Meaningful Play 2021 at Michigan State University

Designing & Studying Games that Matter

Meaningful Play 2021 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 2021 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 focuses the use of games for learning and education, as well as the teaching of game making and game studies within academia.

Conference News

March 11, 2020 - Due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we have made the decision to delay Meaningful Play until October 7-9, 2021 ... so it will now be Meaningful Play 2021. Stay tuned for more details...

February 12, 2020 - Early Registration is now open for Meaningful Play 2020!

December 9, 2019 - The Call for Submissions is now available for Meaningful Play 2020. Submit and be part of the program!

November 12, 2019 - We are partnering with the Journal of Serious Games (JSG; currently the highest-impact journal in the field of games research) for a published peer-reviewed special issue of the top full papers at Meaningful Play 2020.

October 16, 2019 - The Proceedings of Meaningful Play 2018 are now available through ETC Press.

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 is available online.

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 2021. View the Meaningful Play 2018 featured speakers.

Special Events

Details on special events will be available closer to Meaningful Play 2021. View the Meaningful Play 2018 special events.