Designing playful engagements with animals to find, imagine, or emphasize non-speciesist practices
For the Global Game Jam 2014 we made a digitally augmented variant of hopscotch, called Dogscotch, that can be played together with a dog. In the activity of play, humans can form complex abstractions and embrace structured rules to experience games. We often use our imagination while playing games; dogs just perceive the environment the way it is. These two opposing perceptions come together in this game, created in 48 hours.
We interpreted the global theme of this gamejam from the perspective of a dog:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” (Dog, 2014).
The question that remains is whether the dog-player is actually playing or not. Play in animals can be recognized according to different behavioral elements; some of these are clearly visible in this video (wagging tails, curiosity, and interaction with toys). However, the use of food as reward leads to an extrinsic motivation that highly influences the behaviour of the dog.
We are sure that the dogs had fun. They joined voluntarily and spent active time together with their owners. We believe this development in experimental games proposes interesting questions and explores new areas of play in non-humans.
Alex Camilleri – @AlexColorblind
Michelle Westerlaken – @colombinary
music: Ratatat – Shempi
More details on http://globalgamejam.org/2014/games/dogscotch