Play and ludic interaction


Syllabus for students autumn 2017, autumn 2016, autumn 2015, autumn 2014, autumn 2013

Course Code:
KD645A revision 1.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Interaction Design
Date of establishment:
10 November 2011
Date of ratification:
01 July 2013
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
02 September 2013
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
02 December 2011

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at advanced level.

Entry requirements

Passed the Year 1 courses (Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design, Embodied interaction, Collaborative media, Individual project).

Learning outcomes

In order to increase precision, the generic types of outcomes are mapped to interaction design as follows.
Knowledge and understanding – Repertoire and theory (canonical designs, important design elements and important theoretical concepts)
Competence and skills – Skills and technique (including design approach)
Judgment and approach – Reflection and criticism.

Repertoire and theory
1. Building a repertoire of important game elements to design ludic interaction.
2. Developing familiarity with key concepts and theories on the role of games and play as they relate to the body and the senses.

Skills and techniques
3. Displaying ability to execute interaction design techniques suitable for designing ludic interaction in spatial, social and physical contexts.
4. Displaying ability to contribute to academic knowledge construction related to games and play through design activity and academic writing.

Reflection and criticism
5. Displaying ability to reflect on the role of games and play in society and life.
6. Displaying ability to position perspectives on ludic interaction within the academic fields of interaction design and game studies.


Learning outcomes related to design for games, play and ludic interaction (1–3) are assessed during 4 oral group examinations (studio crits) and during 3 workshops. Learning outcomes having to do with situated and embodied play (2, 5) are assessed in 2 seminars and a short paper. Learning outcomes having to do with academic proficiency (4, 6) are assessed in a short paper and 2 seminars.

Course content

The foundation for the course consists of key concepts for understanding the physical, spatial and sensory spaces of game interaction. Moreover, the foundation contains key concepts for designing play activities, such as game mechanics and the play-centric approach. More advanced topics including experimental gameplay, critical games, serious games, art games and urban play will be addressed, depending on the choice of project direction. We aim to draw upon our strengths in the area of physical computing and tangible interaction, though there will be opportunities to explore different game forms and develop new genres.

On the level of design methodology, students will create playful interventions that engage the body and senses, as well as the spatial and social contexts of play, through design experiments that include lo-and hi-fi prototyping as well as playtesting. Depending on the nature of the intervention, techniques such as design improvisation and mechatronics prototyping will be included.

Learning activities

The pedagogical features of the class will include introductions to foundational concepts of the course, followed by group design projects where students create playful interventions– using advanced concepts and design techniques as appropriate.

Learning activities are further specified in a detailed Course Guide.

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Required literature:
Salen, Katie & Eric Zimmerman (2004) Rules of play. Game design fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Other required readings will be distributed in class, and will include excerpts from Flanagan on critical play, Sicart and Wilson on abusive games, Montola, Waern and Stenros on augmented reality games, Niedenthal on smell games, Hunike et al on game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics, Howes on sensory anthropology, and Rozin and Kubovy on hedonic psychology.

Recommended literature:
Fullerton, Tracy (2008) Game design workshop. A playcentric approach to creating innovative games. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Salen, Katie & Eric Zimmerman (2006) The game design reader. A rules of play anthology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

In addition, current articles and games will be assigned in class and the students will collect and critically evaluate additional literature and media based on the focus of their projects.

Course evaluation

Plenary discussion and individual written evaluation, focusing on the learning outcomes and the means for achieving them (learning activities, resources, course organization etc.).


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Simon Niedenthal, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657164
Studentservice, K3 - Malmö universitet,


12 November 2018 - 20 January 2019 Day-time 100% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 54000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 54000 SEK

11 November 2019 - 19 January 2020 Day-time 100% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program