Dark Patterns in the Design of Games
Paper in proceedings, 2013
Game designers are typically regarded as advocates for players. However, a game creator’s interests may not align with the players’. We examine some of the ways in which those opposed interests can manifest in a game’s design. In particular, we examine those elements of a game’s design whose purpose can be argued as questionable and perhaps even unethical. Building upon earlier work in design patterns, we call these abstracted elements Dark Game Design Patterns. In this paper, we develop the concept of dark design patterns in games, present examples of such patterns, explore some of the subtleties involved in identifying them, and provide questions that can be asked to help guide in the specification and identification of future Dark Patterns. Our goal is not to criticize creators but rather to contribute to an ongoing discussion regarding the values in games and the role that designers and creators have in this process.