Programme Session Details 2024

Process Games: Hybridising Constructivist Gaming with Process Drama Pedagogy

Corresponding Author: Dr Max Dean

All authors:

Length: 90 minutes
Location: Gallery Room 2


Empathy, Critical thinking, Self-reflection.

Against the backdrop of a society changing more rapidly than ever before with the exponential growth of technology, combined with existential threats to our species very survival that we have never faced before, these skills have never been more important. Humanity requires the rapid development of new ways to rapidly foster and develop these skillsets en masse if we are to conquer the challenges the 21st century presents us with.

Process Drama is an established methodology and theorisation of the ways in which these skills are learned, based in physically doing and interacting with other human beings through challenges, co-present in the same space. Process Drama has been being used to this end in classrooms and community settings since the 1960’s.

However, systemic challenges require systemic solutions.

Jane McGonigal states that ‘everyday environments can and should be places for group play’, emphasising that pervasive gaming is about seeing the ‘inexhaustible and often overlooked opportunities for the play.’ Yet Process Drama has traditionally been hamstrung by its prerequisite of the physical presence of a skilled facilitator. In an age of decreasing education budgets, squeezed curriculum timetables and teacher burnout Process Drama’s popularity is waning despite its pertinence. This presents a quandary: How can digital technology facilitate the distribution of Process Drama’s participatory pedagogy at the scale and reach of the internet, making this form of skills development accessible to everyday environment of billions of people on this planet?

Process Games are Dr Max Dean’s attempt to answer this question.

The session will begin with a quick overview of the guiding theories underpinning this unique hybridisation, before leading directly into practical hands-on exploration of excerpts of the first ever Process Game to be designed and developed: Kardashev.

Kardashev is a 5-player game facilitated through each participant’s mobile phone. Players are introduced to a hyper intelligent AI called Kardashev, tasked with learning, and understanding human beings’ experience of consciousness. In order to generate the data to be able to this, Kardashev challenges the players to respond as a group to a set of practical thought experiments, facilitated entirely through their mobile phones. Kardashev randomises the sets of challenges each play through with each challenge itself consisting of numerous variables. The choices and decisions the players make within these challenges are then interpreted by Kardashev. The decisions made by players lead to different events, activities and endings occurring dependant on the choices made. This means Kardashev has almost unlimited replayability.

The session will culminate in an overview of the research methodology used to test Kardashev’s pedagogical effectiveness, followed by an analysis of the pilot’s resulting practice documentation, and collected data coalescing in the established ‘3 Rules’ of Process Games. This session will conclude with the offer of opportunities to collaborate in the creation of future Process Games.

References, web links and other resources:

Kardashev Player’s Intro Video: