Musical embrace: facilitating engaging Ppay experiences through social awkwardness

Amy Huggard, Anushka De Mel, Jayden Garner, Cagdas Toprak, Alan Chatham, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Socially awkward experiences are often looked upon as something to be avoided. However, examples from the traditional games domain suggest that social awkwardness can facilitate engaging experiences. Yet so far, there has been little research into social awkwardness and digital games. In acknowledgement of this, we present Musical Embrace, a digital game that promotes close physical contact between two strangers, through the use of a novel pillow-like controller, in order to navigate a virtual soundscape. Through our observations from demonstrating Musical Embrace at a number of events, we have procured a set of strategies intend on engaging players by “facilitating” social awkwardness, allowing players to “transform” while also letting players take “control” of social awkwardness. With our work we hope to inspire game designers to consider the potential of social awkwardness and guide them when using it for engaging playful experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsMichel Beaudouin-Lafon, Patrick Baudisch, Wendy E. Mackay
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450318990
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2013 - Paris, France
Duration: 27 Apr 20132 May 2013
Conference number: 31st


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2013
Abbreviated titleCHI 2013
OtherTheme: Changing Perspectives
Internet address


  • Body contact
  • Digital play
  • Exertion
  • Social awkwardness
  • Tangibles
  • Uncomfortable interactions

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