I have been asking this question recently. Don’t ask me why, or maybe do. First of all, textiles allow a combination of fabrics, fibres and yarns. As such, it represents crafts, but also it is embedded in our daily lives. Textiles can protect, it can keep us warm. But what else can textiles do in terms of game design?

An obvious way to start this is by doing a gentle search. I did find some materials using textiles for board games, such as this Snakes and Ladders board game or a match-making patchwork memory game, made from scraps.

But what else can textiles provide that will go beyond or within tangible outputs? Would textiles be only a platform/base for the game or is there something more interactive that can emerge from it?

In search of textiles and video games, I’ve found a medium post where the author presents examples of textiles craft video games. In the article, ‘craft’ is the main verb and therefore the action for players in the game. If we take the aesthetics of textiles and materials, Unravel can be a great example of that.

Unravel Story trailer

But crafting in these games is mostly gathering materials and making cloth or creating fashion design. Plus the crafting component only exists in the game, which perhaps misses the opportunity to combine both.

Then, moving and combining both I found alternative controllers using textiles. And what a finding. This is a project from the Social Body Lab in Toronto. There is also a Halloween version. So far, I am not sure exactly what the games created are, but the idea around the controllers is innovative and can raise many questions about immersion, body, and performance.

Is there a way to combine both? What can we take from this very simple search? What can we learn from the different types of media?

In search of more information, I also found this paper about knitting and failure in video games. The authors of the paper, published in 2019, mention:

Player and knitter alike must perform hand-eye actions repetitively to learn the basic rule-set of the game and the stitch. This is important for identifying the ‘completionist’ in both knitters and videogame players.

Latham and Brock, 2019

Right. This brings a new perspective. Perhaps the game and the craft coexist; what sort of games can be created? What is the role of the player? Is the player the knitter? If we give the same set of rules to a player to play a video game and for a knitter to knit a pattern, would they behave in the same what and would they create the same thing?

As such, why is this important? It may help on understanding more around alternative controllers and how we can innovate in making better games. Who knows? A new space to explore.


Latham, Gemma and Brock, Tom (2019) Failure in videogames: similarities and differences
to textile craft. In: 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix,
06 August 2019 – 10 August 2019, Kyoto, Japan.

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