chapter  17
Critical Play and Responsible Design
ByMary Flanagan
Pages 12

There is great interest in how games promote prosocial values, due to the impact other media forms have had toward a more progressive society. In light of the financial and cultural sway of games, designing and playing critically is an indispensable approach in the domain of applied media studies research and for engaging the social and cultural dimensions of digital games. Critical Play is a useful concept to media studies and digital humanities, for it interjects notions of critical thinking and values into both the examination of games and the creation of playful artifacts. Games can operate as attitude shifters, as platforms for exploring subjectivity, and as sites for community engagement and collective visioning. How games function as their own art form—and not mere delivery mechanisms or media—is essential to understanding the role they play in criticality and social impact.