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

meaningful play 2012 travel


Meaningful Play 2012 includes thought-provoking presentations 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.

Below is the tentative detailed conference schedule. You can also view the abbreviated schedule.

Wednesday, October 17, 5:30p-7:30p

Early Registration Check-In

LocationKellogg Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium
DescriptionGet a jump on the conference by picking up your registration materials early at the pre-conference Quello Center Lecture, taking place at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Lincoln Room, 55 South Harrison Avenue, East Lansing, MI 48824.

NOTE: This event is within walking distance of the Marriott and MSU Union. It will likely take you less than 15 minutes to walk from the Marriott or MSU Union.

Wednesday, October 17, 6:00p-7:45p

Designing and Researching Games for Impact: National Challenges, Local Initiatives

LocationKellogg Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium
Formatpre-conference talk

Constance SteinkuehlerConstance_Steinkuehler is the former Senior Policy Analyst at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the U.S. President where she advised on policy related to games and learning/impact. She has now returned to her position as an Assistant Professor in the Educational Communications and Technology (ECT) program in the Curriculum & Instruction department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her research on cognition, learning, and literacy in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) has been funded by funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Spencer Foundation/National Academies of Education, the Academic ADL Co-Lab, and the UW-Madison Graduate Program and includes such commercial titles as Lineage I, Lineage II, Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft, and RuneScape. Her current work focuses on the potential of virtual worlds to function as sandboxes for the reconstruction (perhaps, reinvigoration) of a new form of twenty-first century citizenship - a "pop cosmopolitanism" marked by the willingness to engage in an increasingly globalized and therefore diverse socio-technical world and the development of intellectual practices crucial to successful navigation within it. Such intellectual practices include informal scientific reasoning, collaborative problem solving, media literacy (defined not just as critical media consumption but also production), computational literacy, and the social learning mechanisms that support the development of such expertise (e.g., reciprocal apprenticeship, collective intelligence).

DescriptionIf you are looking for something to do Wednesday evening, the Quello Center is hosting their annual lecture, featuring Constance Steinkuehler.

Her talk should be quite interesting to the Meaningful Play audience.

The talk takes place at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Lincoln Room, 55 South Harrison Avenue, East Lansing, MI 48824.

The talk runs 6:00-7:00pm with a reception immediately following until 7:45pm.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Complete details on the lecture, including directions how to get there, are available on the Quello Center site.

NOTE: This event is within walking distance of the Marriott and MSU Union. It will likely take you less than 15 minutes to walk from the Marriott or MSU Union.

Event sponsor is the Quello Center at Michigan State University.

Wednesday, October 17, 8:00p-9:00p

Early Registration Check-In

LocationEast Lansing Marriott at University Place
DescriptionGet a jump on the conference by picking up your registration materials early in the lobby of the East Lansing Marriott at University Place.

Thursday, October 18, 8:00a-9:00a

Registration Check-In and Continental Breakfast

LocationLobby (2nd floor of the MSU Union)
DescriptionThe registration table is outside of the Ballroom on the second floor of the MSU Union building.

The breakfast sponsor is BrainPop.

Thursday, October 18, 9:00a-9:30a

Conference Welcome

DescriptionThe conference organizing committee will welcome you and kick-off an exciting conference.

Thursday, October 18, 9:30a-10:30a

Structured Signifiers and Infinite Games: Serious Play for Lifelong Learning


Donald BrinkmanDonald Brinkman manages external programs in digital humanities, digital heritage and games for learning at Microsoft Research. Donald supports the Games for Learning Institute, a consortium of 8 universities, 14 principal investigators, and a small army of graduate students whose mission is to explore what makes games fun, what makes them educational, and how to best blend the two goals. He is the Microsoft champion for the Just Press Play project, an experiment to transform the undergraduate education of 750 students at Rochester Institute of Technology into a gameful narrative. Other projects include Project Garibaldi and Game Show NYC.

Before joining MSR, Donald served for two years as a technical program manager for the Microsoft education group. In that role he was responsible for defining vision of innovative business intelligence and analytics for education as well as driving a variety of enterprise-scale server capabilities. Prior to joining Microsoft he spent eight years in developmental and technical roles acquiring and executing government research contracts in areas such as quantum computation; signals intelligence; electromagnetic and kinetic simulations; behavioral economics; game theory; and cross-cultural communications. Donald is a writer, painter, game designer, and a passionate advocate of the benefits of building bridges between technical and humanist disciplines. He is particularly interested in disruptive technologies that leverage crowdsourcing, social computing, culture jamming, transmedia, and other non-traditional approaches. You can find out more about Donald at Next@Microsoft.

DescriptionWhat is a badge? Is it a certification? Is it a mile marker? Is it some form of currency? Perhaps it is just a badge? Badges are all of these things and none of them. They are structured signifiers that have the potential to transform the way we learn skills and record experiences. The 'badge-o-sphere' is currently a chaotic and disconnected space but it is rapidly beginning to congeal into a unified repository for actionable analytics. We will discuss how badges are evolving and how Microsoft is exploring their potential. This is not the first time that Microsoft has gotten involved in serious games. We will review the history of serious games at Microsoft and share some non-intuitive conclusions that we have arrived at via our ongoing research collaborations with the Games for Learning Institute and other organizations. Finally we will explore the potential for a unified game layer for lifelong learning and its potential to weave our disparate work processes into a single, infinite game.

Thursday, October 18, 10:30a-11:00a


Thursday, October 18, 11:00a-12:00p

Toddlers and Technology

Senior Director, Child Research, Fisher-Price

As Senior Director of the Child Research Department, Kathleen Alfano provides child development expertise and formative evaluation for Fisher-Price toys, products and interactive media, including the content of learning toys, books, CD ROMs, videos and DVDs. In addition to directing the Fisher-Price Play Laboratory, Alfano supplies childhood development consultative services for organizations like the Toy Industry Association and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Alfano joined Fisher-Price in 1979 as a Child Research Department educator and researcher. In her tenure, she has evolved the Play Laboratory, founded in 1961, into the toy industry's most respected --and often-emulated -- research center on childhood development and play.

As a global ambassador of play, Alfano has traveled around the world -- from Japan and Russia to the Far East -- to study learning, play and different cultures, and to speak about her child development research. As a published expert, she has been invited to keynote at a variety of international conferences where she has discussed an array of topics including the importance of play in a child's development, how to make toys for a global market, how play builds brainpower and how toys boost intelligence.

Alfano holds bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in elementary education from Buffalo-area universities, as well as a master's degree in business administration from Niagara University. As an active member of the early childhood learning community, Alfano holds professional affiliations with the International Toy Researchers Association; the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; the National Association for the Education of Young Children; the Association for Childhood Education International; the Association for Supervision; and the Curriculum Development, International Reading Association. In addition, Alfano is a published author on the topic of early childhood development and play, writing numerous articles and columns for publications around the world, as well as books.

Alfano is an avid rower and 10-year member of Buffalo, New York's West Side Rowing Club. She currently lives in Amherst, New York.
DescriptionAs today's children are practically born digital, it comes as no surprise that this generation is the most tech-savvy yet. Now, with more than half of all children in the US now having access to a mobile device- such as a smartphone, video iPod, or tablet, these gadgets are bridging the gap between entertainment and learning and between adult and child.

In its Play Lab, led by Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Fisher-Price found six-month-olds batting at iPhone screens, nine-month-olds swiping, and 12-month-olds pointing out objects and recognizing the location and function of the home button. Even though most babies do not comprehend object permanence (i.e., the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard or touched), when the home button was covered the babies knew where it should be and pressed that location in the hopes of stimulating an action on the screen. These observations, among others, were passed along to Fisher-Price toy producers and industrial designers and informed the development of Fisher-Price's Apptivity line of toys and apps-- starting with the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case in 2011 and most recently, the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey, which will be on shelves this August.

Kathleen will discuss how young children engage with technology, the link between play and learning, why it is important to observe children's interactions with technology, and how to make game-play purposeful and safe.

The World of MMOs

Paper 1

Understanding systems problem solving: what sets competent vs. expert players apart at high-level game play
By: Yu-Tzu Debbie Liu

Faced with increasingly challenging social and global problems in the 21st century, strong arguments have been made for the importance and implications for learning complex systems ideas and perspectives. However, little research has been done where students are truly exercising systems thinking to solve a problem, or systems problem solving. Most systems learning research and computational tools or games help people think about systems rather than truly immersing students in a systems problem where there's an interplay between individual action and system outcome. This exploratory study looks at how people engage in systems problem solving using a multi-player online battle arena setting in World of Warcraft as a model system of study. More specifically, arena players at various high levels of game play success, or mastery of systems problem solving, are compared to elucidate the differences between increasingly more expert systems problem solvers (competent vs. expert players). Differences in 1) systems concept understanding, 2) thinking patterns, 3) behavior, and 4) collaboration are analyzed. Findings highlight factors that promote successful systems problem solving. The benefits of games and meaningful play to education is exemplified in this study, as it not only provides a means for students to engage and practice systems problem solving, but can be ingeniously used as an educational research tool.

Paper 2

Sink or Swim? Learning and Social Capital in Massively Multiplayer Online Games.
By: Joshua Clark

Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) present participants with complex and multifaceted worlds complete with their own language, rule structures and conceptions of success or failure. How do players adapt and learn to survive in this environment? What are the long-term implications of various learning strategies for social development within the game? This paper seeks to answer these questions through a self-reported survey of 541 players from the popular MMOG EVE Online. The survey responses were drawn from three distinct fan communities. Analysis of participant responses revealed that while joining in-game training organizations as a student did not significantly affect social capital development, the decision to act as a mentor to newer players did. In addition, findings reinforced previous research about importance of voice communication and permeability of the in-game/outside game barrier with respect to social relationships. These findings offer insights into the relationship between commercial MMOGs and the social process of learning within computer mediated environments.

Paper 3

The Holy Trinity: Creating Definitions, Defining Creations
By: William Broderick

The notion of the holy trinity of Massively Multi-Player Online (MMO) games is a nebulous and often misunderstood concept due to a vast array of disparate definitions, if individuals are even familiar with the term. Many game scholars and players might be familiar with the concept of the holy trinity of games, but unfamiliar with the use of the term, even though it is gaining in popularity on websites and game forums. The player roles of damage per second (or DPS), the Healer, and the Tank comprise the holy trinity. While these three roles are the core requirement of almost every group endeavor within MMOs and multiplayer games, no distilled definition of those roles yet exists.

Utilizing qualitative research methods, a content analysis of four of the most popular MMO game titles is created through analysis of the themes and syntax on the MMO websites describing player classes and roles. This is created by performing two parallel content analyses. The first content analysis, viewed through the lens of the game developer, is done to find those attributes the MMO game developers identify as characteristics of the DPS, Healer and Tank player roles for their games. These themes include such topics as: defensive strategies, types of attacks, names of healing spells or abilities, and so forth. A second content analysis, viewed from the perspective of the players of MMOs, provides insight into what the players of MMO games believe are the themes which define the roles found in the holy trinity. These themes include: threat generation, damage done via spells or abilities, weapon choices, healing per second, and so forth. Blending the themes from both designers and players provides a new, comprehensive definition to enrich scholarly understanding.

These new definitions are then studied using Social Cognitive Theory as a mechanism to enhance player understanding of roles in games. Because Social Cognitive Theory speaks to the behavior exhibited by individuals and how important the environment is to that behavior, it may be used to describe the rich set of experiences in which players find fulfillment versus disillusionment in enacting the roles of the holy trinity. The expectations of game designers and players may be appreciated as a dialog of communication and miscommunication on both parts, since the design of DPS, Healer, and Tank roles may be inconsistent with the desired characteristics of individual players fulfilling these roles. This sort of disconnection between expectations, design, communication, and performing is investigated with an emphasis on not only the need for defining the holy trinity roles, but also in producing a collaborative effort for designers and players as co-producers of game identity.

Finally, a discussion of possible mechanisms to reduce frustration of players by defining acceptable behavior of players and designers, and how players may enact their roles for greater acceptance by others in the game community are explored.

Designing Games Education - Exploring The Breadth and Diversity of Game Design Curricula

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Jeremy Gibson, University of Southern California
DescriptionOne of the most interesting aspects of Game Design Education is the wide variety of approaches taken by the top programs in the field. The University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California Santa Cruz, Georgia Tech and nearly all other top-ranking programs have drastically different curricula which give graduates of each school a unique design flavor and skill set. There are also fantastic examples of schools which take a very focused approach to a specific aspect of game development education like the very practical approach of DigiPen and the serious-games approach of Michigan State University. In this lecture, Jeremy Gibson, Assistant Professor of game design and prototyping at USC's Interactive Media Division, will explore the similarities and differences between these and other programs, helping other educators to understand the current state of game design curricula in the United States and to better understand how to tailor the design programs at their school towards a specific student experience.

Play the Past: Where Meaningful Play and Digital Humanities Meet to Talk

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Jeremy Antley

Emily Bembeneck, Univeristy of Michigan

Roger Travis, University of Connecticut

Ethan Watrall, Michigan State University
DescriptionIn this panel session four contributors to the collaborative blog "Play the Past" present their perspectives on how games, and play more generally, are transforming the practice of the humanities both digital and analogue (or should that be "both digital and less-obviously-digital"?). Each presenter will outline his/her perspective briefly, leaving ample time for open discussion.

Jeremy Antley will look at historically-themed board games and ask what sort of engagement players take on when processing the narrative assemblage involved in the act of play. Abstracted models often play on assumptions or well understood narratives in order to achieve effect, yet this abstraction gives players more agency in determining for themselves what the ultimate meaning of gameplay should be, in addition to possible avenues for augmentation through player modifications.

Emily Bembeneck will look at the medium of videogames in particular as especially suited for telling multi-modal, multi-linear stories. As a playground of cooperative authorship between designers and players, games offer the opportunity for individuals to cooperatively create their own experiences of the past and explore its place in cultural identity and heritage. Through an understanding of the construction and function of cooperative, multi-linear stories, Emily argues that we as designers and educators can take particular advantage of video games to explore and experience our histories.

Roger Travis will suggest that the concept of "practomime" that he has explored on Play the Past over the last two years, which arises in his reading of homeric epic performance and modern game-play (in particular digital game-play) as exactly isomorphic, allows humanists to get traction over the essentially and increasingly performative nature of digital culture both for teaching and for scholarship. He will outline an argument that, in turn, a thick description of digital culture as a set of practomimetic performances provides powerful support for the continued need for sophisticated humanistic inquiry.

Ethan Watrall will explore the potential of applying digital games within archaeology for the purposes of education, outreach, and engagement. In particular, he will suggest that games have significant potential to address the complex and highly relevant questions that archaeologists explore through their research, such as the nature of complex culture change, the impact of people on the environment, and the causes and consequences of social collapse.


LocationGold B
Paper 1

Journalism and games: Just a spoonful of sugar for the news?
By: Irene Serrano Vazquez

During almost two decades and due to the widespread use of the internet in Western countries, journalism has been adapting its format to the new medium, suffering changes at every level: from the way to tell and pack the stories, to the daily routines of newsrooms. Nevertheless, despite journalism having officially jumped into the waters of the World Wide Web, news corporations are still wondering how to take the most out of it, not only to make the business profitable again but also to successfully reach and involve audiences and communicate a massage in the best possible way. In the middle of this quicksand, the question of the benefits and possibilities of telling the news through digital games has arisen in the last years. But is it possible to tell a story through a videogame while respecting the basis of journalism? In its first stage, this paper analyses the different ways in which games have been related with journalism and examines the advantages and disadvantages, from the point of view of the current challenges in journalism and the features of the different established genres. Secondly, it proposes a new object of study, playful journalism. A concrete example of what can be considered as playful journalism, a section of the Spanish news site that called to the participation of the readers, is analyzed. For this paper some users have been interviewed in order to analyze if the game mechanic included in the news site increased their interest into the site and their participation.

Paper 2

Serious Games. Serious Learning.
By: James Bonus and James Bonus

Education in the United States is muddled in growing pains. Few people question the need for fundamental reform, but there's little consensus on what that reform should look like. One thread that has linked reform approaches thus far is the creation and implementation of new instructional technologies. Interestingly, research has neglected to analyze ways to revitalize textbook learning, which, in higher education, is one of the primary instructional methods encountered by students. Given the intrinsically motivating aspects of most games, it stands to reason that a modernized, "gamified" textbook would promote greater student engagement and motivation to learn from textual material. The purpose of this paper is to theoretically define and construct a gamified introductory sociology electronic textbook, and to propose a study that would test the feasibility of using such a textbook in the classroom, specifically measuring levels of student intrinsic motivation and academic achievement.

Paper 3

Strategies for Meaningful Gamification: Concepts behind Transformative Play and Participatory Museums
By: Scott Nicholson

Meaningful gamification is the use of game design elements to help users find meaning in a non-game context. Rather than focus on external rewards and a scoring system, meaningful gamification focuses on play to engage participants in a ludic learning space. In this article, concepts of transformative play and learning are combined with principles behind science museums and participatory exhibit design to create strategies for designers of meaningful gamification activities.

Paper 4

Reification and Real Life Goals as Facilitators of Progression in Digital Games
By: Niels Peter Rasmussen, Sandra Dogg Gudnadottir, Christian Toft, Thomas Saaby Nielsen and Henrik Schoenau-Fog

Gamification is the idea of using game design elements to better motivate and engage people in accomplishing objectives in their everyday lives and is among some scholars believed to be a key factor of motivation in real life in the future. However, so far it has been difficult to assign specific values to such real life achievements and make that value redeemable within a digital game. This paper investigates how real life goals may add benefits to games much like when contemporary games offer an alternative of monetary payment, to unlock novel features and facilitate progression in the game. For such an optional currency to be meaningful, there is a need for a discussion on how to determine, assign value of and validate these real life achievements. This paper aims to discuss the use of known activities from social media and ubiquitous gaming to evaluate and describe the value for real life activities and provide a balanced discernible outcome that can be used as an alternative to payment or mundane tasks which has to be performed in order to progress in games.

The mindful xp experience: Developing meaning through rapid prototyping

Presenter(s)Michael Lee, Felix Park and Daniel Lin
DescriptionRapid development or prototyping has emerged as a popular way to approach design challenges. From student projects such as the Experimental Gameplay Project to any number of local and global game jams, prototyping has been seen as a prime way to develop experimental gameplay mechanics (ones that would provoke introspection, reflection, and or poignancy).. Our student project, mindful xp, sought to take this popular approach for finding new fun mechanics and use it instead in search of meaningful game mechanics. Over the course of 15 weeks our project focused on developing a series of prototypes with the goal of achieving meaning through game mechanics and play. In addition to developing individual prototypes we also assessed both positive and negative reactions and feedback from players and allowed those responses to inform our creative process throughout the 15 weeks.

Each prototype was initially designed using a specific approach (individual vs. collaborative design, etc.) to explore how differences in approaches affected the development of meaningful game mechanics. Each game also was developed with a central mechanic that attempted to convey meaning primarily through play. In the 15 week period we created 10 complete games along with a number of incomplete prototypes. Through conventional mechanics like shooting and non-conventional mechanics like holding hands, through linear experiences focused on story to freeform explorations of systems each game strived to deliver a thoughtful experience. By the end of the 15 weeks we had developed a number of personal guidelines and thoughts on creating personal and meaningful works. The use of rapid prototyping as our setup for this project allowed us to successfully experiment and creating a number of games canvassing a wide variety of subjects.

Thursday, October 18, 12:00p-1:30p

Birds of a Feather Lunch (on your own)

DescriptionThursday lunch is not provided. Take this time to socialize with your fellow conference attendees while enjoying the many dining venues within downtown East Lansing.

If you are interested in lunching with like minded individuals, there will be Birds of a Feather meet-up signs in the lobby. Meet at one of the signs and go to lunch together. The groups include:

  • IGDA Learning, Education and Games SIG Meet-Up***
  • Health Games
  • Research and Funding
  • Design and Development
  • Students

*** NOTE: IGDA Learning, Education and Games SIG Meet-Up is hosted by the IGDA LEG SIG. If you want to attend, please RSVP to Stephen Jacobs (sj at mail dot rit dot edu) so he knows how much pizza to order.

The IGDA LEG SIG was formed in February, 2012 to address all matters related to the design, development, distribution, promotion, use, and assessment of games that are created to teach concepts and skills in both formal and informal contexts. The SIG has a similar interest in the educational uses of games originally created for the entertainment marketplaces in the same contexts as described above. It currently has just under 100 members.

To learn more about the sig and/or to join it (no charge, no igda membership requirement) go to the SIG page and or join our Google Group.

