This is an archive of a previous Meaningful Play. View current Meaningful Play.

Meaningful Play 2010
designing and studying games that matter

Meaningful Play 2010 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 2010 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 News

November 29, 2010 - Videos of the six keynote addresses are now available online.

October 26, 2010 - At the conference closing, the Game Competition Awards were announced, including:

Category Winner Runner-Up
Most Innovative CombiForm


Most Meaningful Elude Yet One Word
Best Student Created Yet One Word Afterland
Best Overall Yet One Word

CombiForm (tie)

Argument Wars (tie)

People's Chioce Award Olympus Elude


October 24, 2010 - Meaningful Play 2010 was a big success! Check out #mp2010 on twitter to check out twitter posts throughout the event and check out flickr to see photos from the event. The conference proceedings are available online.

October 20, 2010 - Early check-in takes place tonight (Wednesday) at 8:00-9:30pm at the East Lansing Marriott. Regular check-in begins on Thursday at 9:00am in the lobby outside of the ballroom on the 2nd floor of the MSU Union.

October 5, 2010 - We are nearly sold out! Register now if you want to attend Meaningful Play 2010! We are just 16 days away from the opening keynote.

September 12, 2010 - Early registration continues through Wednesday, September 15. Early registration saves you $50 off of regular registration. The conference hotel discount is available until September 20, 2010.

September 10, 2010 - The complete program schedule is now available! We have 6 keynote presentations, 10 speaker presentations, 12 panels/roundtables, 2 workshops, 44 paper presentations, 21 poster presentations, 25 game demos, and many opportunities to mix, mingle, and socialize.

July 27, 2010 - The deadline for participation has now past. The program and organizing committee are in the process of reviewing all the submissions. Notifications will be sent out in the next couple weeks.

July 16, 2010 - The paper submission deadline has past BUT there is still time to submit games, posters, panels, workshop, speaker, and roundtable proposals. See the call for submissions or the call for games for details. The deadline for these submissions is July 26.

July 12, 2010 - The deadline for paper submission is rapidly approaching. Submit by the end of July 14! Poster, Panel, Roundtable, Workshop, Speaker, and Game submissions are due July 26.

June 17, 2010 - Publish or Perish! Meaningful Play top papers to be publish in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulation. See submissions for details.

June 16, 2010 - Call for Submission deadline extended to July 14, 2010.

May 25, 2010 - Drew Davidson, Nick Fortugno, and James Portnow announced as speakers. See program for details.

May 25, 2010 - Helle Winding, Senior Director at LEGO announced as a keynote speaker. See program for details.

May 13, 2010 - Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor at NYU-Pol, announced as keynote speaker. See program for details.

April 7, 2010 - Due to a conflict with a couple other industry events (IndieCade and GDC Austin), we have moved the dates for Meaningful Play back a couple weeks to October 21-23, 2010. The added benefit is that the fall leaves should be in full color at this time.

March 26, 2010 - Robin Hunicke announced as keynote speaker. See program for details.

March 8, 2010 - James Gee, Constance Steinkuehler, and Ben Sawyer announced as first three confirmed keynote speakers. See program for details.

March 4, 2010 - Early registration is now open for Meaningful Play 2010.

March 3, 2010 - The Call for Submissions is now available for Meaningful Play 2010.

March 1, 2010 - After the great success of Meaningful Play 2008, Michigan State University is excited to announce the upcoming Meaningful Play conference to take place October 7-9, 2010 on the campus of Michigan State University.


Keynote Line-Up

James Gee Constance Steink Ben Sawyer

James Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University

Contance Steinkuehler, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Ben Sawyer, President of Digitalmill and Games for Health Founder
Robin Hunicke Katherine Isbister Helle Winding
Robin Hunicke, Producer & Game Designer, thatgamecompany Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, NYU-Poly Helle Winding, Senior Director, LEGO Group
See the program for additional presenters.


Conference Audience and Themes

The conference is primarily for:

  • game researchers and academics
  • game designers and developers
  • students

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.


Important Dates

July 14, 2010   Paper Submission Deadline
July 26, 2010   Game, Poster, Speaker, Panel, Workshop, and Roundtable Submission Deadline
September 13, 2010   Early Registration Closes
October 21, 2010   Conference Begins
October 23, 2010   Conference Concludes