Big Huggin' a case study in affection gaming

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Big Huggin' is a game designed for use with a custom teddy bear controller. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs to a 30 inch teddy bear. It is an experiment and gesture in alternative interface and affection gaming. The game is designed around the action of hugging to support an onscreen character. If the players hug too much, their on screen bear will suffer. If they hug too little the player character will never reach its goal. This paper outlines the design, development and evaluation of the game by a wide demographic. The first section provides an outline of the history of affection gaming, providing the theoretical basis for the design of Big Huggin'. The second section describes the development, prototyping and pre-release of the game. The final section outlines the release to a community of pediatric patients and general play audience. The application of this game as a resource to promote pro-social exploration by players is addressed. The goal of this research is not merely to create an alternative play experience. It is envisioned as an opportunity to explore and critique the intersection of play and affection as practiced in digital games. This paper serves as an introduction to the history of such games, a case study and a post-mortem in the design and development of an affection game.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event6th Bi-Annual Conference of the Digital Games Research Association, DiGRA 2013 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Aug 26 2013Aug 29 2013


Other6th Bi-Annual Conference of the Digital Games Research Association, DiGRA 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Affection games
  • Arcade games
  • Critical design
  • Critical play
  • Hugging games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software


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