Thursday, October 18, 1:30p-2:30p

Great Neighborhoods: Giving power to every voice and transforming communities through civic gaming

Presenter(s)Steven Dodds, Every Voice Engaged Foundation

Carrie Heeter, Michigan State University

Andy Simon, Questar Assessment, Inc.
DescriptionEvery Voice Engaged Foundation, the non-profit "spin-off" of Innovation Games, leverages the Innovation Games game mechanics and infrastructure to deliver problem-solving events for cities, communities, and non-profit organizations.

Civic gaming using this platform is designed and used in Great Neighborhoods to 1.) Solicit and capture great ideas from neighbors on community action projects that will result in more beautiful, clean, safe, and engaged neighborhoods; 2.) Awaken neighborhood capacity to commit resources and volunteer time and take action; and 3.) Facilitate neighborhood prioritization of ideas, recruitment of volunteers and project funding proposals.

Every Voice Engaged Foundation Executive Director Steven Dodds, Michigan State University Professor and Budget Games volunteer Carrie Heeter, and Simon Associates Management Consultants Partner and a Every Voice Engaged Producer Andy Simon, will discuss the foundation's Great Neighborhoods project with the city of San Jose, meeting local neighborhood organizations' strong desire to address their needs by engaging their neighbors.

Every Voice Engaged has worked closely with San Jose's Coyote Creek Neighborhood Association (CCNA) to prepare for and conduct online and in person civic gaming events. Volunteer staffers developed monitoring and reporting plans for project results. Using this pilot program as a basis, the City of San Jose Great Neighborhoods program is being launched at the Neighborhood Development Training Conference the end of September with over 50 neighborhoods. Each participating neighborhood received a city seed grant for one project at the end of the day's event. After the event, Every Voice Engaged will work with these neighborhoods to create, define and decide on any number of projects selected based on the volunteer hours committed to complete projects. In addition, the program will train San Jose State University students and a number of other residents to become facilitators and continue engaging the power of every voice in San Jose neighborhoods. These same facilitators will help support the city's third annual Budget Games, produced by Every Voice Engaged, in January. These represent important additions to the city's overall citizen engagement program.

The insights uncovered during the games and activities lead to sustainable and supported solutions--especially important in a world where everyone is being asked to do more with less.

The games work particularly well for resource prioritization and allocation decisions involving diverse groups of stakeholders. Instead of asking for opinions and positions, the collaborative activities go beyond the superficial and get straight to the heart of what matters.

We make it fun, drawing on the same elements of game mechanics and gamification that attract and keep people coming back to games of all types.

Each game results in defined deliverables that include action plans and other items that pave the way for future collaboration.

Is it the Age of Dragon Age?

Paper 1

Computer Games as Meaning Creating Rituals
By: Ulf Palmenfelt

This paper argues that playing computer games can be compared to traditional fairy tale telling situations. Both fairy tales and computer games offer playful arenas for testing the limits of the physical reality, of social and cultural norms, and of moral values. The purpose of the research project described in the paper will be to collect material for a discussion about the cultural consequences of moral and ethical values being communicated in the ritual arenas of computer games.

Paper 2

Gameplay and historical consciousness in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II (Bioware)
By: Cecilia Trenter

This article deals with the historical consciousness in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II (2009-2011 BioWare) which is a single-player third-person role-playing video game series within the fantasy-medieval context. In order to know how gameplay operates with its dystopian fictional present, the article analyzes how the two video games create a spatial and temporal connection between past, present and future in a fictional history inspired by dystopian Sword and Sorcery-fantasy. This article is based on the assumption that understanding the projective identity through a Playing Character (PC) as a part of a flow of time with a past, a present and a future in the game, is a crucial part of the gameplay. This article stresses that the two games within the series turn out differently according to the gameplay; Dragon Age: Origins develop from an apocalyptic and dystopian place (a world full of threats) into a eutopian place (a good place to stay) whereas Dragon Age II remains in a dystopian plot.

Paper 3

Giving Meaning to Dragon Age: Origins. A Linguistic Approach
By: Hedda Gunneng

This paper argues that Dragon Age: Origins can be given a meaning over and above the primary goal, i.e. success, through the texts that are regularly offered to the player for contemplation during the game. The game can be said to have a facultative depth. The technology used to achieve this - making a fictional literature accessible for the player as the game progresses - is not exclusive to DAO and can be used by other game designers. Meaning is created when the player perceives a causal and temporal pattern in the game world that bears enough similarity to the patterns through which we have structured our perception of our own history. This process is viewed with the frameworks of schema theory and collective memory. The "real" historical patterns that emerge through the game are fetched from different parts of our western medieval history. Recognizing our own Middle Ages in the game world intensifies the playing experience, possibly the most each time the player has to make an ethically difficult choice. Recognition is precipitated and reinforced when auctor activates the player's capacity to create associations. In this paper I have demonstrated the importance of texts and the stylistically informed use of them to achieve this effect. I have also argued that it is not necessary to have an active knowledge of history nor to be conscious of one's own perception of the Middle Ages to gain access to this deeper meaning. The interpretation comes - sooner or later - to every player who is raised in and lives with our collective memory. The literary technique used in DAO is an example of how a computer game can be given a meaning that is not superficial, and the technology is available for any game designer who wishes to create a meaningful game.

Paper 4

The Worldliness of the Dragon Age: Origins Game World
By: Lars Wangdahl

This paper examines the game map in the Bioware computer game Dragon Age: Origins (Bioware, 2009) with respect to it's relation to the game world. By aesthetically critically discussing features of the game world and how they contribute to game play I want to further the discussion of the usefulness of the game world concept when studying computer games. The preposition that game play consists of three aspects of experience, game world, story and play is forwarded. One major gain with using the game world concept is that it is a handy way to talk about other content than that which is directly related to the particular story in the game at hand. Also, in games the world take on a more independent role than in literature. The game world concept should be understood as comprehensive, comprising far more than just space. Still it should not be confused with that of a real world. The game world is a scene or setting that can be used for many different stories. There is a map of the world in which Dragon Age: Origins takes place. It has been used both outside the game and inside it as a game map interface in a revised and cropped version. The analysis shows that this map (in either form) cannot really be regarded as a piece of the game world. It seems to work as an instrument on a conceptual level, it might have been used in game production, and definitely it works for communicating with players. Rather than a proper map map though, it is an image representing the game world on a typical level and in accordance with genre conventions. Neither can it be regarded as a part of the game world. Still, as it is used within the game, the map strengthens moods and themes within the game. The map of Thedas, and the cut out version of it used within the game, both work as images more than maps. As such they refer to the game world in a metaphorical way. Even if the map is used as an interface for navigation in the game it is really it's visual and symbolic attributes that contribute to the understanding of the game world.

Building a Playful Learning Community

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Jennifer Groff, Alex Chisholm, and Peter Stidwill
DescriptionSuccessful implementation of games as a learning approach in the classroom is still a "black box" for many educators. There's lots of rich information and knowledge around each game that, when easily accessible, can make it much easier to use that game in the classroom. The Learning Games Network, a non-profit spin-off of the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Games+Learning+Society Program that bridges the gap between research and practice in game-based learning, is creating a knowledge network of learning games--to connect existing and emerging communities of educators and provide resources for teachers to integrate games into their instruction.

Called the Playful Learning Community, this online knowledge base and community will address head on the challenges of implementing game-based learning strategies in the classroom by creating a channel for researchers, designers, teachers, and others to support one another as they exchange best practices, share teaching strategies, develop lesson plans, explore assessment strategies, and identify future research priorities. This roundtable session will be active and participatory, as we seek to continually engage all stakeholders in the unfolding of this vision and helping to co-construct a knowledge base that will richly serve our community.

Understanding Games through the Lens of Narrative

LocationParlor C
Paper 1

Establishing Literary Merit in Metal Gear Solid: A close critical reading
By: Christopher Yap, Shigeru Kashihara and Suguru Yamaguchi

Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid, (MGS) is widely recognized by both gamers and industry professionals as one of the most influential games of all time. Despite this overwhelming general consensus, academic research and analysis as to why MGS enjoys that status remains scant and periphery at best. In this paper I contend that one of the ways in which the value of a game can be explained is through the use of close critical and literary readings of the text, which in this case is a game. In particular, this paper discusses the effective use of long cinematic cutscenes, historical fiction and the incorporation of a discussion of the issue of Nature vs. Nurture within the context of the game to shed some light on how video games have the potential to be studied as significant works of interactive fiction. Furthermore, the investigations in this paper are intended to contribute to current methods to analyze literary merit in other games with a narrative landscape.

Paper 2

Child's Play: Researching Meaning-Making in Transmediated Worlds
By: Meagan Rothschild

Understanding the inherent pedagogies of transmedia products that push past single product use (such as game, card, virtual world, comic, etc.) and embrace a suite of products as entry points to narrative worlds requires knowledge of learning, design, and media cultural theoretical frames. This discussion aims to bring the discourses of multiple fields of study together to consider the ways in which narrative worlds can be created and researched to foster productive play. Specifically, the author investigates what makes "good" transmedia environments for learning, and how this learning situates itself in broader forms of play and activity? By analyzing transmedia worlds with an emphasis on the ways play and design can facilitate learning experiences, the research-driven educational media development communities can leverage new ideas for their own research and development. And by asking how the world invites and even requires 'activity' on the part of the user, designers and producers can generate new worlds and environments that enable rich play and learning experiences.

Paper 3

Untangling narrative involvement in serious games and interactive environments
By: Angeline Sangalang

The following paper explores a cognitive processing framework to better understand narrative persuasion in serious game and interactive environments based on structural, platform and user differences.

Building a Company from the Ground Up Developing Serious Games

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Casey O'Donnell, Tom Robertson, Jared Jackson, Stephen Borden and David Ducrest
DescriptionThis panel explores the relatively short history of a company based around the design and development of Serious Games for education. IS3D was founded in 2010 to commercialize a handful of learning technologies developed as part of an National Institute of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). Aided by the University of Georgia's VentureLab and a subsequent NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant IS3D is working to bring new forms of fun and engaging technologies into the classroom. Participants in the panel will discuss various aspects of building a company around making and distributing serious games.

Dr. Robertson will present the barriers that exist in establishing a commercial entity based on intellectual property developed at a State University that was funded by a federal research grant. This will include details of how efficient public-private partnerships can play a central role in the development and commercialization of serious games for use in science classrooms.

Jared Jackson will discuss his experiences in moving from a digital artist, to technical artist to a project director on a Federally-funded small business grant. He will also discuss the wide variety of disciplines required to perform such a project.

Stephen Borden will discuss how attitudes towards gaming in the classroom can be improved by iterative development in school classrooms, and the importance of student and teacher feedback in the development process. He will discuss how an abstract game can engage students in their learning that can lead into authentic role-playing games that are based on real world scenarios

David Ducrest will present how the abstraction of ideas and implementation can improve your understanding of your project and improve the resulting project and improve your repeatability. The discussion will specifically relate topics to the redevelopment of IS3D's Osmosis Case Study. We were able to separate our content from our solutions, which has allowed us to develop interactive ebooks, case studies and full games with the same content knowledge.

Dr. O'Donnell will talk about the different learning tools that IS3D develops, the different modes of engagement they provide, and how they converge to help foster higher-order thinking skills in students. This will include a discussion of the importance of "teacher buy-in" to serious games, and IS3D's approach of using serious games to raise standards in science education.

Beyond Just Crunching Numbers: Games for Learning Math and Science

LocationGold B
Paper 1

Gaming the Classroom
By: Antonia Szymanski and Matthew Benus

Math achievement among US high school students is low; the average 15-year-old US students' mathematics literacy scores places them in the bottom quarter of students worldwide. Algebra has long been recognized as a gateway course to higher education. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate teacher and student perceptions of adapting video game design principles for Algebra instruction for struggling students in an attempt to increase student engagement and achievement. The study described the experiences of a high-school remedial algebra class as it participated in an innovative instructional design pilot. The teacher and 14 struggling students described their perceptions of teaching and learning how to graph linear equations in a gaming environment.

Paper 2

Levelling Up on Stereotype Threat: The Role of Psychological Connection to Avatar in Math Performance
By: Rabindra Ratan and Young June Sah

Avatar identity can induce stereotype threat, which means that some people conform to the stereotypes about this identity and thereby perform in accordance with the stereotype. Specfically, people who used female avatars in a competitive math task performed worse than people who used male avatars, regardless of the individual's sex (Lee, 2009). The present study attempted to replicate these finding and investigated the role of connection to the avatar in this effect. It was hypothesized that people would be affected by stereotype threat when they use a gendered avatar, and that this effect would be moderated by feelings of connection to the avatar. A 2 (avatar customization: customized vs. generic) X 2 (avatar gender: female vs. male) between-subjects experiment found that females who customized and used a female avatar scored lower on the math task than did those who customized and used male avatar. Further, body-level connection to the avatar was unexpectedly found to hinder the stereotype threat effect, most likley because such a connection leads to arousal, which inhibits performance on some cognitive tasks. Overall, this research suggests that certain types of connections to certain avatar identities can be used to combat stereotype threat.

Paper 3

Results from a controlled study of the iPad fractions game Motion Math (Top Paper Award)
By: Michelle Riconscente

Although fractions knowledge is essential for future success in mathematics, national data show that the vast majority of US students fail to become proficient in fractions. With the advent of mobile technologies such as iPad tablets, new kinds of interactions with subject matter have become possible that have potential for improving learning. The present study used a repeated measures crossover design to experimentally investigate whether the iPad fractions game Motion Math would improve fractions knowledge and attitudes in fourth-graders. One hundred twenty-two students from two schools in southern California participated in the study. Fractions knowledge was assessed using adaptations of released items from the California Standards Test (CST), the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Results show that students' fractions test scores improved an average of over 15% after playing Motion Math for 20 minutes daily over a five-day period, representing a significant increase compared to a control group. In addition, children's self-efficacy for fractions, as well as their liking of fractions, each improved an average of 10%, representing a statistically significant increase compared to a control group. All participants rated Motion Math as fun and reported wanting to play it again; nearly all (95%) children in the study reported that their friends would like the game, and that the game helped them learn fractions. Implications for the design and study of interactive games are discussed.

Paper 4

Designing a Game-based Social Application for Mathematics Education
By: Toru Fujimoto, Tadashi Misono, Kaoru Takahashi, Yusuke Otuji, Hisashi Suzuki and Yuhei Yamauchi

Addressing learner avoidance of mathematics is a crucial issue in mathematics education. Researchers claim a discontinuance between mathematical thinking in everyday activities and the overall knowledge learned in math classes. Although previous studies have indicated that using digital-based games may be an effective approach for mathematics education, very few applications bridging such discontinuance exist. This research introduces a design scheme and prototype of a game-based application specifically targeting learners who tend to avoid traditional mathematics education. The educational purpose of this game-based application, Treasure & Axis, is to gain knowledge of mathematical vectors and coordinates by navigating a ship toward a treasure on the game map. The playful and interactive activities in the game are based on mathematical knowledge, and the players receive instant feedback that supports their learning during game play. While navigating the ship is the main challenge, it also offers additional learning activities such as math quizzes related to the learner's experience during the game play. The gaming activities and assessment of learning outcomes are coordinated so that the game log data is automatically stored in the database and connected to the learners' profile. This study reports the ongoing formative evaluation of the game prototype and discusses the relevant findings, which may be useful for future researchers interested in studying game-based social media applications for mathematics education.

Building Locative Games with ARIS

Presenter(s)Christopher Holden, Breanne Litts, David Gagnon, Seann Dikkers, and James Mathews
DescriptionARIS is an easy-to-use, open-source development platform that allows anyone to create locative mobile activities for formal and informal learning environments. Locative virtual tours, interactive cases, situated documentaries, or data collection activities can be authored in a browser-based drag-and-drop editor, then "played" on iOS devices. We expect that anyone interested in mobile learning, locative meaningful play, or designing narrative- or data collection-based activities will find this workshop relevant.

ARIS exemplifies how an open-source model can be used to cultivate, scale and sustain educational innovation at large. In addition to using open-source licensing, the ARIS project is built around an ethos of easy entry, collaboration and distributed participation. Because the ARIS platform is designed for non-programmers, it allows a wide-range of users to quickly and easily build their own mobile-based learning activities and experiments. The resulting community of users, which currently includes over 2,600 authors and 3,300 unique designs, continues to grow and cross-pollinate, especially as more domains and research perspectives are being represented. In addition to sparking the development of new ARIS features and functionality, this diverse user group has collaborated to develop new methods of enacting and researching mobile-based learning.

This hands-on workshop will focus on the use of ARIS for narrative- and data collection-based activities. During this session we will give a brief overview of the ARIS platform, then introduce participants to the basic features of ARIS by helping them build their own ARIS experiences. Our goal is that, in two hours, participants will build two activities in ARIS: a narrative-based activity and a data collection-based activity. As a result, participants will gain a foundational and practical understanding of how ARIS can be used to design and implement meaningful activities in a variety of contexts.

ARIS has been used in a variety of formal and informal learning environments and content areas, including science, folklore, art, second language, physical education and history. This platform has promise wherever place can play a meaningful role in learning, whether it be to produce curricula or as a design/prototyping tool for students. Therefore, we hope that participants will not only leave our workshop with a technical understanding of ARIS, but also with an inspiration to use ARIS to push the boundaries of learning through mobile locative activities.

Thursday, October 18, 2:30p-3:00p


Thursday, October 18, 3:00p-4:00p

Researching Playful Learning in Two-Way TV

Presenter(s)Alex Games and Meagan Rothschild
DescriptionThe Playful Learning initiative out of Microsoft Studios is working to use the Xbox and the Kinect to transform the ways we think of play and learning, whether in a living room or a classroom. One platform coming out of this initiative is Two-Way Television, a means of combining entertainment with thoughtful learning experiences by engaging physical activity and embodied learning practices. The first two industry partners are Sesame Workshop and National Geographic TV. The products are scheduled to be released in fall of 2012.

An initial study has begun through Microsoft Research that investigates how ideas of embodied cognition and comprehension can be investigated across products in order to a) understand the experiences of participants, and b) explore the ways in which the products can facilitate new meaning-making (Alibali & Nathan, 2007; Barsalou, Niedenthal, Barbey, & Ruppert, 2003; Glenberg, Jaworski, Rischal, & Levin, 2007; Glenberg, Brown, & Leven, 2007). The first phase of research focused specifically on Sesame Street Kinect TV episodes, and targeted participants between three and five years of age. Research tools included comprehension measurements through interviews and performance-based activities, and observation protocols/video coding schemes (Crawley, Anderson, Santomero, Wilder, Williams, Evans, & Bryant, 2002). Early tests using these tools took place with Microsoft User Research at their user research labs in Redmond, WA.

This session will present early findings from the research, which will be used to inform future modification of the research tools, and to increase the rigor of studies on both Sesame Street and National Geographic TV products. Later research may include formal/informal education sites in order to collect data in context.

Gender and Games

Paper 1

Examining behavioral effects of player sex in two large-scale MMOs
By: Chandan Sarkar, Rabindra Ratan, Daniel Allen and Jackson Hopcroft

Previous games research has shown a difference between male and female players in terms of their gaming behaviors, such as choice of avatar gender and engagement in combat or social activities. This article builds on such research by examining these types of behaviors within two massively multiplayer online games, CR3 and EVE, as they relate to player gender and differ between the game and cultural contexts. A multitude of variables reflecting such behaviors, pulled from privacy-protected, server log data, are used to test the hypotheses that males, compared to females, engage in more combat-related behaviors and fewer social behaviors. This analysis is currently incomplete, but will hopefully be consistent with previous findings and contribute new insights into gender differences player behavior.

Paper 2

Sex & Video Games: How Super Princess Peach reclaims the Vibrator
By: Chris Cruz-Boone

Implicitly or explicitly, sex is part of the culture of video games. Female characters are depicted as docile bodies awaiting sexual conquest. The use of this heteronormative narrative (Rich, 1994), of saving and getting the girl, has robbed virtual women of their own sexual power. This research will analyze the game, Super Princess Peach as an ideological work to understand the current position of women in games. Through play, it will study implied sexual themes to help explain how gameplay shapes social perceptions of sex. Sex and sexuality is not a new subject of study (Behm-Morawitz & Mastro, 2009; Brookey & Kristopher, Cannon, 2009; Burgess & Burgess, 2007; Gross, 2005; Consalvo, 2003); however, in respect to the motives of why consumers play video games, narratives about sex have been neglected.

