Yifat Shaik

Game Designer/Researcher for York University/Sheridan College

Yifat Shaik is an Israeli born game designer and artist, currently residing in Canada. A Master of Design graduate from OCAD University in Toronto, her work and research focus on online game socialization, political activism in gaming and the creation of unique and evocative game worlds.

When not teaching game design, Yifat creates Unity based interactive art installations and spends her free time on the creation of several personal game projects. Those include a Real Army Simulator, a satirical narrative game about being in the army, and chaotic game about Brutalist architecture and Origami.

Talk Description:

Player Agency, Mods and Glitches – Or why we should be grateful when players break our games

The talk, through exploration of game glitches, mods and cheats, will highlight means of players’ self-expression in the game world and how those can be used to create better more innovative games.
We do not naturally embrace game glitches, in an industry that strive for the perfection of the simulation, a glitch or a bug (while a forgone conclusion) is an unwelcomed distraction to the reality we are trying to construct for the players. This talk will try to demonstrate that bugs and glitches are not necessarily unwanted, or bad, rather that glitches are an essential part of what games are: a playful subversive interaction which breaks existing systems and create new ones.
Touching on concept like ‘the presentation of self’, incorporation of artistic movements (like Dada and Surrealism), the history of glitch art and improv coding as well as merging philosophy and game design. The talk will demonstrate how glitches, bugs and mods can (and had) create unexpected emergence in game, created new ways of playing games and ultimately influence the way we make games. I will specifically try to explore how underrepresented group have or can use those too create an alternative way to play and create games and how game developers can (and should) leverages those concepts to create better games and to ultimately promote diversity in creators and thought in the game industry.

The talk is a predominantly a design philosophy talk. While Glitches are both an aesthetics choices and a result of programing (or audio) issues, I am mostly interested in the philosophy around it and how we can use those concepts to analysis games. It is part of my ongoing research about players’ subversion of game mechanics. An earlier version of this talk was presented in this year Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS) and can be viewed (as well as my other talks & writing) at:

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