Game Designers and the Ludo Mix: Constructing an Aesthetic Experience

Laureline Chiapello


A ludo mix occurs when a variety of media are organized around one or several central games. While this might be an opportunity to build worlds and create new intellectual properties, it is also a marketing strategy. These two perspectives are often contradictory, and are difficult for game designers to address: how to design games in a ludo mix? Firstly, I establish a theoretical foundation, and suggest that a definition of ludo mix can encompass the game designer’s experience more explicitly by relying on the pragmatist concept of “aesthetic experience” by John Dewey. Based on this perspective, I will demonstrate how Dewey’s concepts complement the works of two major thinkers in Japanese media studies, Eiji Ōtsuka and Hiroki Azuma. Secondly, I validate the usefulness of Dewey’s concepts for game designers by employing them in a “project-grounded” research approach. This particular project involves nine students enrolled in a narrative game design class, working on the franchise Aggressive Retsuko. The results show that pragmatism is indeed a fruitful philosophical stance for game designers; ludo mixes ought to be seen as “grand experiences” instead of “grand narratives”.


Ludo mix; Japanese media mix; franchises; game design; aesthetic experience; pragmatism; research through design; teaching-research nexus; project-grounded research; Aggressive Retsuko

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Published by the Digital Games Research Association.