Paper 3

League of Gendered Game Play Behaviors: Examining Instrumental vs Identity-Relevant Avatar Choices
By: Rabindra Ratan, Tracy Kennedy and Dmitri Williams

Previous research on gender swapping in online games suggests that the relationship between player sex and avatar gender tends to be more instrumental for males and more identity-relevant for females. This article examines this pattern of behavior in League of Legends (LoL), currently the most played PC game in North America and Europe (Gaudiosi, July 2012). The analysis is based anonymized survey responses and linked gameplay server data from over 15,000 players, provided by the game developer. Results yield some typical gendered patterns: male players tend to focus more on combat activities, whereas women focus on more social game activities. Moreover, female players are more likely to choose same-gender avatars than male players are, but females who gender swap engage in more masculine and fewer feminine behaviors. These results are consistent with previous findings and support the general claim that males tend to have an instrumental relationship with their avatars, while females tend to have an identity-relevant relationship. However, one finding contradicts this generalization: male players who rated themselves as shy are more likely to choose female avatars than male players who rated themselves and competitive or bold. This suggests that for some males, identity does play a role in their choice of avatar. Building on these findings, this paper discusses how gender is embodied and represented in similar ways in both real and virtual spaces, situating gender as an ongoing constructed performance.

Meaningful Failure: instrumental feedback that guides performance

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Dennis Ramirez, David Hatfield, Elizabeth Owen, Clem Samson-Samuel and R. Benjamin Shapiro
DescriptionOne interpretation of failure focuses on the negative implications that are associated with not meeting a desirable or intended objective. If a student fails to perform well on high-stakes assessments, the result determines opportunities available to the test taker. Failure becomes a label by which a student's mental faculties are assessed. This interpretation of failure is limiting. Papert (1983) wrote that "Our children grow up in a culture permeated with the idea that there are 'smart people' and 'dumb people.'" and that, "As a result, children perceive failure as relegating them either to the group of 'dumb people' or, more often, to a group of people 'dumb at x'". However, experiments that end in failure, or unforeseen outcomes, are critical for innovation. This process can result in a deeper understanding of the topic itself and often leads to better models and theories of the subject (Dunbar, 1999; Kapur, 2012). Another interpretation of failure, then, is as instrumental feedback that guides performance.

Failure is an important part of playing games. A growing body of research suggests that digital media and games can provide powerful mechanisms for learning (Shaffer et al., 2005; Gee & Shaffer, 2010; Squire, 2006; Dede, 2007; Barab et al., 2010). "Good video games lower the consequences of failure; players can start from the last saved game when they fail. Players are thereby encouraged to take risks, explore, and try new things. In fact, in a game, failure is a good thing. "(Gee, 2009). Players don't stop playing the game when faced with an undesirable outcome. Instead, they often choose to reflect on strategies attempted and try again with new and revised approaches (Squire, 2011).

Failure, as productive play, raises important challenges for assessment. While these environments can help generate compelling experiences that produce rich streams of performance data, "[t]he challenge lies in how to determine which data are useful and how to make use of this data in ways that will ultimately inform and improve student learning" (Behrens et al., 2010). Given such rich gameplay data, an important assessment challenge involves developing equally rich models of what players are thinking and learning.

Unfortunately, within a complex game system it becomes harder to interpret individual performances as failure. Players not succeeding at a given task may not mean they misunderstand the game content. Rather, the failure may be the result of the way they chose to play the game. It is common to think of games offering many ways of playing (Bartle, 1996; Tocci, 2012), including modes of play that involve playing with rather than by the rules of the system, such as "subversive" play (Tocci, 2012). Effective game-based assessment must accommodate variations in the length, frequency, or content encountered, in order to measure changes in learning attributable to the game experience.

In this round table we'll discuss the multiple facets of failure, and the implications of these facets for assessing understanding in ways that are informative and productive for learning.

Modding: Design and Analysis

LocationParlor C
Paper 1

A Video Game Selection Process for Supporting Modding Projects
By: Eric Boivin, Francois Bernier and Stephane Bouchard

Most research & development (R&D) projects lack the financial resources to develop sophisticated VG-based training applications. Building on an existing VG resulting from a large development budget is a more frugal option. Although there are numerous examples of exploitation of VG in R&D projects, the selection process of these VGs and the possible modifications were rarely documented. First, this paper enumerates and classifies the possible forms of modifications and identifies the techniques for implementing these modifications in VGs. Then, it provides an example of a rigorous VG selection process for a R&D project on military training. The methodology requires identifying a set of VG titles that complied with a main criterion and then assesses them with other relevant criteria in order to determine the best candidate. Finally, this paper presents the architecture of a VG-based training system called ImPACT which implements a bio-feedback-driven gameplay. Sufficient details are provided so that other R&D projects may exploit a similar methodology in the future.

Paper 2

Patterns of Production in the Making of a Civilization Mod
By: Shree Durga

Metrics to evaluate open ended programming activities in game modding, spanning through periods of several months, ought to account for a wide-ranging array of salient social dynamics experienced by modders actively engaged with a fan community, such as forming of collaborative teams, negotiating creative authority and sustaining motivation through long timelines of production of a mod. Through a multimodal analysis of an "exemplar mod-production" case this study cross-examines participant's mod-production practices through the cycle of production, completion and distribution of the mod, and examines how formalistic notions of traditional practices in computer programming, such as debugging, design or re-factoring are transformed in the context of game modding.

Paper 3

Cross-case analysis of IT learning trajectories in a game-modding affinity space
By: Shree Durga

Over recent years, game modding has garnered much recognition as being one of the "cutting edge" avenues for fostering a broad range of critical information technology practices (Hayes & King, 2009; Peppler & Kafai, 2007; El-Nasr & Smith, 2006). Recent studies argue that modding a game is an intrinsically affinity-based pursuit (Gee, 2005, Hayes & Gee, 2010) and thus, opens up possibilities for participants from varying educational and professional backgrounds to learn to program, or, more broadly, learn to produce game-based content. Drawing on data from a two-year discourse-centered online ethnography (Androutsopoulos, 2008) of Civfanatics -- a vibrant Civilization (Civ) game modding community, in this talk, I present a cross-case analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994) of Civ modders' distinct pathways for professional growth and identity in IT. Through these cases I contest our existing notions about learning to mod or program and highlight exemplars of mentorship and development of expertise and self-efficacy in IT skills. I argue that learning to mod is an ongoing participation in a literacy of digital fan production (The New London Group, 2000); in other words, an acquisition of modding literacy --- a repertoire of competencies entailed in production of mods in an affinity-based modding community.

Paper 4

Hysteria: An experiment in historic interactive game narrative
By: Lisa Hermsen and Elizabeth Goins

This paper examines the integration of historic and fictional narratives through the transmediation of "The Yellow Wall-Paper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman into an interactive narrative. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" was first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. But this short story is itself a story within several other stories that can be told about Charlotte's activity in the woman's movement of the late nineteenth century and about her treatment by the popular Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, known well in the history of psychiatry. The project develops a mod of "The Yellow Wall-Paper," titled Hysteria, with Skyrim's Creation Kit as a means to experiment with the incorporation of cultural heritage and historic narrative into a role playing game. Game narrative is developed through character dialogue based on historical narrative, the incorporation of 19th century medical texts, and quest-based game play.

Growing the Game Industry in Michigan: 2012 Update

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Brian Winn, Michigan State University (moderator)

Carrie Jones, Michigan Film Office

Sean Hurwitz, Pixo Entertainment

Nathaniel McClure, Scientifically Proven Entertainment

Mike Rossi, Adventure Club Games

Susan S. Dorris, Oakland County Film and Digital Media Economic Development & Community Affairs
DescriptionMichigan has long been known as the heart of the U.S. auto industry. Its fortunes are tied tightly to the ups and downs of this industry. In the last decade (or more), with rising fuel costs, outsourcing of autoworker jobs, and factories being moved overseas, the Michigan economy have suffered tremendously. In fact, by most accounts, Michigan is the state hit the hardest by the recent economic downturn.

In the last few years there have been efforts to reinvigorate the Michigan economy by diversifying and growing new high-tech, health, and entertainment industries. The game industry is one such industry that Michigan hopes to foster within the state.

At Meaningful Play 2008 and 2010, this panel discussed the challenges and barriers that Michigan faced in terms of attracting and growing a local game industry.

But what has happened since then? This dynamic panel of Michigan game industry veterans, state leaders, and academics will explore the successes and failures of the last two years, discuss the challenges that remain, and potential solutions to growing a strong game industry in the state.

Thinking Differently about Games 4 Learning

LocationGold B
Paper 1

Deep Learning Games through the Lens of the Toy
By: Malcolm Ryan, Brigid Costello and Andrew Stapleton

Much has been written in recent times about game-based learning with the aim to bring together elements of game design and instructional design to make education more engaging. Sadly the results have been rather hit-and-miss and most educational games fail to either entertain or educate. Yet there are many entertaining computer games which exhibit all the characteristics of well-designed educational tools. Can these tools only be used to teach combat or dangerous driving? Or is there another reason why educational games fail where entertainment games succeed?

Schell's 'Lens of the Toy' provides valuable insight into this problem. An engaging game is based around an interesting toy, something that is already fun to play with before goals, challenges and narratives are added. A good toy is a complex system with many affordances that engage cognitive abilities of pattern recognition, strategic reasoning and problem solving. In an educational game, we argue this toy should be a concrete model of the learning domain. Such a toy can support all the requirements Gee has set out for teaching 'deep conceptual understanding'. Without such a toy at its core, educational games are likely to be little more that shallow, didactic, 'skill-and-drill' exercises with a coating of irrelevant gameplay to make them palatable.

Paper 2

Feeling right about how you play: the effects of regulatory fit in games for learning (Top Paper Award)
By: Yu-Hao Lee, Carrie Heeter, Brian Magerko and Ben Medler

Games for learning are often assigned to learners and not played voluntarily. Therefore a problem for educators is how make designs that motivate learners in these assigned conditions. This study examines the influence of regulatory fit experience on player motivations to play and to learning aspects of the game. The regulatory fit theory posits that when instructions matches the learners' promotion or prevention motivational systems, learners will experience a regulatory fit which will make them "feel right" about the current task. Our findings support the regulatory fit theory. When learners experience regulatory fit, they played the game for 26% more time than learners who did not experience regulatory fit. Learners in regulatory fit conditions also displayed more learning-related behaviors such as spending more time on learning feedback. Positive feedback seems to motivate promotion oriented learners; however negative feedback did not de-motivate prevention oriented learners as theory predicted.

Paper 3

SciGames: Guided Play Games to Enhance Science Engagement and Learning
By: David Kanter, Sameer Honwad, Ruth Diones, Adiel Fernandez and Michelle Riconscente

In this paper we present a set of design principles for the creation and implementation of guided play games (GPGs) to support science learning and, and report on an experimental pilot study in which we tested the effectiveness of two playground-based GPGs we developed through our SciGames initiative. Specifically, we investigated whether GPGs could positively influence behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement, and at the same time support science content learning. We compared the outcomes for students who played the GPGs with those of students who engaged in free play with the same playground equipment but without any guides to their play. Results showed that GPG students persisted longer, engaged in significantly more scientific talk, and demonstrated greater knowledge gains compared to free play students. We discuss implications of the design principles and this study for future research and instructional design that leverages play and technology to support students' engagement and learning in science domains.

Paper 4

Interest in the Game Citizen Science
By: Matthew Gaydos and Amanda Barany

Although researchers have suggested that video games may help students develop interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics domains, few studies have investigated the relationship between the game's design, player interest and learning outcomes. This study presents pilot data of a survey instrument being developed to measure student interest related to the game Citizen Science. It investigates three topic areas presented in the game: lake ecology, civic participation, and educational video gaming. It is the first study in a series proposed to account for targeted interest development and its relationship to the design of the educational game. Implications for targeted interest development in an educational video game setting are discussed.

Building Locative Games with ARIS (cont.)

Presenter(s)Christopher Holden, Breanne Litts, David Gagnon, Seann Dikkers, and James Mathews
DescriptionARIS is an easy-to-use, open-source development platform that allows anyone to create locative mobile activities for formal and informal learning environments. Locative virtual tours, interactive cases, situated documentaries, or data collection activities can be authored in a browser-based drag-and-drop editor, then "played" on iOS devices. We expect that anyone interested in mobile learning, locative meaningful play, or designing narrative- or data collection-based activities will find this workshop relevant.

ARIS exemplifies how an open-source model can be used to cultivate, scale and sustain educational innovation at large. In addition to using open-source licensing, the ARIS project is built around an ethos of easy entry, collaboration and distributed participation. Because the ARIS platform is designed for non-programmers, it allows a wide-range of users to quickly and easily build their own mobile-based learning activities and experiments. The resulting community of users, which currently includes over 2,600 authors and 3,300 unique designs, continues to grow and cross-pollinate, especially as more domains and research perspectives are being represented. In addition to sparking the development of new ARIS features and functionality, this diverse user group has collaborated to develop new methods of enacting and researching mobile-based learning.

This hands-on workshop will focus on the use of ARIS for narrative- and data collection-based activities. During this session we will give a brief overview of the ARIS platform, then introduce participants to the basic features of ARIS by helping them build their own ARIS experiences. Our goal is that, in two hours, participants will build two activities in ARIS: a narrative-based activity and a data collection-based activity. As a result, participants will gain a foundational and practical understanding of how ARIS can be used to design and implement meaningful activities in a variety of contexts.

ARIS has been used in a variety of formal and informal learning environments and content areas, including science, folklore, art, second language, physical education and history. This platform has promise wherever place can play a meaningful role in learning, whether it be to produce curricula or as a design/prototyping tool for students. Therefore, we hope that participants will not only leave our workshop with a technical understanding of ARIS, but also with an inspiration to use ARIS to push the boundaries of learning through mobile locative activities.

Thursday, October 18, 4:00p-4:30p


Thursday, October 18, 4:30p-5:30p

Can Games Create Real World Champions?


Ann DeMarleAnn DeMarle directs Champlain College's Emergent Media Center and the Masters of Fine Arts in Emergent Media (EMC). Founder of the Game Development and the Multimedia undergraduate degrees, and upon the receipt of the Roger H. Perry Endowed Chair, she launched the EMC with a mission to bring Champlain students' media and technology expertise to businesses and non-profits looking to explore and create new solutions. Key projects include UN sponsored BREAKAWAY--a game to address violence against women, two RWJ funded games for Cystic Fibrosis patients, and a Ford Foundation sponsored game on wealth distribution.

DescriptionMastery, as defined in Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey", is a transformation resulting in freedom from the fear of death and to the freedom to live fully. As developers if we truly believe that games can be meaningful, how do we fearlessly take on significant challenges, build teams and partnerships, and apply game principles with the power to transform the lives of our players? The Emergent Media Center has been pursuing these questions by celebrating the ability of the 20-something mind to build games that address the wicked problems facing us. A prime example is BREAKAWAY sponsored by the United Nations that creates champions of its players with the life-freeing goal of ending violence against women and girls.

Thursday, October 18, 5:30p-7:00p

Dinner Break (on your own)

DescriptionDinner is not provided. Take this time to socialize with your fellow conference attendees while enjoying the many dining venues within the East Lansing and Lansing area.

Thursday, October 18, 7:00p-10:00p

Conference Reception, Game Exhibition, and Poster Session

LocationEast Lansing Technology Innovation Center
DescriptionCelebrate the end of the first successful day at Meaningful Play during the conference reception, featuring:
  • the latest research findings presented in the conference poster session
  • an exhibition of industry and academia created games
  • a great time to mix and mingle with your fellow conference attendees
Drinks and appetizers will be provided. This event takes place on the 2nd floor of the MSU Union.

The conference reception is sponsored by KIXEYE, AT&T, and The Learning Games Network.

Poster Presentations

Poster 1

Alternate Work Reality - Training High Speed Decision Making in Complex Organisations
By: Jelke van der Pal and Johan van der Beek

Certain team tasks require almost superhuman capabilities. They deal with live threatening situations that are, at least in part, unexpected and require several organisations to work together under very high stress levels, uncertainties, and media exposure. Examples of such situations are natural disasters, riots, hostage aircrafts, industrial fires, evacuations, and bomb alerts.

This poster presents an Alternate Work Reality game framework to improve non-technical team skills of information holders and decision makers in the wider emergency response organization. Demonstrations using mobile devices can be provided.

Alternate Work Reality games provides high-level decision making challenges in a variety of domains and may range from well-defined procedures to ill-defined no-win situations. The challenge is designed with minimum information to process and tasks to do. Basic technical tasks do not need to be performed. The task structure is rather abstract. Information to deal with may be as rich, delicate, or misleading as required to ensure the team's core decision is realistic. The Alternate Work Reality game allows the player to take decisions in situations that rarely occur in real life. Other decisions may be tried out while not having human lives at risk.

In this cooperative game concept, the rules are simple. When a virtual emergency occurs, an invited professional decides whether he or she wants to play. The game requires real time communication with other professionals from other organisations, with whom information needs to be exchanged and decisions need to be made that may alter the course of the game. Because the game plays in real time and communication and decision making do not require full attention at all times, the game allows the player to continue performing normal work activities as well. The professional may be in a meeting or writing a report. Such 'technical' tasks are distractions to the play to deal with and form a task load substitute for the many technical tasks you would normally have to perform during the decision process in its full work context. The professional may need to inform his or her colleagues about being engaged in an alternate work reality exercise.

Experiencing a core decision making process and its results under certain (distracting) work conditions is essential for building and improving (inter)team competencies such as communication, information management, decision making and shared mental models. Certain challenges, or less experienced players, may require support from an instructor during the game, which should become less in subsequent games (scaffolding principle), while other challenges or players may require a 'discovery learning principle'. After a game or a series of games played on one day, the instructor will organize a video conference to reflect on the team's actions. This is very important to ensure you have learned from your actions and the other players' actions. A discussion may be enlightening to understand each other's perspectives and needs. Further insight into the needs of the team members can be provided by cross training (role switching).

Poster 2

Bridging the gap between aging and gaming research: Considerations for understanding why and how gaming can be meaningful through the life course
By: Emily Fenster

Gaming has potential to serve as a social and leisure resource for individuals as they age. Options for play have become increasingly accessible and flexible on level of involvement; even more individuals are identifying as casual gamers (Juul, 2010). Player demographics are also shifting. One study stated the average player age as 30 and that 37% were over 36 (ESA, 2012). Other studies note larger percentages of players 30 or older (e.g., Griffiths, Davies, & Chappell, 2004; Williams, Yee, & Caplan, 2008). However, much of aging and gaming research has focused on physical or cognitive health and long-term care (e.g., Aarhus, Gronvall, Larsen, & Wollsen, 2011; Clark & Kraemer, 2009; Whitlock, McLaughlin, & Allaire, 2012), and less on benefits in other aspects. The goal of this discussion is to explore how other theoretical perspectives can aid aging and gaming research by addressing connection and meaning players associate with games, but also how gaming can be a social and leisure resource. Certain aging and social theories can aid in exploring why and how gaming can be meaningful for people as they age from a social and cultural standpoint. The life course perspective can aid in understanding how life experiences influence gaming habits, but also how evolving societal attitudes impact who plays. Also, the selective optimization with compensation model focuses on how various technologies and options may become resources for older adults, but also why these resources can benefit different facets of life (e.g., social, physical, cognitive). Further, social exchange theory, through its focus on evolving relationships, can aid by exploring why certain characteristics of games or communities feel inclusive or exclusive to aging individuals not necessarily targeted by the gaming industry. By utilizing these theoretical examples and others, we can begin to draw more attention to the potential for gaming to be a lifelong activity, how it can serve as resource in many life areas, and why it can be meaningful for any player regardless of age.

Poster 3

Children's use of new media for imaginative play, production, and storytelling
By: Sabrina Connell and Ariel Maschke

While research suggests that children's play and narrative are intertwined and overlapping practices, little research has examined both practices together (Nicolopoulou, 2006). Previous research suggests that carefully designed technology may be able to promote sophisticated forms of children's storytelling, while also promoting the development of imagination and providing a bridge to formal literacy (Cassell & Ryokai, 2001). Although new technologies provide opportunities for children to produce digital stories and films, little is actually known about children's play or narrative practices using new media. The current study examined the nature and extent of digital storytelling in a sample of young children who played the Toontastic iPad application and uploaded a video to the website. Forty animated cartoons and user profiles were randomly selected and examined for elements of character development and narrative structure, story themes, and differences in user play styles. Findings suggest that children using the app engaged in various forms of object play, dramatic play, and constructive play, with variations in styles and themes by user gender. Additionally, films revealed a range of narrative practices, including character development and narrative coherence. Findings suggest that examining films produced by children using Toontastic may allow researchers to map the developmental trajectory of children's narrative skills as well as the developmental trajectory of their imaginative play. Doing so can address gaps in the literature on narrative and play that have been constrained by previous research methodologies and may also provide insight into how such technologies may influence children's narrative and play practices.

Poster 4

Comparative Effectiveness of Three Forms of In-Game Advertising (environmental art, products, and NPCs)
By: Derek Demaiolo, Daniel Demaiolo, Adriel Roman, Sandrine Do and Carrie Heeter

This study compares unaided brand and product recall of three forms of in-game advertising (in-game environmental art, branded NPCs, and in-game items the player interacts with).

