Environmental designs: a typology towards an expanded field

Benjamin Abraham, Darshana Jayemanne

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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In this paper we offer a provisional typology of the primary categories of environmental or ecological relationships depicted, represented or simulated in games. We explore four main approaches to environments in games: environment as backdrop, as resource, as antagonist, and as text. These four provisional types are not clearly delineated, or equally common amongst all games and game genres, nor are they mutually exclusive within particular games. We argue that consideration of ecological notions in gaming reveals their frequent subordination to higher level game design decisions, and that analysis through this typology can reveal the shifting relationships between technologies of simulation and videogame strategies of representation – as well as orient game design towards the possibility for more expansive thinking about environmental relations (and hence, the most significant political issues of our time) as seen in the work of scholars such as Timothy Morton.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventDigital Games Research Association Conference - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 2 Jul 20176 Jul 2017
Conference number: 10th


ConferenceDigital Games Research Association Conference
Abbreviated titleDiGRA 2017
Internet address


  • Videogames
  • Nature
  • Environment
  • Game design
  • Simulation
  • Representation


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