Theses Doctoral

Artistry, Aesthetic Experience, and Global Futures in Civilization Game Design: How the ESCAPe Framework as an Ontology Captures an Art Form of the Information Age

Corpuz, Andrew Bujian

Civilization games can depict imaginative and sophisticated perspectives on the future. Yet some scholars have critiqued civilization games for their replication of dominant, limited ideologies. Game designers often learn about design directly or indirectly from frameworks, such as the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework which contains a very idiosyncratic definition of aesthetics.

Given that aesthetic thinking can unlock the sociological imagination, the aim of this dissertation was to discover opportunities to expand civilization game design by understanding the aesthetic experience of designers. A qualitative interview study was conducted of 13 game designers who created at least one civilization game based in the future. The interview and analysis had an ontological focus, to better understand how aesthetics fit into the existing puzzle of game design knowledge. The findings showed that designers employ their perspective in game design; this sense of self and perspective is not captured by current ontologies of game design.

Furthermore, designers are limited in their ability to explore the boundaries of civilization games by task complexity, emotionality, and reliance on player experience. Resultantly, they may focus intensely on known aspects of game design in order to deliver a product. The dissertation proposes two primary solutions. Firstly, a game design framework that integrates the self into game design and more clearly delineates the game as an artifact.

Secondly, cultivate truer senses of vision in game design for those who want to push civilization games and games as a whole, while understanding the practical realities of game design. These implications can be used by educators to reconsider game design program curricula, as well as affirm game designers’ pursuit of their own perspective.


  • thumnail for Corpuz_tc.columbia_0055E_11390.pdf Corpuz_tc.columbia_0055E_11390.pdf application/pdf 10.1 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Jochum, Richard
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 14, 2023