Grigorovici and Constantin (2004) compared in-game billboards and products and found that that brands presented on large billboards were more readily recalled than product placements integrated into the game environment. Conversely, Chaney, Lin and Chaney (2004) reported that gamers trying a first-person shooter remembered passing by branded billboards but did not recall the content or the product category.

A problem for advergaming that may interfere with the gamer's brand memory is the game itself. Yang et al. (2006) point out that players' attention is divided between interacting with the game and seeing the display. Constantine (2004) found higher levels of immersion interfered with player recall. However, Yang et al. (2006) reported that demonstrative placement (where players interact with the product) was more effective for explicit memory (recall) than illustrative (prominently featured) placement, which was more effective than associative (background) placement.

Parallel McDonald's branded and generic or imaginary brand versions of the original 2.5D fantasy world platformer game, Teddy Knight, were developed. Level 1 featured environmental art (billboards and posters, either from McDonald's or imaginary brands). Level 2 tasked players with collecting either McDonald's French fries or generic fries. Level 3 involved an NPC clown - either Ronald McDonald or a generic clown.

120 students at a large Midwest university were randomly divided into either control (generic) or experimental (branded) groups. The control group played three levels of the non-branded version of the game while the experimental group played the branded version. After each level, participants completed a survey that included two unaided recall questions ("do you remember seeing any products or advertisements in the level you just played" (YES/NO) and "please list all products or ads you remember seeing").

Environmental Art Results: 82% of branded players said yes, compared to 68% of generic players. This difference was not significant.

Although there was no difference between known and unknown brand recognition, in-game advertising can be considered highly effective. Well over half of players in both conditions noticed and unaided recalled the brand or product being advertised, after casual exposure to environmental art in one level of a video game.

NPC (clown) Results: 7% of generic level players recalled seeing products or ads, compared to 71% of branded players (t=7.607, df=72, p=.000).

The follow-up unaided recall question revealed that 22% of branded players wrote in Ronald McDonald, and 50% simply wrote in McDonalds.

Item (French fries) Results: 89% of branded players recalled seeing a product, compared to 35% of generic players (t=5.215, df=66, p=.000).

Branded players were significantly more likely to write in either McDonald's fries or simply McDonalds. 28% of generic level players wrote in that they saw "fries" whereas 75% of branded level players wrote in either "McDonald's fries" or simply "McDonalds" (chi2= 39.875, df=2, p=.000).
This study provides strong evidence to justify the use of all three forms of in-game advertising.

Poster 5

Composition Quest: Constructing the Technical Writing Classroom as a Game
By: Carly Finseth

Initiatives like the innovative Quest to Learn program ( and Sheldon's (2012) concept of The Multiplayer Classroom have led educators around the world to explore the validity of incorporating games and gaming theory into a formalized learning environment. Many of these projects, however, focus on K-12 age groups, with the implied assumption that learning through 'play' ends once we become adults. Once in higher education, gaming frequently becomes serious; students are often only allowed to learn through play as part of a computer science or gaming theory curriculum. One area in particular that has yet to explore the immersive, collaborative, and participatory power of games is the humanities - and English in particular. Thus, this poster outlines a study that aims to explore how to use gaming theory, higher education pedagogy, writing assessment, and usability methodologies to design, implement, and test a higher education writing classroom as a game.

This poster will showcase my in-progress dissertation research relating to games and higher education. Specifically, I am designing a study to turn higher education technical writing curriculum into a game. This research combines theory from gaming culture (Holmevik, 2012; Bogost 2011; Nardi 2010; Taylor, 2009), gaming and learning (Gee, 2007; Squire, 2011; Steinkuehler, Squire, & Barab (Eds.), 2012), and pedagogy (Collins & Halverson, 2009; Cook, 2002; Thomas & Brown, 2011; Corneli & Danoff, 2012) with practice from areas such as game design (Schell, 2008; McGonigal 2011; Sheldon, 2012), assessment (Angelo & Cross, 1993; Light et al 2012; Palloff & Pratt, 2009), and usability and user interface design (Johnson, 1998; Lidwell et al 2003; Unger & Chandler, 2012) in order to construct a study for designing and testing a game-based technical writing curriculum. This poster presentation will outline the methodology and design plan for this research, with the ultimate goal of receiving feedback on my preliminary work before beginning a formalized research study.

Poster 6

Designing Games about Distributive Justice
By: Thomas Fennewald

This poster describes a prototype game in which players must develop and explicate claims regarding distributive justice, i.e. the question of how a society and its citizens should allocate and share wealth. Despite being a central topic of political debate, few games challenge both fiscally conservative and fiscally liberal thinking and allow players to experiment with notions of distributive justice. Several design elements are essential for this kind of game. First, players must be able to engage in value development and normative discussion. Second, the game must afford players the opportunity to test ideas in resource management situations that provide a dynamic multiplayer environment with complex systemic features. Third, the game cannot lead players strictly into fully collaborative or competitive play. Accordingly, the design of the game prototypes builds on prior games that are neither fully collaborative nor fully competitive (Fennewald and Kievit-Kylar, 2012) and modifies these early designs to more precisely address the topic of distributive justice. To be precise, in the game players take on the role of a family in a community and must maintain a positive score to win. Any number of players can simultaneously win or lose in the game and players must decide how often to be cooperative by sharing with others. Early playtests indicate that players are often inconsistent with how often and under what conditions they share. This poster summarizes findings from playtests and explains how these three design elements are incorporated into the game. A prototype of the game will be showcased on site along with this poster.

Poster 7

Dropping Double Joysticks - Control and Navigation Schemes for Increased Accessibility
By: Eric Maslowski and Sean Petty

Some modern mobile games that go beyond a single mode of interaction still adopt control schemes that directly mirror console gaming controllers (ex. two joysticks and a few buttons). This makes sense on many levels (familiarity, proven utility, etc.), however, is it the best method of control for mobile platforms? What if your target audience has reduced mobility in their hands? This poster focuses on lessons learned while developing alternative control schemes for an action adventure game targeted at those with Spinal Cord Injuries.

First, the poster will include a collection of common limitations the target demographic exhibits. Such limitations include, but are not limited to: reduced response time, reduced accuracy, limited use of the full screen, spasms, knuckle drag, etc. The poster will continue by describing control schemes developed to address these limitations, how individuals with reduced hand function responded to them, and the pros/cons of each. Such control schemes will include: the traditional point-and-go model, a virtual trackball control scheme, and novel wheelchair inspired "tank" controls. Ideally, the three control schemes will be available for play testing on the iOS devices for participants. (time permitting)

Poster 8

Exploring Meaningful Applications of Games: Games and Game Design as Path Leading Girls to STEM
By: Laura Minnigerode

Middle school aged girls from economically disadvantaged and language learner backgrounds are often disengaged from STEM learning, and women are entering STEM careers in surprisingly low numbers, in comparison with the need for workers in this field. This poster presentation, which represents the first part of a longitudinal examination, presents a case study of two sixth grade girls who worked together to design and code an educational social impact video game. They chose the issue of drop out prevention because both girls have a cousin who dropped out of high school pregnant. The theoretical basis for the study is two-fold: we draw upon the work of recent STEM researchers (i.e. Modi and Schoenberg, 2012, GSRI, 2008) who have found that girls 'want to make a difference in the world', and examine how this perspective interacts with the experience of self-efficacy with STEM skills while engaging in the game design process (Bandura, 1977). Is the girls' engagement connected to their aspiration to help make change? How does their mastery experience relate to the development of their career aspirations over time, if at all? (Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994) The researcher observed the game design classroom of the middle school the girls attend throughout the year, conducted interviews with the girls, and analyzed the students' written reflections. A transcription of the team interview with the students provides particularly clear insight into the girls' experience and perspective on changing the world. The poster will include screens from the students' game to illustrate their perspective. The case study finds a potential connection between the students' desire to make a difference, engagement in the social issue game process, and development of efficacy. The implications for social impact game design as support for STEM career paths are discussed. This case study was conducted in parallel with a quantitative analysis of self-efficacy ratings for all students in the program (N = 189, 98 F, 91 M ). The findings include high levels of engagement and efficacy among the case study students and among girls and language learner students. A longitudinal study will examine subjects' self-efficacy and career goals over time in the course.

Poster 9

Fibber: A Game to Prompt Self-Reflection on Biases Towards Truthfulness
By: Ralph Vacca

Shifts in technology and policies such as Citizens United vs. FEC, increasingly highlight the importance of civic engagement and how we interpret information (i.e., biases). Self-reflection is an essential practice in shifting attitudes and behaviors, yet the use of specific game designs to prompt such self-reflection on biases is still nascent.

In Fibber - a 2012 Nominee for a Games for Change award - players decide whether statements made by presidential candidates are mostly factual or not and at the end receive an analysis of their decision-making. Content was sourced from

Poster 10

Gaming and Programming Affinities in a Modding Community
By: Shree Durga

In this paper, I use JP Gee (2004)'s notion of affinity spaces to theorize the typology of divergent game modder identities. Studying varying routes for participation in modding observed within Civfanatics -- an online Civilization based fan modding site, I investigate players' motivations to mod and thus, how they learn to mod. In this paper, I present a typology of varying modding inclinations as observed within an online modding community.

Poster 11

On the periphery of video game culture: Understanding Urban Latino gamers' experiences.
By: Gabriela Richard

There is increasing interest in understanding gamers and their experiences across culture and gender. However, relatively little is known about the experiences of Latino gamers. This poster will present case studies of 5 Latino gamers (3 male, 2 female) from a large, northeastern city. Through an extensive ethnography and interviews, these Latino gamers revealed the ways in which they are active consumers of games, but yet peripheral members of game culture. The poster will discuss issues of identity, agency and motivation to play, as well as levels of engagement and access within game culture. Specifically, the poster will discuss experiences of racism, sexism and homophobia, and the ways those experiences influence and shape their gaming participation and agency. Tensions will be discussed such as the desire for gender inclusion and recognition of sexism and misogyny as problematic, while simultaneously adopting homophobic gaming lexicon. Also, while popular belief tends to assume that Latino females are not encouraged or motivated to play video games, two case studies will challenge these assumptions and discuss the complexity of their participation. In particular, the two females discuss how video game playing was an encouraged and intergenerational family pastime. The poster will also discuss implications for increasing the agency of Latino gamers, as well as encourage cultural and gender-inclusive design.

Poster 12

Overtly and Stealthily Measuring the Impact of Game Design Elements on the Affective Dimensions of Learning
By: Ruth Diones, Ifeoma Chika Iyioke, Spyros Konstantopoulos and David Kanter

This project is investigating the impact of adding gaming elements to a technology-delivered Project Based Science (PBS) genetics curriculum on affective dimensions of learning science. Four interventions are being structured according to varying degrees of gaming. Intervention 1 is a web-delivered PBS curriculum; intervention 2 adds the gaming element of narrative to the curriculum; intervention 3 adds both narrative and the gaming element of competition; and intervention 4 adds narrative, competition, and the final gaming element of community. In turn, the outcomes of motivation, engagement and affect are being measured. Since measurement in itself changes what is being observed, both overt (survey-based) and stealthy (computer-captured) methods will be used, and outcomes compared. This poster will portray the processes being used in this study to develop overt and stealth instruments within a gaming context.

Poster 13

ParabolaX: Learner Engagement with Serious Games
By: Kevin Formsma, Alejandro Montoya, Jonathan Engelsma, Charlene Beckmann and John Golden

Video games continue to be a growing and vibrant industry. With the popularity of mobile devices, casual games such as Angry Birds are reaching out to an ever growing audience. These games have an unprecedented ability to persuade their players to overcome gameplay challenges. Many researchers argue that playing games is inherently a learning experience for the players [1] [2] [3]. Some have claimed that games make their players "better people" [4]. In the classroom learners are much different today than just 10 years ago. Digital devices - mobile phones, tablets, computers and game consoles - are providing fundamentally different experiences during a child's development than in past generations. As educators struggle to motivate their learners, games provide a great opportunity to enrich the education curriculum. ParabolaX is a Serious Game designed to teach principles of quadratic function concepts to high school mathematics learners [5]. Preliminary results with ParabolaX showed that 95% of learners either agree or strongly agree that the game helped them understand quadratic functions. Learners also found the game to be enjoyable and interesting. Many learners indicated they would be interested in using Serious Games in the class room [5]. However, researchers have criticized that engagement isn't driven by the Serious Game content but rather by the new and unique experience of using a game in the classroom [6] [7]. To address and investigate these concerns three distinct versions of ParabolaX are be developed with growing inclusion of gamification techniques and features. The basic version will feature limited scoring and graphics. The more advanced version will include dynamic feedback and high scoreboards. Student engagement will be measured and compared between these three game versions. Engagement will evaluated using measures recorded in game, such as time spent playing and number of attempts per level, in addition to a self-assessment survey. Hopefully the results of this forthcoming study will help resolve some criticism of the use of games in the classroom.

Poster 14

Quandary: Building Capability in Ethical Decision Making
By: Scot Osterweil, Marina Bers and Peter Stidwill

Children, particularly middle-schoolers, need opportunities to engage with ethical issues and develop skills to deal with them. These skills, including perspective-taking and ethical decision-making, will better prepare players when they encounter difficult issues in their day-to-day lives.

The Learning Games Network, with funding from a private family foundation, is working with experts from Tufts University to create Quandary, a free game that addresses these challenges. The goal of the game is to provide players with foundational skills in age-appropriate ethical thinking. Players are encouraged to recognize ethical issues and better understand conflicting values, helping empower them to act ethically in their own lives. Quandary reflects real-world issues where there is no easy answer.

Leveraging a graphic novel style that invokes a world where preindustrial technology meets fantastical science fiction, players aged 8-14 shape the future of a new society as they lead a human settlement on recently colonized Planet Braxos. Players face a series of age-appropriate moral dilemmas, negotiate differences of opinion within the colony, and apply logical thinking to recommend appropriate solutions. Quandary provides a framework for how to approach ethical decision-making; it doesn't tell players what to think. The game is designed to spark discussions, supported by supplementary material both in and out of the classroom.

This poster will explore the design challenges, solutions and early test results for the game, which will have launched in late August. For example, how do you create a playful space where learners can investigate how a complex community with different perspectives reacts to dilemmas in their world? How do you inspire and facilitate reflection on ethical decision-making? And how successful has Quandary been so far in achieving these goals?

Poster 15

Serious Science Made Fun, Seriously: Finding a Sustainable Model for Serious Game Development
By: Jared Jackson, Casey O'Donnell, David Ducrest, Stephen Borden and Tom Robertson

IS3D (Interactive Science in 3D) was formed out of a NIH research grant at the University of Georgia with the goal of commercializing case studies. IS3D's production model contains three core tools: game mechanics, art, and science. We vary the intensity of and dependency on these tools to develop five product categories: games, science games, case studies, interactive manuals, and iBooks. Each category describes a separate degree of interactivity and combination of core tools. Games represent that highest interactivity, but science concepts only inspire the game mechanic. iBooks are the least interactive, but strictly address science concepts as completely and accurately as possible.

Poster 16

Sweet Harvest: An Exergame for Increasing Flexibility and Warming Up for Intense Exercise
By: Maybellin Burgos, Mykel Pendergrass, Andrea Nickel, Jamie Payton and Tiffany Barnes

In recent years, there have been significant increases in cases of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and numerous other health problems among the population of the United States. Research has shown that regular physical activity can serve as a preventative measure to address many of these health issues; however, most Americans still fall far short of the recommended amount of physical activity. Exercise games, or exergames, are a promising approach to motivate people to exercise; such games have the potential to be more engaging and entertaining than traditional exercise activities.

We have developed an exergame prototype, called Sweet Harvest, a Kinect-based game which aims to help people to increase flexibility and to warm up for a more intense exercise session; these activities are often ignored, which can potentially lead to injury. In order to immerse the user and to encourage repeated game play, Sweet Harvest incorporates a storyline in which the user must collect falling fruits and place them in a basket; in attempting to catch the fruit, the player performs dynamic and active stretching of the arms and legs. To keep the user engaged and to facilitate an effective stretch and warm-up routine, Sweet Harvest dynamically adapts the difficulty of the game, making it more or less challenging in response to the player's performance. A prototype is available for play, and a user study is planned. To evaluate the effectiveness of the game for increasing flexibility and as a warm-up, we will compare the results of standard flexibility tests and the heart rate of players before and after playing the game; we expect to see a measurable change between the beginning and final flexibility tests and an elevation in heart rate.

Poster 17

Teaching Building Science with Serious Games
By: Sean Huberty

There has recently been a great deal of attention directed at creating indoor environments that are both comfortable and healthy for occupants while also meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines. An example of this is the United States Green Building Council's LEED accreditation program for energy practitioners. While there are numerous training programs available, there are relatively few programs that are academic in nature. Compared to the educational resources available for longstanding subjects such as mathematics or electrical technology, the sub-field of Energy Efficiency Studies in Building Science is limited. One of the challenges of creating such curricula is the need for hands on experience inside buildings without the real danger of making the indoor environment unsafe.

In this study, a simulation of an energy related problem common to buildings was produced using Serious Game Design principles. Twelve students participated in the study, playing the game for 30 minutes and taking a 10 question survey upon completion. The purpose of the study was to qualitatively assess whether or not students studying energy efficiency topics found this delivery method effective and preferable compared to using textbooks and lectures. The initial findings show that students prefer the game to some degree, but are not comfortable with giving up books and lectures entirely.

Poster 18

Using Multiple Design Approaches towards Meaningful Games
By: Michael Lee, Felix Park and Daniel Lin

How can one design for a meaningful game, a game that provokes introspection, reflection and poignancy through its use of gameplay mechanics. Over 15 weeks, we explored different approaches for developing meaningful games through rapid prototyping. We wanted to see how starting with different approaches would alter the development of meaningful game mechanics. These approaches included developing collaboratively versus developing individually, developing a meaningful system of play versus developing a meaningful moment, and developing games around different messages and themes.

There is no "right" way to develop for a meaningful game, but we hope these differing methods can provide some insight to developers who also want to create a meaningful experience for players. Developing games with a single creator or designer for instance tended to result in more personal games (like the experience of leaving someone) while developing in a group resulted in games with broader messages and ideas (relationships are hard to maintain over time). Developing a game around a system usually created an environment where the player must first learn how the game works in order to arrive at the meaning while developing the game around a moment lets the player arrive at the meaning in a more prescribed narrative environment. Developing games with different messages and themes also resulted in different kinds of gameplay mechanics. Creating a game around the need to work cooperatively lends itself to a multiplayer experience while trying to convey an introspective message can result in a level-based puzzle game. In this poster through specific examples we hope to detail each approach and its variations and provide insight to developers on how each approach affected the development of meaning and mechanics.

Poster 19

Washboard: An Effective Anaerobic Exercise Game
By: Nathaniel Blanchard and Brian Thomas

To date, researchers have focused on the intensity of exercise games (exergames) using aerobic workouts. It is important to balance workout programs with anaerobic exercises. Unfortunately, no research has investigated the effectiveness of exergames focusing on anaerobic workouts. Therefore, we created Washboard. The purpose of Washboard is to perform sit-ups in order to pop balloons. Although our study is currently in progress, preliminary results suggest players are getting a hard or heavy workout.

Exhibited Digital Games

Game 1

A Closed World (student-created game)
By: Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, Todd Harper

Have you ever been so frustrated, so fed up with where you are, that you just want to throw it all away and run off to somewhere new? In A Closed World you play as a young person who has decided to do exactly that. This console RPG-like game puts you in the shoes of a young resident of a village just outside a forest that everyone says is a place of no return. Supposedly home to hungering demons and a beast that would destroy the village, the forest is forbidden and nobody knows what's on the other side. However, our hero's beloved -- tired of the oppressive attitude of the villagers -- decided to go there, as anywhere would be better than home. Now it's your turn to follow after. Are you willing to risk everything to find out what's on the other side?

Research Statement - A Closed World was created to be a digital game that deals with queer issues, something that's very uncommon in games right now. Game designers and marketing professionals alike have cited a number of reasons for this, ranging from a perception of institutional homophobia in game culture to a genuine desire on the part of game designers to

Game 2

Arithmetects (student-created game)
By: Ryan Silvera, William Moore, Noel Lines

Children sometimes have a hard time with mathematical operations and learning how they are all related, and sometimes, just reading their textbook over and over again just isn't enough. So what if they could learn multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction all at the same time. Yes, it is true this would be overwhelming on worksheets, but what if I told you they would be playing a game instead? In today's games, making the player multitask is the key to keeping the player's attention, and though multitasking is difficult, if a person is having fun, it simplifies the process. Arithmetects takes this philosophy and puts it into action. We keep the player consistently immersed in the gaming environment from start to finish. This keeps them actively doing mathematical operations, and when the game is finished, we take all the operations they did correctly and incorrectly and store these in a study guide format for the player to use later to better ready themselves for homework, a test, or just another game.

