Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games

Living Edition
| Editors: Newton Lee

Design of Alienation in Video Games

  • Kemal AkayEmail author
  • Cansu Nur Simsek
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08234-9_150-1



In this entry, it is proposed that game designers can utilize hardware systems and the structure of gameplay to highlight a game’s formal characteristics for “alienation” effect. Drawing inspiration from Bertolt Brecht’s notion of “Verfremdungseffekt,” or alienation effect, and using MDA framework (Hunicke et al. 2004), traits between alienation effect and techniques used in specific video games are analyzed to define what this article calls as “gamic alienation.” Through the reading of gameplay moments in various games that make use of gamic alienation, a continuum that consists of two important concepts for creating this effect is identified: hardware signifiers and software signifiers. Throughout the entry, it is discussed how the use of these signifiers is implemented in a range of video games, from triple-A games such as Metal Gear Solid to indie games such as DLC Quest.


In the area of video games, the...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unity TechnologiesCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Kadir Has UniversityIstanbulTurkey