Meaningful Play 2020 at Michigan State University

Designing & Studying Games that Matter

Meaningful Play 2020 Conference Overview

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

Meaningful Play 2020 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 three primary themes of the conference are:

  • exploring meaningful applications of games
  • issues in designing meaningful play
  • learning, education & games

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, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality experiences for meaningful purposes.

The third theme is developed in partnership with the IGDA Learning, Education & Games Special Interest Group.

Conference News

December 5, 2018 - We are excited to pre-announce Meaningful Play 2020 to take place October 1-3, 2020 on the campus of Michigan State University!

October 13, 2018 - Meaningful Play 2018 was a big success! We had 250 attendees from 12 countries and 30 U.S. States! Check out #mplay on twitter to check out twitter posts throughout the event and check out flickr to see photos from the event. The conference proceedings will be available online next month.

October 13, 2018 - At the conference closing, the Game Competition Awards were announced, including:

Category Winner
Best Non-Digital Game

Lost & Found by Owen Gottlieb, Ian Schreiber, and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt

Honorable Mention: Rosenstrasse by Moyra Turkington and Jessica Hammer

Best Digital Game

ABCmouse Mastering Math by Age of Learning, Inc

Honorable Mentions: Brukel by Bob De Schutter and Forgotton Anne by Alfred Nguyen, Valdemar Schultz Andreasen, Morten Brunbjerg

Best VR Experience

HoloLAB Champions by Schell Games

Honorable Mention: VESTA Virtual Vineyard by Brian Winn, William Jeffery, Thomas Smith, Ryan Chuang, Anya Kolesnichenko, Travis Nichols, Scott Holzknecht, Olivia Nalon, Kenny Wherry, Jasmine Burks, Trever Daniels, Andrew Bonczyk, Jamie Winters, Mingshun Zhu, Colleen Little, Ryan Magliola, and Austin Widmyer

Best Student Game

Miner Madness, Dig into Code Theory by EPIC + KCAD + OST

Honorable Mention: discomfort zone by Alex Tomkow

People's Choice Award Fellowship of Fools by Casey O'Donnell and Hermione Banger


The top papers were also recognized, including:

Previous Meaningful Plays

View details on previous Meaningful Play conferences.

Meaningful Play 2008 Meaningful Play 2010 Meaningful Play 2012 Meaningful Play 2014 Meaningful Play 2016 Meaningful Play 2018

Featured Speakers

Details on featured speakers will be available closer to Meaningful Play 2020. View the Meaningful Play 2018 featured speakers.

Special Events

Details on special events will be available closer to Meaningful Play 2020. View the Meaningful Play 2018 special events.

MeaningfulPlay.MSU.edu