Game 3

Behold the Fold
By: 360KID

Behold the Fold is a mental paper folding exercise. You are presented with a "paper" layout of a flattened cube. This layout can be folded into a six sided cube. On different faces of the cube are three colored dots and an arrow. The goal of the game is to fold the cube in your mind to determine which dot the arrow is pointing to, either the red, blue, or green dot. Then select the correct button to answer.

For researchers who are interested in the thinking behind this app, the idea was inspired by the work of Shepard & Feng (1972) and devolved with the help of a modified mental paper folding exercise developed by Brannon & Lorr in a research paper by Greenfield, Brannon & Lorr (1994). This app uses 11 nets without reflections and all "roll ups" have been removed. Unlike the Brannon & Lorr exercise, all questions asked have a solution that is either red, blue, or green, with non-match solutions removed. The complete "deck" of unfolded cube layouts consists of 72 visual examples, which upon completion randomizes itself with a fresh deck of 72 examples. Each display of a flattened layout can appear rotated on screen in one of four different orientations; 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees. This exercise was developed to have no end.

Game 4

Big Huggin' - An Affection Game
By: Lindsay Grace

Today the world of human computer interaction is an impersonal one. It is one where touch is mediated through glass and plastic. Where multi-touch means hands mediated through sleek materials with little texture. Why isn't touch more personal? Why isn't touch more tactile? Big Huggin' is a game designed for use with a custom teddy bear controller. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs to a 30 inch teddy bear. It is an experiment and gesture in alternative interface. Instead of firing toy guns at countless enemies or revving the engines of countless gas guzzling virtual cars, why not give a hug? This project is one of nine games in the Critical Gameplay project available at

Game 5

Blowing Blues (student-created game)
By: Xuan Li

A message ring carrying colors representing various emotions encounters a "brain world." The message transfers its colors onto the brain world. The two objects merge, becoming an "emotion egg."

The egg permeates into the mind and suddenly, hundreds more emotion eggs fade into view, each one giving birth to three to five "errorbugs". These errorbugs attack the brain's green cells, causing those healthy cells to first turn blue, the color of sadness, then purple, the color of sickness, and finally, brown, the color of withering away. The player fights to save the mind by breathing in and blowing away the eggs. Through this experience, the player will internalize a positive suggestion: "Never allow bad moods to destroy your mind".

Blowing Blues is an artistically crafted health game currently in development that explores improving player's resilience in the face of life's stresses and worries. It helps players get rid of stressful thoughts and recognize that chronic, lingering stress eventually destroys their minds.

In the game's three-dimensional representation of the human brain, negative emotions and stress are visualized as various colors inside "error eggs" residing in the mind. These error eggs produce destructive "errorbug" objects that swim around destroying brain cells.

The player's mission is to restore healthy brain cells by blowing out of the mind these error objects. To do this, players breath in and out through a computer microphone interface. The game processes the audio volume from the microphone, using that to modulate the strength of the virtual "gust of wind." By using breathing as a core mechanic, the game explores gentle embodied interaction and its inherent therapeutic potential. The game encourages the player to find her own feel for the breathing to find relief and melt away stress.

Blowing Blues uses the power of suggestion for therapy. In future versions, the player can input his or her internal enemies into the game. This allows one to associate personal enemies and fears with error bug objects to be blown away. Play becomes personalized treatment.

Game 6

Broncoland Game
By: Kevin Abbott, Jesse Thompson, Austin Godfrey, Spencer Hoin, Jeremy Lwande, and Michael Ford

The Broncoland Game is a video game designed to help prepare students to be successful at Western Michigan University. Built entirely in-house by a team of WMU students and staff, Broncoland takes place on a 3D version of the WMU campus, and players will assume the role of a new student at the university. As they play through a virtual semester, players must attend classes, complete homework, explore campus and participate in social, spirit and wellness events. Players can join extracurricular organizations and can advance their standing in them by attending more sessions. Players will learn about campus resources by completing missions and helping friends solve problems which arise over the course of a semester. Making friends and advancing friendships, in turn, boost a player's social level, and allow friends to assist with homework assignments and increase scoring at social events. Each player's final score is based on the resume they build over the course of the semester. Like the Broncoland Tour released in 2011 (, the Broncoland Game is built using the Unity game engine, allowing it to be experienced via a Mac or Windows downloadable game, or in a web browser.

Game 7

Build The Railroad
By: Adventure Club Games, PS Technologies

Build The Railroad puts you in the shoes of a rail worker during the summer of 1866. Utilizing the Microsoft Kinect players are able to lay down ties, rails, and drive a spike.

Game 8

Building Energy Audit and Simulation Training (student-created game)
By: Sean Huberty

This game is intended to introduce students studying energy management to systems thinking concepts related to building (commercial and residential) design. Later levels give students a chance to practice the BPI practical exam in a first person format.

Game 9

By: Jeremy Gibson

Coalesce has a simple mechanic: use your finger on an iPad to draw curving lines through floating objects of the same color and then release, causing them to coalesce into a larger object; if you include an object of a different color in the line, it will prevent the others from coalescing and break already-coalesced larger objects down to their original components. However, from this single mechanic, several different games and gameplay feels can be created.

Coalesce is currently in development, and the plan is to release it in the fourth quarter of this year. In the existing version of the game, you can play a tutorial experience which explores the basic mechanics, several levels of the meditation experience, the more-intense scored mode, and the challenging obstacles mode. You can also see a single round which shows the new look that we've been examining for the game.

In testing, we've found that the game is compelling to most audiences, especially teens and casual female players. We showed the game at the E3 IndieCade showcase and received very positive feedback from about 85-90% of people who tried the game.

In terms of design, the game is interesting for a couple reasons. As mentioned above, it is a fun exploration of the potential of a single, simple game mechanic. It's also a great example of a game which works well as a collaboration between several co-located players. Additionally, we learned a lot through testing about subtle tweaks that can be done to make the behavior of the game better match the expectations of the player.

One example of these tweaks is the "stickiness" of the line drawn by the player. In early playtesting, we found that players sometimes would start a line by drawing through a blue object, but by the time they connected the line to a second blue object, the first would have moved out of the tail of the line. When the player lifter his finger from the screen, the two objects would not coalesce because the first was no longer touching the line. This broke the player's expectation and caused frustration with the game. To fix this, we changed the game to cause objects to stick to the line (i.e. drop to 10% of their normal speed) if the player actually touches them with her finger (if an object simply passes into the line, it continues at the original pace). Though, as a designer, this change is very obvious to me, I have never once had a player notice it before I pointed it out to them; all they noticed was that they game felt better.

Game 10

DNA Roulette
By: Carrie Heeter, J.D. Yaske, D. Barry Starr

DNA Roulette is a learning game, a current issues game, and a health game. Developed by game designers in the Michigan State University GEL Lab in collaboration with geneticists at Stanford University, DNA Roulette will be featured on the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation's web site, Understanding Genetics, beginning in September, 2012.

A Learning game

DNA Roulette takes a procedural rather than narrative approach to familiarizing players with the probabilistic nature of genomics. According to game theorist Ian Bogost, good games simulate how things work, an approach he calls "procedural rhetoric." They do so by constructing models that people can interact with.

In addition to specific details about diseases and traits, players to learn:

- genes are not destiny; knowing someone's genotype can improve the accuracy of predicting whether they will have certain traits or diseases, but rarely points to a certain outcome.

- most disease conditions and traits do not have a simple clear cut genetic cause

- environmental factors often play a larger role than genes in predicting traits and conditions.

A Current Issues game

- The FDA is considering restricting the public's right to see their own genome based on personal genetics testing without a doctor's prescription.

- Policy makers, health care professionals, and citizens have expressed concerns about potential negative impacts of direct to consumer DNA testing. Some concerns are justified, but many reflect an implicit "genes as destiny" misconception, an overestimation of what DTC genetic testing actually reveals. In fact, few diseases or conditions have solely genetic roots; most are the result of a complex interplay of multiple genes and an individual's environment.

- DNA Roulette contributes to this public dialog by demystifying what knowingone's own genome would and would not reveal.

- Additional traits and diseases will be added to future versions.

A Health game

- The game could help genetics counselors explain genetic testing to clients who need to understand their genetic test results. Medical school students, biology students, and the general public can play and learn.

- DNA Roulette conveys an intuitive sense of how genes and the environment together define risk.

- Unlike traditional roulette where the betting table and odds are always the same, the DNA Roulette game board is different for each disease or trait. Even within a disease, the odds are different depending on which of several possible genotypes is randomly selected by the game engine for that round.

Game 11

Don't Kill the Cow (student-created game)
By: James Earl Cox III

A simple sidescrolling critical game that questions the importance of goals and authority in games. There is only one way to win the game: 'don't kill the cow', but is winning the game worth letting your sister starve? How much do the simple phrases like 'you win' and 'you lose' mean to the player?

Game 12

Dust Tales: In the Hall of the Mouse King (student-created game)
By: Daniel DeMaiolo, Derek DeMaiolo, Kristina Cunningham, Hyun-Woo Lee

Dust Tales: In the Hall of the Mouse King is an action-adventure puzzle platformer game that puts the player in the shoes of a dust bunny named Dustin as he rolls, jumps, grows, and shrinks through the downstairs of a hero's castle. Unfortunately, the nefarious Mouse King has made his dwelling here and kidnapped the princess of the dust bunnies and her loyal subjects. With the princess missing and the dust bunnies without any heir to the throne, Dustin must embark on an epic journey throughout the kingdom (aka basement) and face the many traps and perils of the Mouse King; however, he can't do it alone. Dustin must find his missing friends and, once rescued, he can combine with them and manipulate his size in order to move obstacles, get to hard to reach places, and overcome the Mouse King's traps (even the metaphorical kitchen sink). Under the guidance of the mysterious Confucius Bunny, Dustin must figure out how to access and travel to six different parts of the basement (Nail City, Windy Way, Mt. Inferno, Frosty Freezer, Tidal Tube, and finally the dreaded Hall of the Mouse King for an epic showdown), free his friends, rescue the princess, and stop the Mouse King from his reign of fear once and for all.

Game 13

Fair Play
By: Dennis Paiz-Ramirez, Sarah Chu, Belinda Gutierrez, Clem Samson-Samuel, John Karczewski, Adam Wiens, Justin Smith, Sterling Pempe, Kurt Squire, Molly Carnes

As renowned science professor Dr. Jamal Davis, you are transported to the memory of your graduate school days as a young African American doctoral student who experiences bias on your way to landing your current position. In your journey, you meet peers and mentors who can propel you to achieve your dream, but some people may not be as they seem. Conquer objectives, explore your surroundings, build your network, and play fun mini-games as you dig for information to prove your full research potential.

Fair Play is a game designed by ERIA Interactive at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the National Institutes of Health* to reduce implicit biases (i.e., unconscious assumptions that arise from group stereotypes) against underrepresented individuals in academic science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). The game is designed to raise awareness about the nature of implicit bias and to promote attitudinal change around diversity issues among STEMM graduate students and faculty.

* This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Director's Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, grant number DP4-GM096822-01.

Game 14

By: Una Lee, Benjamin Rivers, Adam Brandejs, Ivor Stines, the Food Security Knowledge Initiative Working Group

Food Quest raises awareness about the complex connections between food security, chronic disease, and poverty. Players are asked to choose from one of five characters who face different barriers to affordable, nutritious food. The game is nearly impossible to win the first time through, but after this, players can choose to implement a change to physical or economic access in order to make the game more winnable. It will be used in a facilitated, community-based context to promote conversations about how food security can be improved locally.

Game 15

Ford Driving Skills for Life
By: Brian Winn, William Jeffery, Justin Girard, Benjamin Diefenbach, Eric Musser, David Ward, Benjamin Szymczak, Evan Cox, Daniel Sosnowski

Driving Skills for Life (working title) is a modern web-based three-dimensional game that provides players with real-world skills that will help them become better drivers on the road. The game is based on the live hands-on driving training events conducted by the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. However, unlike the hands-on program, which is only available to a select few students, the web-based game will be accessible by millions of young drivers around the world. Further, given the safety of the game environment, the game is able to put players in situations, such as distracted driving in traffic, that is not possible in the hands-on training program.

The game supplements the existing learning materials available on the Driving Skills for Life website. The game provides an interactive and entertaining experience that will create additional draw to the website, engage young drivers in safe driving practices, and teach young drivers new driving skills.

Game 16

GeoDrop (student-created game)
By: Daniel DeMaiolo, Sean Nagler, William Jeffery, Mike Prainito

GeoDrop is a physics based casual / puzzle game influenced by games like Tetris, Jenga and Boom-Blox. Players use the mouse to control pieces that fall from the sky, placing them carefully to build a sturdy tower. As the water rises from below, players must carefully build their tower while tossing away bombs that fall from above.

Game 17

Grumpy Snowmen (student-created game)
By: Brian Winn, Kristina Cunningham, William Jeffery, Jon Moore, Eric Musser, Dan Sosnowski

In Grumpy Snowmen, rival big ten schools have setup snowforts across MSU campus, populating them with grumpy snowmen. The player controls Sparty in an effort to remove the grumpy snowmen in a whimsical fashion. The game parodies the now classic artillery-style gameplay featured in games like Angry Birds.

Grumpy Snowmen was a game created for the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. While the primary goal of the game is to provide entertainment, the game also served as a subtle way to promote the college, its mission, and its fundraising goals.

The Holiday Edition was made as a 2011 holiday game for alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. Due to the popularity of the game, in January 2012 we created 16 additional levels for a total of twenty. The new levels were developed in response to player requests for additional campus locations and game challenges. The twenty level package represents the Grumpy Snowmen Deluxe Edition.

Game 18

Jump Rope (student-created game)
By: Jonathan Hyde, Becky Moore, Scott Raymond, Evan Frederick, Zane Norman, Devin Smith, Tianyi Liu

Jump Rope is a game designed by students at the University of Michigan that was aimed at treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Jump Rope uses the Microsoft Kinect input peripheral so players can use their bodies as controllers.

During gameplay, players physically jump to avoid a swinging rope on screen. Players earn points for each successful jump, and can earn additional points by collecting power-ups & coins by waving their arms or legs while jumping.

In 2-player mode, players earn additional points by working together. If both players make a successful jump on the same swing, they earn an additional bonus point. This rewards players that cooperate and aims to promote social interaction between players.

A random "storm" event creates flashing lights and disturbing sounds to distract players. Dealing with bright lights and ambient noise distractions is a common problem among Autism patients.

The game is fully customizable. Power-ups and distractions can be turned off if necessary.

The game supports up to 2 players and contains 4 different game modes.

Game 19

Miami Mobile Mini Golf
By: Lindsay Grace

"The Miami Mini Golf game was the inaugural game design project for the Persuasive Play Lab at Miami University ( The lab is co-funded by Procter and Gamble and the Armstrong Institute. The game studio and research lab designs and evaluates persuasive play games, including advergames and social impact games. It is a rare organization paring students with real-world business clients in a hybrid professional-academic environment. It is supported by the Miami University digital innovation center in San Francisco ( The Miami Mini Golf game allows players to play a round of miniature golf on campus as a tour of the different campus buildings. The internal client, Miami University is a public university of 18000 students offering strong academic programs in a variety of undergraduate disciplines. U.S. News & World Report ranked Miami 3rd among the nation's top universities for its commitment to undergraduate teaching."

Game 20

Morgan's Raid (student-created game)
By: Paul Gestwicki, Ronald Morris, Trent Ferry, Caitlyn Rickey, David Rickey, Joshua Hurst, Michael Smith, Holden Hill, Dennis Stepp, Sam McClure, Ryan Thompson, Phillip Parli-Horne, Justin Baechle, Gary Borton, Chad Cahill, Sean Cahill, Alex Clary, Andrew Depersio, Nicholas Dunning, Nathan Fisher, Christopher Fivecoate, Travis Glover, Gunnar Hoffman, Mark Inman, Brandon Jones, Joshua Lee, Greg Loxley, Thomas Mast, Robert Moran, Ronald Morris, Grace Perdew, Jeffrey Riggle, Daniel Roberts, Zhiwen Shen, Jonathan Strong, Austin Toombs

Morgan's Raid is an educational game that teaches about Indiana's Civil War history. The game is designed for use in the fourth grade classroom.

Game 21

Movers and Shakers (student-created game)
By: Konstantin Mitgutsch, Sara Verrilli, Patrick Rodriguez (Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab)

"Movers and Shakers" is a two-player tablet serious game created by the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab in the summer of 2012. The game aims at offering two players an abstract and engaging playful environment that simulates conflicts in work environments. The game takes place in the middle of the earth where both players are in charge of managing workers who are "turning" the world. For player 1 the workers appear to be unnamed sources of production that need to be productive to increase the temperature of the machine running the world. The player hires and fires workers and tries to make them in relation to their skills as productive as possible. What seems like an easy task is hindered by player 2 whose goal is in opposition to player 1 and focuses on the workers subjectivity, emotions and communication structure. Player 2 - in the role of their adviser - changes the workers positions and cares about how their "natures" fit to each other. Her/His goal is to maintain the workers interaction and to reach their sympathy which is expressed through awards,

Both players manage the same workers and share the recourse for actions called "lava" - but their aims are in conflict and their perspectives are in opposition. Who is managing the workers better and is more success? But the game has a twist... if the players do not start to let go of their egoistic goals and cooperate throughout the game, the worlds movement gets out of balance and the planet is in danger. Thereby a meaningful conflict between two colliding perspectives on the workers is fostered. In "Movers and Shakers" the interaction between the players reaches beyond the players tablet screens...

Game 22

MSU Green League (student-created game)
By: Derek DeMaiolo, Daniel DeMaiolo, Kristy Cunningham, and Bryan Novak

Created for 500 MSU Environmental Stewards, MSU Green League is a hybrid between a fantasy sports league competition and a social location-based mobile platform such as SCVNGR or foursquare. Each week, teams go head to head competing for their league crown and the ultimate prize - a sustainable, greener tomorrow! Using social norming, competitive gameplay, and gamification to promote sustainability among MSU Environmental Stewards, MSU Green League exists for five reasons: to challenge and introduce new sustainable behaviors, to help Stewards track and monitor progress of sustainable behaviors, introduce a component of critical thinking, promote Environmental Stewardship in everyday decision-making, and provide a sense of team-building and community.

With over 100 behavioral-based challenges and fierce competitive spirit, the gamification experience finds a fun and creative way to making the world a better place. From recycling unwanted pop cans to creating a central supply closet, the game's core mechanics were derived from a recommended list of sustainable behaviors from the Office of Campus Sustainability at Michigan State University which makes up the backbone of the gameplay system. The development team, a team of four graduate students at Michigan State University, added two bonus goals: customization and scalability. Although the game is intended for Michigan State, this level of flexibility allows the game to grow or expand infinitely depending on the needs of the Administrators.

If you are a MSU Environmental Steward, get in the game today and GO GREEN in the MSU Green League!

Game 23

Museum Assistant: Design an Exhibit (student-created game)
By: Diane Berg, Lauren Buroker, Travis Cawthorn, Chris Dibble II, Lyle Franklin, Paul Gestwicki, Josh Hurst, Caitlyn Rickey, David Rickey, Jacque Schrag, Ashley Swartz, Ryan Thompson, Nick Walters

The game introduces players to the behind-the-scenes workings of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis by showing them how artifacts are chosen to create exhibits. The player is a volunteer at the Museum, and has been asked by the Exhibition Manager to help her create four different, digital exhibits. The player has the ability to explore the various storerooms in the Museum and take pictures of the artifacts in the American Collection and the World Culture Collections. The pictures of the artifacts have additional information about them, such as where they are from, where they were created, and what type of object the artifact is. By matching and comparing this information, the player must successfully create exhibits that meet the curators' specifications.

Game 24
By: Marjorie A. Zielke, Ph.D., Judy LeFlore, Ph.D, R.N., NNP-BC, CPNP-PC&AC is a training simulation platform for neonatal nurse practitioner students using a Situational Learning Management System (SLMS). Game-based learning environments provide new options for learners and instructors and many DOD-related instructional designers are interested in incorporating video games and blended learning into curricula. A well-designed, web-based SLMS allows for increased distribution of learning assets and capabilities as well as architectural agility - using loosely coupled, exchangeable components, avoiding stovepipe solutions with limited functionality. However, not many platforms deliver blended learning assets in a holistic manner or provide the opportunity to study how the learning assets work together with games. Opportunities exist to study how students respond to different types of interactive media vehicles and which ones are most effective for different learning styles and topics. Studying student response to digital learning vehicles will provide refinement of technologies to enrich teaching, learning and instructional development. The SLMS we have developed lays the foundation for addressing these issues in a game-based environment. While the topic of this particular development is neonatal nurse practitioner training, the SLMS can be used for a variety of curriculum topic sets.

