Homecoming: Exploring Returns to Long-Term Single Player Games

Noor Hammad , Owen Brierley , Zachary McKendrick , Sowmya Somanath , Patrick Finn , Jessica Hammer , Ehud Sharlin



We present an autobiographical design journey exploring the experience of returning to long-term single player games. Continuing progress from a previously saved game, particularly when substantial time has passed, is an understudied area in games research. To begin our exploration in this domain, we investigated what the return experience is like first-hand. By returning to four long-term single player games played extensively in the past, we revealed a phenomenon we call The Pivot Point, a ‘eureka’ moment in return gameplay. The pivot point anchors our design explorations, where we created prototypes to leverage the pivot point in reconnecting with the experience. These return experiences and subsequent prototyping iterations inform our understanding of how to design better returns to gameplay, which can benefit both producers and consumers of long-term single player games.

Keywords:  Long Term Single Player GameAutobiographical DesignPivot Point


Noor Hammad, Owen Brierley, Zachary McKendrick, Sowmya Somanath, Patrick Finn, Jessica Hammer, Ehud SharlinHomecoming: Exploring Returns to Long-Term Single Player GamesIn Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21)ACM, New York, NY, USA  Page: 1-13.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445357