Say Cheese! Games for Successful Academic and Student Networking

in Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY), Conference paper (text), Austin, Texas


Networking is a vital but stressful aspect of academic life, one which digital games may be able to make more playful. Existing examples of networking games require players to interact as part of the game-play, and therefore do not bypass the stressful part of networking. In contrast, many other games successfully encourage interaction between players whilst avoiding causing stress to the players. Flashbulb is a networking game that only requires a photograph of another player to be taken in order to progress. Players can choose whether to start a conversation depending on the target and situation. Thematic analysis of interviews with Flashbulb players found that despite not including an icebreaking requirement, it encouraged networking and widened the scope of those spoken to. The act of photographing players promoted conversations without forcing players to engage in uncomfortable discussions. We make recommendations for the design of future iterations of networking games.