Game 25

Olympus: Violent Edition
By: Brian Winn, Adam Rademacher, Jon Moore, Wei Peng, et. al.

Olympus is game that allows players to immerse themselves in the wondrous time of Ancient Greek history and myth. Olympus enhances the typical role-playing experience by getting the player off the couch. Through the use of a unique combination of input devices, the virtual actions of your avatar in the game world are driven by the players corresponding physical actions in the real world. Players succeed in Olympus through perseverance, sweat, and calories burned!

The violent edition of Olympus was an enhancement to a single scene in the larger game. The violent edition was built for a research study that explored what effect different levels of the graphic representation of violence would have on players of the active video game - in particular, would violent content in an active video game make players move more vigorously. The graphic depiction of violence was manipulated in this version of Olympus to be low, moderate or high. In the low violence condition, there were no sound effects of punching, grunting, or growling, no splatters of blood when hitting the enemy, and no onscreen splatter of blood when the player was hit by the enemy. The enemy would just disappear out of existence upon defeat with an on-screen feedback message of "guards defeated". When the players died, they would re-spawn and their health bars would be recharged. In the moderate violence condition, there were sound effects of punches or swords hitting but no sound effect of the results of the blows, such as grunts or groans. Minor blood splatter would show on screen when hitting enemies. No onscreen splatter of blood would show when the player was hit by the enemies. The enemies would drop to the ground on being defeated using ragdoll physics with on screen feedback of "guards defeated" but no blood would be shown on the ground. When the players died, they would be asked to fight death by shaking their Wiimotes and running on the dancepad. In the high violence condition, there were sound effects of punching, swords hitting, grunting, and groaning. Major blood splatter would show on screen when hitting enemies. Splatters of blood would also show when the players were hit by the enemies. The enemies would drop to the ground on being defeated using ragdoll physics with on screen feedback of "guards killed" and blood would appear on the ground near the corpse.

Game 26

Osmosis, A Case Study: Save Clark!
By: David Ducrest, Jared Jackson, Tom Robertson, Jim Moore, Scott Brown, Casey O'Donnell

Clark, a new born calf, is experiencing seizures and his life is in jeopardy. In this case study, students learn about the causes of seizures, how it can relate to cerebral pressure, and how the principles of osmosis can be used to diagnosis Clark and treat him. Osmosis, A Case Study teaches neural physiology, the concepts of diffusion and osmosis and reinforces the scientific method as the critical process of problem solving.

Osmosis, A Case Study begins with an interactive manual that teaches the concept of diffusion and osmosis and relates them to Clark's symptomatic seizures. From there, the user examines Clark and collects data on his condition for further analysis, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation. Each chapter of the Osmosis, A Case Study corresponds to step in the scientific method. When presented with a problem, students observe, research background topics to develop an hypothesis, test the hypothesis and judge it by its success or failure.

"Osmosis, A Case Study" has been developed by a team of expert biologists, experienced teachers, and educational researchers to improve learning through interactive computer technologies. By increasing interactivity and providing meaningful content, students better engage, better understand, and better remember the material.

Comments about "Osmosis, A Case Study"
From an Independent Expert in Water within Biological Systems: "This is the first educational piece I have seen that actually depicts osmosis correctly."

From an Experienced Biology Teacher: "After 26 years, I finally understand osmosis and can teach it."

Game 27

Osy Osmosis
By: Jared Jackson, Stephen Borden, Dr. Casey O'Donnel, Zane Everett, BJ Wimpey, Vickey Costilla

Osy Osmosis is a fun game for all ages where you must help Osy stay safe as she navigates through her world collecting stars. Using your mouse, click in the direction you want Osy to move, but be careful, as you progress, more dangers will present themselves. To help Osy, you will use osmosis to keep her in balance with the world around her. In later levels, press "A" to add bits to Osy and "S" to subtract bits from Osy.

This version is an unreleased work-in-progress update to the original released game available on iTunes and Google Play.

Game 28

Out of the Oven (student-created game)
By: Derek DeMaiolo, Daniel DeMaiolo, Sandrine Do, Kristy Cunningham, Wayne Stiles, Shreyas Thiagarajasubramanian, and Eric Musser

Once upon a time...

There was an imperfect cookie, named Sugarless. He did his best to hide his cracks and flaws behind an eyepatch and a gruff demeanor, but it was obvious he'd simply spent too much time in the oven. The old hag who baked Sugarless, found him a delight, as she cared only for the misery of her gingerbread cookies. Sugarless' suffering was exquisite. Who is Sugarless? Why does the old hag want to inflict so much pain on him? What is this dark passenger Sugarless harbors inside? As you play through the game enjoy:

-A sickly sweet tale of gingerbread misery
-Stealth focused mechanics & character upgrades
-Five themed levels and a final boss fight
-Sinister enemies to haunt your nightmares
-Voice overs, character quips, and narration
-Multiple endings based on Sugarless' killing spree

Out of the Oven is a deliciously twisted stealth puzzle platformer. Tim Burton meets Paper Mario as you sneak your way through scenes of half-baked horror.

As Sugarless, players must use stealth by tiptoeing past sleeping Nutcracker guards, hiding under household items, and avoiding detection from the old hags' minions until he can eventually escape from the prison of the display case. As a cereal killer, Sugarless can also kill and bring to justice the adorable Cheery-os, little naughty cereal inhabitants, throughout the display case.

Incorporating the theme of winter break, Out of the Oven uses stealth elements to capture the sense of avoiding family members and also utilizes the idea of cooking as a common winter break activity. Out of the Oven attempts to convey a paradoxical atmosphere between fun sugary sweetness and the raw horrendous horror of the food chain by using a Paper Mario/Tim Burton aesthetic style. Out of the Oven conveys several emotions including suspense, horror, and humor deriving mainly from the stealth mechanics, fear of being caught, and the consequences thereof.

Because Out of the Oven makes use of noncombat stealth, the main constraint on players is not getting caught. If a player gets discovered, Sugarless will get damaged and retry from the candy cane, lamp post checkpoints. Out of the Oven is a unique take on games of its genre because the stealth mechanics do not include some sort of defense combat system like many games which include these player actions. Players are mostly vulnerable to almost anything in the world, but they can be more resourceful than most stealth games by using items to progress throughout the levels. With a breathtaking art style, the game blends the best of 2D and 3D worlds - a style native to only a groundbreaking franchise such as Paper Mario.

Game 29

POX: Save the People (iPad Edition)
By: Mary Flanagan, Zara Downs, Max Seidman

POX: Save the People is a 1-4 player game in which players fight the spread of a disease that threatens to take over a community. The game depicts the spread of disease in a realistic way, and players must work together to contain the spread of infection by either vaccinating or curing citizens. The game is won when the disease can no longer spread to infect others. Preliminary research at Tiltfactor has found that the game increases players' appreciation for the value of vaccination and fosters a transfer of systems thinking skills.

Game 30

By: Scot Osterweil, Marina Bers

Quandary is an intriguing new and free game to engage young people in the complexities and subtleties of ethical decision making.

Players aged 8-14 get to shape the future of a new society as they lead a human settlement on recently colonized Planet Braxos. Faced with a series of age-appropriate moral dilemmas, players negotiate differences of opinion within the colony and apply logical thinking to recommend appropriate solutions.

Quandary provides a framework for how to approach ethical decision making; it doesn't tell players what to think. The game is designed to spark discussions, supported by supplementary material both in and out of the classroom.

Game 31

Reveal (student-created game)
By: Marie Lazar, Mike Prinke, Tim Liedel, Patrick O'Malley

Reveal is a short, first-person horror game about the ways we perceive the body. It was created as a final project in the Interactive Design and Game Development program at SCAD.

Game 32

Scalpel! A Surgical Technology Simulator
By: Aaron Mundale, Sean Nagler, Sean Huberty, Atef Abu-Ageel

Scalpel is designed to give surgical technologists practice in the operating room. The level being submitted is a simulation of a bowel resection. Users must hand surgical instruments to the surgeon and perform other tasks depending on the procedure.

Game 33

Spartan Villa
By: Brian Winn, Chad Fleming, Kristina Cunningham, Benjamin Szymczak, Matthew Vorce, Alex Lockwood

Managing ones finances can be a daunting task, especially with limited experience. The challenge of learning how credit works, how to implement a monthly budget, and how to properly handle ones finances is that mistakes in real-life during the learning process can be costly. To aid in this challenge, Spartan Villa bridges this gap by creating a realistic financial system embedded in a fun, low-pressure game world. Spartan Villa introduces the player to critical financial concepts through the virtual management of a college house, making them responsible for expanding and maintaining their house by utilizing their finances effectively. Paying bills on time, allocating funds to the proper accounts, and monitoring their monthly spending are important aspects of the gameplay; ultimately this allows the player to purchase rooms to expand their house, host social events to attract future tenants, and increase their overall credit score. By successfully completing these tasks in the game, the player is able to learn effective money management skills and increase their financial literacy in way that is engaging as well as accessible to a younger audience.

Game 34

Stumbling Blocks
By: 360KID

In the game of Stumbling Blocks you compare the block diagrams on the left and right side of the screen. Are the blocks on the left greater than, less than, or equal to the blocks on the right.
This exercise was developed to have no end.

Game 35

Tanzanian Trader
By: Brian Winn, Chris Dasbach, Andrew Dennis

Tanzanian Trader is a game designed for Standard 7 students in Tanzania, Africa. The game helps students prepare for the standardized national exam students must take to receive their primary school certificate. The game also helps students develop their computer literacy skills.

In the game, players assume the role of a young entrepreneur building a business. To grow their business, the player must travel across Tanzania, and ultimately across the continent of Africa, trading goods, completing quests, and overcoming challenges.

The game uses a unique quizzing mechanic embedded in the gameplay to cover a diverse set of curricular topics across Math, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers are able to modify what students are quizzed on, as well as change the database of questions, based on the particular students needs. The game can be played in English, the official language used in secondary education in Tanzania, or Kiswahili, the most used native language in the country.

The version available online is an English prototype of what was installed on local computer systems in Tanzania. The computers (and game) were installed in remote schools as part of the ICT4D project in TISM.

Game 36

The City
By: Greg Austic

The City is a table-top game of coopertition with a variety of unique mechanics and components. The players' goal is to build a community by moving 12 characters into a new city. To accomplish this goal, players have to develop land, build houses, and deliver electricity to them - using real power lines, LEDs, and supercapacitors for storage. Interesting components of The City are:

1) Shared and limited resources of food and wood result in a series of prisoner's dilemma type interactions between the players. This causes players to develop cooperative (or competitive) mores in each game. Different players will dramatically shift the direction and tone of the game.

2) Players develop intuition about simple electronics by cranking a hand crank generator to light up LEDs on the board (distribute power to a power grid). They associate how long the LEDs are on with how much cranking was performed, how many supercapacitors were installed, and the voltage and current in the circuit (measured by an attached arduino).

3) The game ending conditions are not simply win/lose. Either everyone loses, or one person wins (ties are acceptable, so people can also tie). As a result, there is constant tension between cooperating enough to not lose, but competing enough to win.

4) The entire game is open source and the development of the game is available at Anyone will be able to download and make the game themselves with illustrations and parts lists provided on the site.

Game 37

The Quest for the Kukui Cup
By: Philip Johnson, Robert Brewer, Yongwen Xu, George Lee, Carleton Moore, Michelle Katchuck, Greg Burgess

The Quest for the Kukui Cup combines concepts from information technology, community-based social marketing, serious games, and educational pedagogy to support sustained change in sustainability-related behaviors.

A defining feature of Kukui Cup challenges is a blend of real world and virtual world activities, all tied together through game mechanics. In the real world, players participate in workshops, geocaching, scavenger hunts, artistic/musical events, win prizes, and most importantly, learn about their current lifestyle and its impact on sustainability behaviors. In the virtual world of the Kukui Cup web application, players earn points, achieve badges, increase their sustainability "literacy" through readings and videos, and use social networking mechanisms to engage with friends and family about the issues raised. The challenge is designed to make real-world and virtual-world activities complementary and synergistic.

For more information about the Kukui Cup project and the results of our game instances so far, see:

For information about the open source technology that we developed and upon which the Kukui Cup is based, see:

For real-time energy monitoring, the Kukui Cup also uses WattDepot, another technology we developed:

To create and run a Kukui Cup game instance, Makahiki must be installed and configured. If the Kukui Cup game instance will include real-time energy data, then WattDepot must be installed as well.

For a guided tour of the Kukui Cup web application, please see:

Game 38

The Snowfield (student-created game)
By: Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

In The Snowfield you are a lone soldier wandering the aftermath of a great battle. It is the dead of winter and you won't last long in the cold. But you are not alone.

Research Statement
The Snowfield represents an attempt to make a simulation-based narrative game according to a special method for developing such games, a method designed to avoid the need for complex A.I. or massive content generation. The idea was not to relying on codified narrative theories or formulas - like three-act structures, etc. - but rather assume

Game 39

By: Schell Games

Tunnel Tail is first a light RPG game for 11-14 year-olds. It was developed in tandem with the BEST foundation and aims to introduce kids to situations in which they might feel pressured to come in contact with substances such as alcohol and drugs, and teach them how to navigate these situations. The goals of the game include: to introduce players to internal/external pressures, show that they don't need to give in to be cool, engage them without preaching or speaking down to them, and more.

Tunnel Tail leverages the concept of incidental learning and seeks to provide first and foremost a fun experience, using game mechanics to deliver its educational message.

Exhibited Non-Digital Games

Game 1

awkward moment
By: Mary Flanagan, Andrea McClave, Viviana Ramos, Max Seidman, Zara Downs, Sukdith Punjasthitkul

awkward moment puts 3-8 players in terrifically awkward social situations! Players take turns being the Decider. First, the Decider draws a Moment Card to reveal a hysterical, embarrassing, or stressful situation, and a Decider Card to determine the basis for choosing a winning Reaction. All other players try to impress the Decider by submitting the best response from their hand of cards!

awkward moment was created as part of Tiltfactor's National Science Foundation-funded project that aims to create games to decrease stereotypes and bias against girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. To this end, many of the Moment Cards depict scenarios involving gender bias. Initial research suggests that the game strengthens players' association of women with science and inspires players to respond assertively to occurrences of bias.

Game 2

By: Mary Flanagan, Max Seidman, Sukdith Punjasthitkul

Can you name a flamboyant popstar, a blind scientist, or a skinny superhero? You'd better think fast, or your fellow players will leave you buffaloed!

A card game of quick wits and zany combinations, buffalo asks you to name-drop faster than your friends, collect the most cards, and win! How fast can you name a vain artist? How about a glasses-wearing heartthrob? Don't be surprised if you find yourself surrounded by curious players eager to name an annoying conqueror or perky religious figure!

buffalo was created as part of Tiltfactor's National Science Foundation-funded project that aims to create games to decrease stereotypes and bias against girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. By presenting combinations of descriptors that either confirm or defy players' expectations, buffalo attempts to combat a whole host of societal stereotypes, including gender and race bias. Initial research suggests the game increases players' perception of the diversity of their social groups and fosters a spirit of tolerance and acceptance.

Game 3

Hero Monster Princess
By: Neal McDonald

This is an improvisational role-playing card game. It is designed to be played by large numbers of people, at conventions-- like Metagame, though the mechanic is different.

Players start by using a card to generate a character. Encounters with other players turn into conversations in which players incorporate the events described on the cards with the goals and histories of each character.

Complete rules are online at

Game 4

Roots of Power
By: Becky Palmer-Scott (with help from Brian Winn)

Board game to teach Greek and Latin word roots and affixes found in the English language. Players also learn about Greek myths during game play.

Game 5

School's Out (student-created game)
By: Bryan Novak, Carrie Cole, Craig Tucker

School's Out is a social board game that gets children talking about the serious impacts of bullying by letting them role-play as both a bully and a hero in a fun and safe environment.

Game 6

The Tragedy of the Farmers (student-created game)
By: Tom Fennewald, Brent Kievit-Kylar

The Tragedy of the Farmers, or simply The Farmers, is a game that illustrates the tragedy of the commons in a fun-to-learn way. In the game, players harvest and plant resources. Players gain points when they harvest resources they value. The game strikes an balance between cooperation, competition and coordination.

In The Farmers, multiple groups of three players play simultaneously. But the goal in The Farmers might not be what you expect. To win, players are not trying to beat the other groups as a whole group, nor are players trying to beat other players within their own group. Rather, each player's goal is to score more points than the people in the other groups who are playing the same farmer role that that player is playing.

Friday, October 19, 8:00a-9:00a

Registration Check-In and Continental Breakfast

LocationLobby (2nd floor of the MSU Union)
DescriptionThe registration table is outside of the ballroom on the second floor of the MSU Union building.

The breakfast sponsor is The Michigan Film Office.

Friday, October 19, 9:00a-10:00a

Serious Games Beyond Training: From Process Optimization to Complex Problem Solving


Phaedra BoinodirisAs producer of IBM's award-winning INNOV8 series of serious games, Phaedra Boinodiris is responsible for IBM's broader serious games strategy, leading their global effort of leveraging serious games to provide greater agility for businesses and organizations in an increasingly complex environment. Boinodiris' INNOV8 games are being used in over 1000 schools worldwide to teach students the fundamentals of business optimization and her first Smarter Planet game, CityOne, is the #1 web-based lead generating asset for IBM's largest brand. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. Prior to working at IBM, she co-founded WomenGamers.Com, a popular women's gaming portal where she subsequently started the first scholarship for women to pursue degrees in game design and development in the US.

DescriptionOrganizations are straining to interpret and make informed decisions based on the abundance of data captured by advanced data systems to optimally manage strategic and tactical business operations. Serious Games can harness the power of analytics to enable a better understanding of the data and information gathered from these systems. A by-product of collaborative gameplay will be better decisions that help produce innovative and effective solutions addressing complex issues organizations are faced with today.

This session provides insight into how the confluence of cloud computing, sophisticated game design and powerful applications can give a renaissance to serious games that process and incorporate real time data to drive business improvements. The session will show how Serious Games can stretch beyond skills training and actively engage participants to effect real change.

This session is for participants interested in gaining a better understanding of how Serious Games can offer a powerful and effective approach to solve issues facing organizations today. In this session our team will discuss how organizations can use Serious Games to:
  • Solve problems collaboratively
  • Improve Business processes
  • Achieve predictive and real time modeling
  • Increase Return on Investment

Friday, October 19, 10:00a-10:30a


Friday, October 19, 10:30a-11:30a

Saving a Life through Play: How Serious Games can help Manage Chronic Health Conditions

Presenter(s)Keith Brophy
DescriptionWhat if a game could save your life? For children suffering from asthma, Abriiz(R) by Ideomed(R) could do exactly that.

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects nearly one in ten American children - and the epidemic is growing. The good news is that asthma can be effectively managed with a treatment plan, though adherence to that plan is a constant challenge for many children.

Abriiz(R) was created with that challenge in mind. A web portal allows parents or caregivers to set medication schedules, monitor progress, define incentives and set medication alerts. The portal communicates wirelessly to the child's mobile application, where the patient receives daily reminders, logs doses, views incentive progress and engages in adherence-based gamification.

At the Meaningful Play 2012 Conference, Ideomed(R) CEO Keith Brophy's discussion will focus on how serious games are now used to influence attitudes and behaviors to manage chronic health conditions. The Abriiz(R) pediatric asthma management platform will be used as the key case study in his discussion, bolstered by both thought-provoking real life anecdotes and objective field data.

The gamification in Abriiz(R) is focused on driving user engagement and encouraging the user's adherence to his or her asthma treatment plan. The Abriizlings(TM) game consists of 40 Abriizling(TM) characters that grow and flourish as the user successfully logs medication doses. When the user fails to do so, the Abriizling(TM) character reverts and shrinks, encouraging the child to reengage with the game. Once the Abriizling(TM) is fully grown, the user can adopt it and add to their collection. The Abriizlings(TM) interact with the user, and each has a background story.

The game was designed to quickly engage the child, allowing him to grow and adopt the first Abriizling(TM) in just three days. As the game goes on, Abriizlings(TM) require more time to become fully grown, though the maximum time is limited at one week to instill a sense of increasing challenge and accomplishment. Game design focused on preventing users from accessing adopted characters when doses aren't recorded, and restoring access when the child gets back on track.

Ongoing enhancements will focus on the interaction between the parent or care partner and the child to further drive engagement. Future iterations, for example, will allow the child to share adopted Abriizlings(TM) and give parents the ability to reward the child for consecutive days of compliance with extra "food" to grow their Abriizling(TM).

