Is the Deus Ex video game a Design Fiction?

“Design Fiction is a powerful tool for helping us think about the future. Often times, the goal in creating a design fiction is to explore what a future technology looks like, how it feels, and how we might interact with it”, writes Nicolas Weidinger, researcher at the Institute For The Future.

Scifi writer and futurologist Bruce Sterling explains: “Design Fiction is the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories”.

So, could video games be good design fictions? Weidinger thinks so, and writes: “The video game ‘Deus Ex’ is a provocative design fiction, grounded in reality. It is a fully immersive experience that brings to life one possible reality that is just full of dilemmas. Anyone that plays through the game must actively make choices about how they feel in relation to human augmentation. This helps lay a foundation of understanding, not just for the potential of human augmentation, but also the social, political and economic issues around augmentation and how it might effect every day life”.

Read Weidinger’s article at

Read Sterling’s interview at