The Game Plants Make People Happy: Exploring Agency through Research-Creation

(Le jeu Plants Make People Happy : exploration de l'agentivité par la recherche-création)

  • Laureline Chiapello Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Keywords: Research-creation, agency, interactivity, meaning-making, pragmatism


This research-creation delves into the concept of agency in video games. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of meaning-making in the experience of agency, and this work builds upon that research to argue that agency does not arise from a complex narrative structure nor from numerous interactions. Instead, agency arises from an exchange between players and the game situation, which includes the game world and the environment beyond the game, such as the game creators. The feeling of agency comes from a dialogue and transaction between the player and the world, which the game creators should foster. The video game Plants Make People Happy serves as an example of how such an exchange can take place, in an experience that leads the player to inexorable failure. Although at first the game may seem to remove all agency from the players, it actually enhances it by encouraging them to reflect on their relationship with the game creators.


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