Lets get mechanical! Games & Mechanisms

Thomas Brandstetter
Arts and Society, Experimental Game Cultures
2023S, Vorlesung und Übungen (VU), 2.0 ECTS, 1.0 semester hours, course number S04434


In keeping with the overall topic of this semester, we will take a look at the darker side of gaming. Games have often been suspected of fostering obsessive, unhealthy or outright dangerous behaviour, from the 1980s Satanic Panic, when role-playing was seen as a devil-worshipping by religious fundamentalists, up to current discussions about violence in video games. On the other hand, there are games that do indeed reward behaviour that goes against social norms, such as lying, duplicity and treachery. In the seminar, we will look at examples of such games: Social deduction games that demand manipulating other players, strategy games that can't be won without double-crossing opponents and role-playing games that cast the players into the role of psychopaths. We will analyse the mechanics of such games, investigate how they shape the players' agency, look at the play communities they engender and examine the ethical and cultural implications of such games.

Examination Modalities

Written essay.

Key Words

interactive art, design, media art, electronic media


20 March 2023, 10:00–11:45 Seminar Room 30
27 March 2023, 10:00–11:45 Seminar Room 30
17 April 2023, 10:00–11:45 Seminar Room 30
24 April 2023, 10:00–11:45 Seminar Room 30
12 June 2023, 10:00–16:00 Seminar room 35

Course Enrolment

From 24 February 2023, 14:30 to 28 March 2023, 14:30
Via online registration

Experimental Game Cultures (Master): Free Electives: Free Electives 536/080.80

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible