models a situation. Through qualitative, data-based research we explored the situation and, by continued analysis, work, framing and reframing, we gathered a nuanced understanding of the different elements, aspects and interrelations of the families' everyday communication. This facilitated the exploration of the situations' playful potential, e.g. how small moments and elements of the communication could be made playable. Inspired by theorists of Science and Technology Studies and their thoughts on the relationship between humans and technology, we have explored the values and potentials embedded in the technology to create closeness and facilitate, encourage, invite, remind and suggest play in different ways.

Junomi is a very simple game in the sense that the rules are simple and the game does not check up or follow up on how the game is played. How the game is played, which questions are accepted and which are considered fun, how the categories are used and which answers are defined as right or wrong is all negotiated among the players themselves.

The game gives responsibility to the players. To play requires the family to create, explore and experiment with their own ways of playing and relies on the family members to be considerate and thoughtful of each other. It gives opportunities for people to think about each other: their daily activities, movements around the city, memories and moments that they have shared and constitutes an exploration of playful ways of being together.

This article has addressed how the game has the potential to change the social situation through the playing of the game. It is most likely that a good playing experience will have long-term effects, though how long such effects will last, and how they will transform over time, is very difficult to judge.

 

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