A three person poncho and a set of maracas: designing Ola De La Vida, a co-located social play computer game

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Events that bring people together to play video games as a social experience are growing in popularity across the western world. Amongst these events are ‘play parties,’ temporary social play environments which create unique shared play experiences for attendees unlike anything they could experience elsewhere. This paper explores co-located play experience design and proposes that social play games can lead to the formation of temporary play communities. These communities may last for a single gameplay session, for a whole event, or beyond the event. The paper analyses games designed or enhanced by social play contexts and evaluates a social play game, Ola de la Vida. The research findings suggest that social play games can foster community through the design of game play within the game itself, through curation which enhances their social potential, and through design for ‘semi-spectatorship’, which blurs the boundaries between player and spectator thus widening the game’s magic circle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiGRA '18- Proceedings of the 2018 DIGRA International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationThe game is the message
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2018
EventDigital Games Research Association Conference 2018: The Game is the Message - University of Turin - Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin, Italy
Duration: 25 Jul 201828 Jul 2018


ConferenceDigital Games Research Association Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleDiGRA 2018
Internet address


  • Social play
  • Spectatorship
  • Performance
  • Game design
  • Temporary play communities


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