Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Designing & Studying Games that Matter

Meaningful Play 2016 Conference Overview

Whether designed to entertain or to achieve more "serious" purposes, games have the potential to impact players' beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior.

Meaningful Play 2016 is a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices. Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.

The conference will include thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry discussions), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes.

Conference Audience and Themes

The conference is primarily for:

  • industry and academic game researchers
  • industry and academic game designers and developers
  • game educators
  • students
  • government and NGOs interested in games

The two primary themes of the conference are:

  • exploring meaningful applications of games
  • issues in designing meaningful play

The first theme includes an examination of games (of all types) from primarily an academic research perspective.

The second theme focuses on much more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development, and use of games for meaningful purposes.

Conference News

May 12, 2016 - Richard Lemarchand and Elizabeth LaPensée announced as first two keynote presenters at Meaningful Play 2016. More keynoters to be announced soon.

March 6, 2016 - Registration now open for Meaningful Play 2016!

November 3, 2015 - We are excited to announce the upcoming Meaningful Play 2016 to take place October 20-22, 2016 on the campus of Michigan State University.!

Previous Meaningful Plays

View details on previous Meaningful Play conferences.

Meaningful Play 2008 Meaningful Play 2010 Meaningful Play 2012 Meaningful Play 2014

Keynote Line-Up

Richard Lemarchand Elizabeth LaPensee

Richard Lemarchand, Associate Chair, University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts

Elizabeth LaPensée, Indigenous Game Designer, University of Minnesota




Additional keynote presenters will be announced soon.

Special Events

Conference Party

Thursday, Oct. 20
Conference Party - Chance to mix and mingle with conference goers at the Opening Reception, view late breaking research at the Poster Session, and play "meaningful" games at the Game Exhibition (appetizers and drinks provided).

Closing Ceremony

Friday, Oct. 21
Industry/Student Meet'n'Greet - This is a great chance for students to meet with some of the companies attending Meaningful Play and pass on resumes. It is a great opportunity for companies to find fresh talent.

Closing Ceremony

Saturday, Oct. 22
Conference Closing - This includes the closing keynote, lunch, and the presentation of the "Meaningful Play Ninjas", aka the winners of the game competition and top papers...

Game Room

Throughout Conference
Game Room - Build meaningful connections with your fellow conference goers while playing a digital or board game in the Meaningful Play Game Room.