Behavioral psychologists, asthma educators, motivational speakers and gold-medal winning athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee form an advisory committee that helped shape the gamification of the Abriiz(R) pediatric asthma management platform. Ideomed(R) received the National Edison Award Silver Medal in 2012 for online tool innovation for Abriiz(R).

Ideomed(R) CEO Keith Brophy is a seasoned entrepreneur with experience in technology, software engineering, health and life sciences and commercialization. Keith authored several books on emerging Web trends in the early days of the commercialized Internet, and is a frequent speaker and business advisor. He serves as Advisory Board Chairman of the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center.

Observe, Listen, and Learn: Studying Games Using Ethnographic Methodology

Paper 1

A case study of a five-step design thinking process in educational museum game design
By: Paul Gestwicki and Brian McNely

We present a case study in the design of an educational video game about collecting, curating, and museum operations. A five-step cyclic design thinking framework was used by the studio during the design and development of the game, and the team was simultaneously the subject of a rigorous and detailed ethnographic study. Three stages of the game's design evolution are presented through the lens of the design thinking framework. The team's practice-based research is triangulated with our
empirical data to produce four key findings: (a) that empathy for learning context is critical in aligning designs with learning objectives; (b) that meeting with stakeholders spurs empathy-building; (c) that there is a tension between horizontal and vertical slicing that is revealed by design thinking processes; and (d) that iterative design processes challenge conventions of higher education.

Paper 2

Temporality in games-based learning spaces: A comparative case study
By: Shree Durga, Elizabeth King and Barbara Johnson

Contemporary scholars in digital media, literacies and game studies have come to present a particularly vibrant and an anarchic depiction of sociocultural learning -- one that defies vertical hierarchy, normative depiction of competence and lays utmost emphasis on learner autonomy (Brown & Adler, 2008; J. Gee, 1991; JP Gee, 2004; M. Knobel & Lankshear, 2006; M. Knobel, Lankshear,C, 2007; Lankshear, Gee, Knobel, & Searle, 1997). Much of the learning in contemporary digital production spaces, thus, may be thought of as being highly affinity-based (JP Gee, 2004). However, learning in affinity spaces is a constantly evolving process of self-organized participation in fan-based activities, sustained through a quagmire of complex socio-technical structures, over log periods of time that are inherent to affinity-spaces (J. P. Gee & Hayes, 2010). A crucial challenge then, for educators and researchers alike, is to "zoom" in and out of participation over wide scales of time, yet depict a coherent learning narrative within these spaces (Lemke, 2001).
Drawing on longitudinal ethnographic research of three games-based affinity groups (J Gee, 2005) -- a) an affinity-based game modding community--Civfanatics, b) a friendship driven affinity group of boys in an after-school World of Warcraft gaming club and c) online gaming community in GaiaOnline, in this paper we present a comparative case study of participants' learning trajectories as they traverse wide and concurrent time scales, affecting microsocial and macosocial learning contexts (Lemke, 2001; Roth, 2006). Each case, presented in the paper will pursue a unique challenge and explore a key question examining temporality in affinity-based learning spaces:
a) How can scales of time be construed in longitudinal digital production activities, such as game modding, as participants steer through cycles of inspiration, iteration and completion of a mod?
b) What are the challenges associated with voluntary co-presence and obligatory time commitments in a friendship-based affinity group and how do they impact learning?
c) What is the definition of "now" and how does fluidity of times scales impact presence in virtual affinity spaces and the functioning of virtual work groups?

Paper 3

Serious by Design? A study on serious game designers and their perspectives on serious games
By: Konstantin Mitgutsch

The hopeful and, at times, unsubstantiated rhetoric surrounding the potentials of serious games has reached a new level in recent years: It is claimed that "Gaming can make a better world". Even though first studies on the impacts of games for social change were conducted in the last decade knowledge on their effectiveness is still lacking. But while the serious game advocates and their critics dispute the possible potentials and obvious limits, we know little about what the makers of these serious games think about their creations. The following study intends to give leading serious games designers a voice to express their perspectives - a perspective that might surprise both advocates and critics of serious games.
In this paper, results of a qualitative study on 15 leading serious game designers and their perspectives on serious games will be outlined and discussed. The study demonstrates that serious game designers have well-established, critical and reflective perspectives on what their games can and cannot do. It is also reveals that the line between artistic expression and instructional design is a thin one and that the "serious" interpretation of games does not always meet the designers intentions. Finally, the study gives insights into the potentials and limits of serious games and future potentials for their development.

Paper 4

Surviving Millionaire City: Class Consciousness, Vertigo, and Empire in Browser Based Games
By: Jessica Crowell, Aaron Trammell, Sean Leavey and Camille Reyes

Games, more than any other medium, can produce social change. Therefore, it is important to consider the interpretive strategies that players take when playing games that contain messages that run contrary to their social conditions and political beliefs. How does one situate oneself as a subject when taking part in a game that is overtly political? In order to address this question, this paper will investigate the rationale of casual Tiny Tower and Millionaire City players, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork obtained during a two year Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funded study in Philadelphia. This paper will explore issues of class consciousness, the digital divide, and the pervasiveness of neoliberal ideals in casual games, it will also consider Caillois' idea of vertigo in play, providing evidence to the ways in which players understand and negotiate their social conditions, and political being.

Game Evaluation

LocationParlor C
Paper 1

Supporting an Interval Training Program with the Astrojumper Video Game
By: Andrea Nickel, Hugh Kinsey, Tiffany Barnes and Zachary Wartell

We present the design and evaluation of Astrojumper-Intervals, a new version of our Astrojumper exercise video game, that explores methods of improving upon the previous game in both aspects of enjoyment and exercise effectiveness. We also investigate how interval training, an established exercise technique used to increase the efficiency of time spent exercising, may be incorporated within a video game. A user study of 34 adult participants compared Astrojumper-Intervals with the original Astrojumper game in terms of exercise effectiveness (measured using heart rate, energy expenditure, and ratings of perceived exertion); and game enjoyment (measured with Likert scale ratings and qualitative feedback). We found that Astrojumper-Intervals elicited statistically significantly greater energy expenditure and heart rate increases than the original game. Also, despite a wide variety of motivations to exercise and opinions of using video games as exercise tools among participants, the response to the games was overall very positive, with 27 of 34 participants preferring the new Astrojumper-Intervals game.

Paper 2

Holistic Evaluation of Serious Games and Simulation
By: Aleshia Panbamrung

Millions of dollars and countless hours are invested in the development of serious games for education internationally every year. Developers and designers generally evaluate the learning systems that they develop through some objective measure. These measures are often internally designed or imposed upon the development team by the sponsoring agency. A gap exists in the comprehensiveness of these evaluations, as the user experience analysis does not necessarily quantify the effectiveness and efficacy of the specific game or experience being evaluated. "Serious games are mainly assessed in terms of the quality of their content, not in terms of their intention-based design" (Mitgutsch & Alvarado, 2012). Measurements of user experience conducted by designers are generally positive, indicating user engagement, enjoyment, and preference over other methods of instruction (Dunleavy, Dede, & Mitchell, 2009; Thomas, William John, & Delieu, 2010). While this is a valuable finding, which some may rely on to alludes to engagement, the often subjective construct of engagement without demonstrated benefits to learning has a diminished generalizable meaning. As Frokjear explains, the correlation between user satisfaction and effectiveness are often negligible and should be looked at separately (Frokjaer, Hertzum, & Hornbaek, 2000). Because outcome research results are specific to the samples (or populations from which they were drawn) and the outcomes measured, "it is essential that conclusions from the research be clear as to the population(s) and outcomes for which efficacy is claimed" (Flay, 2004). Flay goes on to explain that, "Effectiveness trials test whether interventions are effective under 'real-world' conditions or in 'natural' settings. Effectiveness trials may also establish for whom, and under what conditions of delivery, the intervention is effective" (Flay, 2004).

Some prevalent ways to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of learning tools include performance improvement assessments, blind coder ratings, qualitative and quantitative self-reports of social presence, questionnaires, and ultimately performance tests that measure improvement in desired knowledge, skills, or abilities (Bailenson, 2006; Botella, Breton-Lopez, Quero, Banos, & Garcia-Palacios, 2010). Whether learning objectives in the serious games are explicit and didactic, or more discovery or inquiry based, there should be objectives for any serious game that are based on learning outcomes.

This discourse explores the intersections of the areas of efficacy, effectiveness, and user experience in assessing serious games and simulated experiences. The author builds the argument for a holistic approach to evaluating learning games and computer mediated experiences. Some examples are explored in which reasonably effective evaluations could have been improved by a more holistic approach to evaluation. The terms engagement, presence, efficacy, and learning are operationally defined based on research within the fields of education, learning theory, game design theory, and simulation. These constructs are then compiled to explain the need for a holistic approach to evaluating learning games in order to ensure usability, learning, and transfer of learning to the real world. The implications of industry embracing the holistic evaluation of games will include not only improvement in the output of development teams and consistency between evaluations of different systems, but also an approach to iterative evaluation driven by the constructs that contribute to effective learning through games.

Paper 3

Evaluating Game Mechanics To Convey STEM Concepts
By: Annie Conway

Can abstract game design convey complex STEM content? Likewise, can abstract physiological phenomena be translated into simple gameplay and concrete mechanics? What is the balance between compelling game play, abstraction of concepts, and content accuracy?

In the early phases of designing a complex online game about the body, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, tested paper and digital prototypes to determine which game mechanics were both most effective in communicating physiological concepts and had the most potential for truly fun gameplay.

Wary of creating another "edutainment" activity about the body, MSI sought to express deeper concepts about how the body systems communicate and are interdependent through an innovative online game that does not assume physiology has to be visualized on the body or as linear processes.

To realize a conceptual understanding of the body's complexity, we experimented with games that took place at specific sites in the body as well as on highly figurative interfaces. User interactions varied from mimicking literal body processes (such as "building" a blood clot) to exploratory manipulation of factors that act upon the body (playing with levels of hormones to control blood sugar). At the same time, this abstract game design could not undermine the functional integrity and accuracy of the medical content. Equally important, we wanted to test how to maximize user engagement and capacity for repeat play by design.

This paper presents the results of this study, in which we sought to understand how far we could abstract the content of the each game while maintaining the core learning goals and user experience. It highlights design principles for the representation of conceptual content and interactions, as well as our process for evaluating content comprehension through gameplay.

Performance and Meaning in Contemporary Art and Video Games

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Roger Travis, Associate Professor of Classics, University of Connecticut

Alex Myers, Assistant Professor of Game Studies, Bellevue University

James Schirmer, Assistant Professor of English, University of Michigan-Flint
DescriptionArt has for the last 100 years utilized the form and performance of games to enrich artistic possibilities. Artists have long recognized the emotive power of personal performance. Whether for political or personal motives, artists from groups as diverse as the Dadaists, Surrealists, Fluxus, and Situationists International, have created artgames or game-like art as alternatives to the traditional mediums approved by the Academy. Performance Art grew out of the practices of these groups and blended the experiences of theatre and art-making. Contemporary artgames build upon this heritage through the practice and performance of video games, widely considered the 21st Century medium. Our three superheroes will discuss the mimetic experience of video games within this context.

Roger Travis argues that Plato's idea of mimesis as a way of approaching the relationship of art to perceived reality finds new cogency in game-culture's relationship to games. Rather than understanding Platonic mimesis as "imitation," Travis seeks to understand the term as referring to any practice of "performance-as," a reading that allows us to describe gameplay in aesthetic terms: gamers' performances themselves become art, legible as such both to themselves and to other interpreters.

Alex Myers makes artgames that utilize the beauty of apophenia. Apophenia is a result of our need to invest meaning onto everything we experience. We transcribe significance constantly in our daily lives. This writing increases until it reaches a critical mass of meaninglessness and then eventually it finds its way into the realm of meaning again. Myers will be discussing the process and embodiment of his impulsions and how they sit in relation to both contemporary art and contemporary game design.

James Schirmer intends to bridge statements made by his fellow panelists in discussing a playthrough of Myers's artgame as emblematic of Travis's "performance-as" argument. In a talk that will be equal parts practice and transcription, Schirmer offers personal and pragmatic reflection on "Writing Things We Can No Longer Read," thereby documenting a mimetic act.

Classroom is a Game: Technological and Educational Insights for Games for Learning

LocationGold B
Paper 1

Playing History: How Ars Magica Players Develop Historical Literacy
By: Jessica Hammer and Kaitlin Heller

The issue of academic content in games is a tricky one. Filling a game with facts and figures is no guarantee the game will help students learn - and generally makes for a bad game to boot. On the other hand, players have an immense capacity to engage with the content of games, often learning about the material on their own time and with far more depth of engagement than they demonstrate in school. The role-playing game Ars Magica contains factual and literal historical material - yet rather than turn the game into academic work, as many explicitly educational games do, it turns history into part of the game. How does Ars Magica achieve this? How does it avoid the "problem of content?" And how do specific groups using the game negotiate that historical content and incorporate it into play? Through analysis of game observations and in-depth, semi-structured interviews, this paper examines the texts, practices and technologies of an Ars Magica group in which players have successfully developed and deployed historical literacies. Players voluntarily engage in historical thinking, reading and research, including both online and offline activities. Additionally, the group has developed an idiosyncratic but historically grounded approach to thirteenth century thinking and behavior, which they attempt to simulate in play.

Paper 2

Mobile Media Learning Classroom Practices and Integration
By: Seann Dikkers, James Mathews, Breanne K. Litts, Chris Holden

A short time ago mobile learning could be framed as immature in terms of classroom integration (Traxler, 2007). More recently, however, we have seen rapid growth in the number of educators designing their own mobile-mediated learning environments. As a result, mobile learning is maturing as a pedagogical practice through the combination of refined theoretical understanding of its affordances, an increase in the number and types of mobile applications (many of them free), and growing communities of practice (Dikkers, Martin, & Coulter, 2012). In this paper, we briefly present the design choices and goals of nine educators (representing a range of contexts) who integrated innovative forms of mobile learning in their teaching. We then use a single illustrative example to highlight themes that emerged from analysis of the nine cases, namely four practices designers employed as they implemented mobile learning. Using Pinch and Bijker's (1984) design-based perspective we conduct a cross-case analysis (Stake, 2006) to gain insights into user/designer intention, goals, and needs. Finally, we use this analysis to consider next steps related to the design of mobile tools and learning environments.

Paper 3

Status and Learning in The Sims Community
By: Jeremy Dietmeier

Given the increasing pressure to attend top colleges, students are placed into a competitive education model even though research suggests that such direct competition causes students to feel anxious and teaches them not to enjoy learning (Squire, 2010). A viable alternative to this model is to create a learning community in the classroom, possibly through the use of online forums. These communities have been forming naturally online around video games with participants voluntarily coming together to learn. This paper looks at one such learning community that has risen around The Sims 3 at the forum site Mod the Sims. Through an analysis of explicit visual status markers, the behaviors or those with and without status, and the importance of status in this space, we begin to see the attributes of this learning community. After outlining the data collection methods, I present an analysis of selected data and the ways in which a learning community promotes education.

Paper 4

Simulations and Games for Teaching Law: What's Possible?
By: Michael Edward Lenert

Over the last decade or so, there has been a growing interested in using serious games as tools for teaching and learning (e.g., Aldrich, 2004, Gee, 2003, McGonigal, 2010, Prensky, 2001, Reeves, 2009, Salen & Zimmerman, 2004).

The on-going digital media revolution has put the world of information at our fingertips but many institutions of education remain at the far end of the technology adoption curve. This is especially true in legal education where tradition and precedent are prized above all else.

The paper first articulates three principles for using simulations and serious games for teaching law. Then, starting with the theoretical foundation of these three principles, the paper conducts an analysis of three cases studies and draws out some possible conclusions concerning the use of simulations and games for teaching law.

Pervasive and Environmental Game Design Workshop

Presenter(s)Jeff Watson, USC Game Innovation Lab
DescriptionThis workshop is intended for those who wish to explore how games can be designed to directly impact the social fabrics of lived environments such as schools, public institutions, workplaces, and neighborhoods. In specific, this workshop is about how artists, entertainers, educators, policy-makers, and activists can use game design to embolden and empower communities to actively engage in the creative construction of their own realities.

The kinds of games explored in this workshop do not take place in simulated worlds; indeed, many of the games discussed here are not digital at all, and draw more on party games, Happenings, and Situationism than they do on code and computation. What all the games mentioned and imagined in this workshop have in common is that they are woven into or layered upon the lived environments of their players. These kinds of games go beyond merely calling for change by actually bringing it about through playful interventions that both embody and enable transformation, discovery, and social engagement.

Attendees of this workshop will emerge with an understanding of five key principles of pervasive and environmental game design, namely:
1. Design Around the Local
2. Action, Not Simulation
3. Optimize for Agency
4. The Social is the Medium
5. Iteration and Permeability

This is a hands-on workshop. It does not require any special technical abilities, but it does demand a willingness to play and experiment. Working in groups, attendees will use a flexible methodology to create prototypes for pervasive and environmental games. Using the play experiences that take place in the workshop as a touchstone, broader questions regarding the relationship between environmental game design and impact will be addressed and discussed.

Friday, October 19, 11:30a-1:00p

Birds of a Feather Lunch (on your own) and Industry/Student Meet'n'Greet



Friday lunch is not provided. Take this time to socialize with your fellow conference attendees while enjoying the many dining venues within downtown East Lansing.

If you are interested in lunching with like minded individuals, there will be Birds of a Feather meet-up signs in the lobby. Meet at one of the signs and go to lunch together. The groups include:

  • Educational Games
  • Health Games
  • Research and Funding
  • Design and Development
  • Students

Industry/Student Meet'n'Greet

From 11:30-noon is an Industry/Student Meet'n'Greet in Parlor A. If you are a student interested in talking with some of the companies attending Meaningful Play, please come and bring your resumes. If you are a company interested in meeting some talent, please come ready to discuss opportunities at your company.

Friday, October 19, 1:00p-2:00p

It's All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses a Bias: Designing, Implementing, and Assessing Game-based Interventions to Combat Stereotypes and Biases

Presenter(s)Geoff Kaufman and Mary Flanagan
DescriptionOur team is producing and evaluating a set of games aimed at combating stereotypes against girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The design of these games draws on psychological theories and research, in particular, foundational work on stereotype threat (the fear of confirming a stereotype about one's group) and implicit bias (unconscious negative evaluations of a particular group or domain). Each game we create incorporates strategies that prior work has shown to yield such beneficial outcomes as: (1) reducing explicit stereotypical beliefs and/or implicit stereotypical associations; (2) enlightening individuals about the impact of stereotypes on their targets; and (3) equipping members of stereotyped groups with psychological defenses against bias.

We will share insights about creating immersive, engaging games that successfully embody psychological principles and processes, and present the methods and results from controlled experimental studies investigating the games' impact on players. To illustrate our approach, we will focus on a pair of card games that take distinct approaches to combating stereotypes. The first, Awkward Moment, poses embarrassing or stressful academic and social scenarios, to which players must select appropriate reactions. During each round, players submit the "Reaction Card" from their hand that they believe is the best response to the "awkward moment" revealed to the group on a "Moment Card," and a player designated as the "Decider" selects a winning card from among those submitted. Many of the game's "moments" put players in the perspective of being a witness to gender bias - or being a target themselves. An experimental study revealed that, on post-game measures, middle school students assigned to play the original version of Awkward Moment showed a stronger explicit association between "female" and "scientist" and exhibited a higher level of assertiveness in response to hypothetical occurrences of bias, compared to participants assigned to play a "neutral" version of the game (in which the "moments" were unrelated to gender bias) and participants assigned to a control group (who completed the measures of bias before playing the game).

In the second game, Buffalo, players simultaneously flip cards from two decks, one containing cards listing adjectives (e.g., words describing race, nationality, physicality, and ideology), and the other containing cards listing nouns (e.g., professions, roles, and social groups). Players race to collect the cards by identifying a real-life or fictional person whose identity satisfies the revealed noun/adjective combination. This game aims to activate a plethora of cross-cutting identities, some of which may fit with prior expectations (e.g., a "male scientist"), whereas others defy such expectations (e.g., a "female scientist"), in order to stimulate thought about the ways that stereotypes impact memory and judgment. An experimental study with a sample of college undergraduates and adults revealed that the game significantly increased participants' perceptions of the diversity of their self-identified social ingroups and inspired higher scores on a measure of universal non-prejudice.

As these findings suggest, games can provide a fun, entertaining experience for players and, at the same time, stimulate significant changes to their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Social Gaming and Collaborative Play

Paper 1

Humanism, Collaboration, and the Future of Serious and Educational Games
By: Owen Leach

Current methods used for designing serious and educational games rely on humanist theory that places too much emphasis on individual study while denying the proven educational worth of collaborative learning. This article explores the origins of humanist educational theory within serious games and purposes a solution to the shortcomings it creates. By incorporating collaborative learning techniques, through the use of multiplayer game design, it is possible to further the potential of serious games, increasing retention and transfer.

Paper 2

Uncovering Play Through Collaboration and Computation In Tabletop Gaming
By: Sean Duncan and Matthew Berland

Games scholarship has moved beyond principled description of experiences of gameplay to uncovering the ways that players make meaning in gaming spaces, be they in digital forms, tabletop forms, or physical games. Uncovering the structures of play within games implies better addressing the ways in which rule sets, the social milieu of a particular game, and even the motivating potential of a game narrative can all interact in the shaping of a game experience. In the present study, we address several of these concerns by teasing out the interaction of two valued practices found within game play: computational thinking and collaboration.

In this work, we investigate how players exhibit computational thinking and collaboration in delimited play space -- the strategic board game Pandemic (Leacock, 2007). Pandemic is an award-winning, collaborative tabletop game in which up to four players work together to rid the planet of four diseases concurrently spreading across the globe. Involving negotiation, the development (and iteration) of collaborative strategies, as well as a potentially motivating "save the world" framing, the game provides researchers with a rich space in which to study the interaction of computational thinking and collaboration. As studies of collaborative tabletop games (e.g., Zagal, Rick, & Hsi, 2006) have revealed their interesting complexity as play spaces, we see Pandemic as a useful testbed in which to study how game rule sets, social configurations, and a motivating theme can combine to provide meaning to their players.

Paper 3

Social systems in virtual worlds: Building a better looking raid loot system in World of Warcraft using the Institutional Analysis and Design (IAD) framework
By: Travis Ross and Lauren Collister

Online multiplayer games and virtual worlds are difficult to design; they contain economies and other complex systems where the decisions of one player can have far-reaching implications for other players. When considering the welfare of players, game designers have a difficult job; they must create systems, which optimize outcomes for a body of players who often have different motivations for playing the game (Bartle, 1996; Cummings & Ross, 2011; Yee, 2006). In addition, knowledge of how to create and tune game systems - when it does exist - is often institutionalized. There is no shared theory of how to build and maintain a virtual society. The recent development of telemetry systems has helped to mitigate this issue by providing developers with real-time feedback regarding the state of a population, but telemetry systems are not theoretical. Machine learning does not provide developers with insights into why outcomes occur, or how to develop social systems that are optimal for engagement, enjoyment, or the formation of meaningful relationships.

This paper proposes a tool that can provide game developers and researchers with such insights. The Institutional Analysis and Design (IAD) Framework was developed specifically for identifying the universal elements of institutions and draws from decades of research regarding human behavior in various institutional settings (Ostrom, 2005). The IAD framework is not a prescriptive solution detailing how to solve all institutional problems; rather, it is a tool for evaluating the arrangement of different institutional elements. Coupled with various theories of human behavior (game theory, economic theory, social psychological theory) the IAD can provide predictions about player behavior and macro-social outcomes. When used correctly, it can provide developers with theory, which explains why social systems can equilibrate into undesirable outcomes - anti-social behavior or a suboptimal distribution of resources - and identifies institutional designs that can solve social problems.

In this paper we examine how the IAD framework can be applied to an existing arrangement, specifically targeting the Looking-for-Raid (LFR) loot system of World of Warcraft. The LFR system, released in November 2011, is a game mechanic that matches players into 25-person groups and delivers them into a raid. Once there, the group navigates through a dungeon filled with enemies, occasionally encountering a powerful enemy that requires coordinated teamwork to defeat. Along the way the group finds a few valuable items, which are distributed by allowing eligible players to enter a lottery.

In most cases, the 25 players in the group are strangers. They generally have no knowledge of their fellow group members' playing abilities, and no knowledge about their needs or strategies when it comes to obtaining loot. All of the loot items are tagged for specific classes and roles, allowing only players who fit the prerequisites to enter the lottery; however, players who fit the prerequisites can enter the lottery whether they actually need the item or not. This system relies on a player to honestly report their need of an item; in practice, most players report rampant greed (e.g. players "needing" items that they already possess) and dissatisfaction with the system. Interestingly, most players report honest intentions and a desire for honest behavior. Unfortunately, most players also have expectations that others will be greedy, and most players report changing their own behavior - acting in a more greedy ways - because of expectations of greed. One example of this change in behavior can be seen in loot sharing: players bring friends along on the raid, collaborate to "need" on items, and share them with each other to improve the odds of winning a piece of loot. Even though these players are working within the rules of the system to increase their odds of winning, they are also contributing to the very practice that they find undesirable.

In this paper, we use two interviews with focus groups and surveys distributed to 317 active World of Warcraft players to analyze players' expectations regarding loot in the LFR system as well as their reported behavior in loot situations. We demonstrate that the reported behavior and expectations follow the predictions of the IAD model (with game theory) under the assumptions of players as boundedly rational agents playing an N-player mixed-motive game. We explore the theoretical potential of the IAD for game developers who are attempting to predict the outcomes of social systems within games, and we also propose a few potential solutions involving information/communication channels, social norms with sanctions, and auctions that could shift the equilibrium of the current system to a more optimal outcome.

Content in context: Abstraction vs. realism in designing games for social impact

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Sarah Chu, Belinda Gutierrez, Dennis Ramirez, Clem Samson-Samuel, Kurt Squire and Molly Carnes
DescriptionOne challenge of designing games that address social issues is in integrating educational content with engaging gameplay. In this roundtable discussion, we ask: how do designers create games for social impact without trivializing serious subject matter? This has been our challenge in developing the game Fair Play.

Fair Play is a game designed by ERIA Interactive at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by the National Institutes of Health*. The goal of the game is to reduce players' implicit biases against underrepresented individuals in academic science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). Implicit biases are automatic, often unconscious, assumptions based on group stereotypes, such as the association of men with science and women with liberal arts (Nosek et al., 2007). Biases like these can negatively impact individuals who are underrepresented in STEMM (National Academy of Sciences, 2006; Peterson, Friedman, Ash, Franco, & Carr, 2004; Pololi, Cooper & Carr, 2010; Valian, 1998). Fair Play is designed to raise awareness about implicit bias among STEMM graduate students and faculty. We designed Fair Play to give players the opportunity to experience the subtle biases that an African American graduate student in STEMM may experience in daily life. We spent a great deal of effort to pinpoint the level of realism required to teach the bias content while keeping players engaged.

Games designed for learning and social impact are not merely about content delivery. Rather, they create worlds in which players engage with and make sense of the subject matter. With this in mind, we will facilitate a discussion around design approaches and strategies on folding content into gameplay in social issue games. We will look at recent games that have successfully achieved this. For example, the content in the game Spent is explicit and literal, while the content in the game Unmanned is implicit and abstracted. In both games, players take on the perspective of the main character and witness firsthand how they are affected by their decisions. Spent focuses on using specific facts to illustrate the experiences of someone living in poverty, while Unmanned abstracts the experiences of a drone pilot to give players a sense for how he is emotionally-affected by his profession. We will ask participants to discuss how they use educational content in their games. How do they make decisions about the level of abstraction to use? How do they integrate educational content while keeping engaging gameplay at the forefront?

As part of the group discussion, we will present the iterative prototyping process for Fair Play and discuss how our integration of content and gameplay has evolved. We have found numerous ways to embed the educational content and have experimented with both abstract and literal forms. For each prototype, we will highlight the design decisions that resulted in positive feedback and effect, as well those that produced minimal effect. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to benefit from our experience, by thinking alongside the presenters to generate game scenarios that encourage players' meaningful reflection on implicit bias.

* This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Director's Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, grant number DP4-GM096822-01.

Game Mechanics and Design Principles

LocationParlor C
Paper 1

Research Directions for Pushing Harnessing Human Computation to Mainstream Video Games (Top Paper Award)
By: Peter Jamieson, Lindsay Grace and Jack Hall

In this paper, we propose a research direction that will allow the harnessing of human computation to be included in mainstream video games. Human computing resources are vastly different and superior in some cases compared to traditional computing machines. Previous findings in this domain showed that humans playing FoldIt, a protein folding video game, created new solutions to the problem that were previously unknown. Successes like these suggest that harnessing human computation through games can provide our society with a new computation resource, but existing games in this domain tend to be built around the problem. This means a large population of game players remains unharnessed. We, however, hypothesize that focusing research efforts on the synergy of understanding isomorphing problems, identifying problem solving behavior in mainstream video games, and an understanding of real-world problems is a direction that will allow us to merge harnessing human computation into these mainstream games.

Paper 2

Beyond kWh: Myths and fixes for energy competition game design
By: Philip Johnson, Robert Brewer, George Lee, Yongwen Xu, Carleton Moore and Michelle Katchuck

The Kukui Cup project investigates the use of 'meaningful play' to facilitate energy awareness, conservation and behavioral change. Each Kukui Cup Challenge combines real world and online environments in an attempt to combine information technology, game mechanics, educational pedagogy, and incentives in a synergistic and engaging fashion. We challenge players to: (1) acquire more sophistication about energy concepts and (2) experiment with new behaviors ranging from micro (such as turning off the lights or installing a CFL) to macro (such as taking energy-related courses, joining environmental groups, and political/social advocacy.)

To inform the design of the inaugural 2011 Kukui Cup, we relied heavily on prior collegiate energy competitions, of which there have been over 150 in the past few years. Published accounts of these competitions indicate that they achieve dramatic reductions in energy usage (a median of 22%) and cost savings of tens of thousands of dollars. In our case, the data collected from the 2011 Kukui Cup was generally in agreement, with observed energy reductions of up to 16% when using data collection and analysis techniques typical to these competitions. However, our analysis process caused us to look more closely at the methods employed to produce outcome data for energy competitions, with unexpected results.

We now believe that energy competitions make significant unwarranted assumptions about the data they collect and the way they analyze them, which calls into question both the accuracy of published results from this literature and their effectiveness as serious games. We believe a closer examination of these issues by the community can help improve the design not only of future energy challenges, but other similar forms of serious games for sustainability.

In this paper, we describe the Kukui Cup, the design myths it uncovered, and the fixes we propose to improve future forms of meaningful play with respect to energy in particular and serious games in general.

Paper 3

Dispensable, Tweakable, and Tangible Components: Supporting Socially negotiated Gameplay (Top Paper Award)
By: Gifford Cheung, Alison Lee, Kevin Cheng and Hae Jin Lee

Our paper examines a flexible approach to designing general game components inspired by traditional game components. Our goal is to design digital game systems that offer the players greater choice in dictating the rules, pacing, and sociability of a game session - we describe this as supporting socially negotiated gameplay. We employ five design principles to meet this goal: dispensability, live-tweakability, tangibility, mobility, and value. Our work demonstrates this approach with the design of an augmented playing card system composed of playing cards outfitted with NFC chips and a mobile device with three digital game components: a Card Viewer, a Score Board, and a Turn Keeper. We report on initial user sessions and articulate two emerging challenges for supporting socially negotiated play: (a) solving the interaction costs to enable greater flexibility and (b) managing user expectations for the automatic part of a manual-automatic system.

Paper 4

A model for creating simulated medical equipment in a situational gameplay context: The virtual ventilator
By: Marge Zielke, Judy Leflore, Valarie Broderick and Ryan Zeigler

Translating the proper use and settings of medical equipment into immersive gameplay that fulfills educational objectives presents multiple design challenges. This paper presents ten parameters for a model to create virtual medical equipment used in nursing education and other fields. Rationale behind virtual medical equipment simulation, as well as justification for the proposed model, based on lessons learned is included. The method for creating the model is explained by a two-part examination of the need for medical equipment simulation and the heuristics of the model itself. The model proposed is part of the design and research of an interactive course,, a full online curriculum for graduate nursing students seeking a nurse practitioner degree in neonatal healthcare. The data collection methods for quantification of learning objectives through gameplay in the virtual ventilator are also discussed as a mechanism to improve design. Conclusions about the model and future enhancements for validation and investigation are detailed.

How to Translate the Common Core State Standards into Meaningful Play

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Kathy Yu, Manager of Instructional Game Design, Classroom, Inc. (moderator and presenter)

Dan Norton, Creative Director, Filament Games

Jen Groff, Vice President of Learning & Program Development, Learning
Games Network

Tony Mai, NYC Middle School Teacher, JHS 259 William McKinley
DescriptionForty five states have now adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics must be in effect by the 2014-15 school year. The CCSS were developed to provide a clear and consistent understanding of what students in the United States are expected to learn to be successful in college and careers. The standards are rich and rigorous, challenging students to both raise their academic achievement and apply 21st century skills to the complex and global socio-economic environment they're growing up in.

The CCSS will be implemented at a time when instruction and curriculum are quickly evolving to meet students' real-world needs. This intersection of new standards and a new approach to curriculum and its delivery creates an unprecedented opportunity to offer academically rich material in whole new ways. That's where games come in.

This panel seeks to explore both the potential for innovation and the challenges the mandated CCSS present for educational content providers, game designers, and classroom teachers.

Key issues addressed in this panel include:

  • games in the public schools today: who uses them and how do they fit into classroom instruction

  • how games can challenge otherwise unengaged students to meet the CCSS-- and enjoy their achievements

  • supporting teachers--how games can assess and report students' performance on the CCSS

  • what game designers are learning about the CCSS--and what they are bringing to their implementation

  • what does gaming in the classroom really look like?

Examples to be discussed include Classroom, Inc.'s The Sports Network-2 and Learning Games Network's Lure of the Labyrinth.

Gaming for the Sake of Healthy Mind and Body

LocationGold B
Paper 1

Zombie Yoga - Subjective Game Design
By: Doris Rusch

This paper discusses the design process of "Zombie Yoga", a metaphorical, third-person, single-player Kinect game in which the player does Yoga poses to overcome emotional issues. The focus lies on the two main iterations the game underwent from its conception and initial design in the winter of 2010 to its completion in the summer of 2012. These iterations reflect a shift from a more objective, outward oriented approach to a subjective design approach that draws on personal life experiences and is informed by my own meaningful play with the game's main themes: loss, individuation and recovering playfulness. It explores how embracing subjectivity was the key to opening up the game's emotional range, increasing gameplay opportunities and facilitated the development of an uncompromisingly authentic and metaphorically rich experience that intends to provide meaningful play and emotional empowerment for players.

Paper 2

Accessorized Therapeutic Game Experiences for Tablets
By: Alex Restrepo, Jonathan Engelsma, Thomas Parker and John Farris

In the world of physical therapy, a number of consumer gaming devices have been used with various levels of success. Most commercially available video games are designed for the general population and are, in most cases, overwhelming and difficult for traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke patients to use. Specialized therapeutic medical devices are not only expensive and non-portable, they also make limited use of gamification techniques to better engage and motivate the patient. This paper examines the use of inexpensive, portable handheld devices, together with a custom sensor accessory in order to drive a set of therapist designed and configured, short video games. Games have been designed that are intended to elicit specific therapeutic movements from the patient, are customizable by the therapist for a given patient's needs, and also produce clinical output for the therapists to use. The games have been evaluated in clinics by physical therapists who treat TBI patients, and the results indicate our approach addresses the shortcomings therapists have experienced with prior attempts at gamification in physical therapy. Moreover, game controllability by the therapist has been identified as a key component in successfully gamifying treatment of TBI patients as it allows the therapist to customize the game experience to suit a patient's individual needs.

Paper 3

Will Violent Content in an Active Video Game Make You Move More Vigorously?
By: Wei Peng, Karin Pfeiffer and Brian Winn

The newest trends in video games are active video games or "exergames", which have the potential to convert the traditional "couch-potato" activity into non-sedentary activities. With the expanded genres of active video games, one inevitably raises the question of whether it is worthwhile to use active video games to promote physical activity if games involve violent themes, such as fighting and killing, which may have detrimental effects on players' aggression. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to explore the effects of different levels of violence in an active video game on a) state hostility, b) perceived arousal, c) game enjoyment, d) perceived effort in game, and e) activity intensity in game. In a one-factor between-subjects experiment with three conditions (low, moderate, and high violence) of playing an active video game, we did not find that the levels of violence have any effect on the outcome variables, although the moderate violence game resulted in a greater feeling of meanness among the players immediately after gameplay than the low violence game (p = .007) and the high violence game (p = .04).

Paper 4

Creating MindGamersTM: Building Communication, Design and Development Process with Clinicians, Game Faculty and Students
By: Stephen Jacobs, Laurence Sugarman and Robert Rice

In 2010, the authors began to meet to brainstorm design and play concepts for a therapeutic, physiologically controlled videogame intended for use by people diagnosed with anxiety and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The end goal of these explorations would be to create a game that would combine Dry Rice's work (Rice & Williams, 2011) in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Narrative Therapy and Dr. Sugarman's work (Wester & Sugarman, 2007, Sugarman 2000, Reaney, Sugarman, & Olness 1998) with psychophysiological self-regulation.
In the summer of 2011, the first of two 6-month waves of development began, funded by RIT's Office of Sponsored Research. Professor Jacobs led the recruitment of three student developers working full-time on co-op; Kenneth Stewart II, Ivy Ngo and Jack McDonald. Jacobs designed the production process to leave the first three months almost exclusively to research, conceptual design and physical prototyping. Much of the first six weeks was devoted to ensuring that the clinical team (Sugarman and Rice) and the development team (Stewart, Ngo and McDonald) achieved a common understanding of each other's roles and expertise and achieved a common understanding of the therapeutic and technical needs of the project. Approaches to achieving this shared understanding included clinical readings, team demo and play sessions of games, biofeedback sessions and game prototyping through role-playing.

The game concept that emerged from the initial design phase is "MindGamersTM In School." (MG). Gameplay in MG begins with Avatar creation. Based on Rice's therapeutic approach, three avatars are created. The first represents the player. When this avatar is finalized a duplicate of the avatar is then equipped with armor/costume and weapons or tools in a "utility belt." These represent the therapeutic tools the player is using in their actual day-to-day life to cope with stress, etc. So the "Sword of Sharp Intellect" (thinking through situations) or the "Pocket Watch of Slo Mo" (pausing and counting to five before acting) might be selected, named and then added to the avatar's utility belt by the player. This avatar becomes the "goal-directed imp" (gdimp) and represents the player's idealized self that is in control of their behaviors and thoughts. The third avatar created by the player, the problem-based imp (pbimp) represents their anxiety or compulsive behavior that they are working on with the therapist. In game the imps follow the player's avatar. The pbimp will work to get the player off-track and in-trouble. The gdimp will, under the right conditions, intercede and distract the pbimp from the player, allowing them to continue with their mission (for example, get to class on time) unhindered.

The right conditions are determined by the player's state as read by a NeXus 10 wireless transducer. It reads respiratory rate (RSP), peripheral skin temperature (TEMP), skin conductance (SCR) and blood volume pulse (BVP) as proxies for sympathetic nervous system arousal (SNA), which are then dynamically summed and represented as a Stressmeter on the game's display. The higher the stress, the more influence the pbimp has over the player's Avatar. As the player lowers her or his SNA, the gdimp is more able to intercede. So skills in physiological self-regulation as biofeedback are joined with cognitive behavior therapy in the gameplay.
From this process a first functional prototype emerged and the results of the initial patient usability studies and project timeline has been presented at the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Charlotte, March 2012 the International Meeting for Autism Research, Toronto, May 2012 and Games for Health, Boston, June 2012. The second phase of production, to develop a wider and deeper prototype, began in June of 2012 with McDonald staying on as a development team lead in the beginning and three new team members Mark Zimmerman, Bryan Gawinski and Megan Kushner, working on it through November.

Since the beginning of the process the team has been built as a three-legged stool. While it is often typical in university-based projects for one or more faculty to assume a "Sage on the Stage/Game Design Lead" role, in this case Jacobs has been much more of a "Guide on the Side/Game Producer" type of role, allowing the design and development to emerge more organically as a collaborative project between the clinical and development teams.

This paper will focus on the process of the MG's design and development process by looking at how the initial design period brought the game design to its current state and how it has influenced the production process.

Quest-Based Learning...Gamification in Schools

Presenter(s)Mark Suter, Boise State University
DescriptionBring your laptops and mobile devices as you will be working hands-on with the first quest-based gamification platform designed specifically for educators. Now in beta, 3D GameLab provides a centralized location for students to play through quests, earn badges, XP, level up, and unlock new content. This web app shares characteristics with popular MMO's that early research has shown brings students into the coveted state of "flow", indicated by increased engagement, focus, and productivity.

Educators create "quests" for students to choose from, which when completed, unlock the next step in a quest-chain, or a whole new group of quests. Each new quest can act as a "key quest" to open up new topics, or simply provide alternative routes to the same end goal, catering to personalized learning styles.
Educators also have the option to create their own quests from scratch, or clone and remix quests from the growing "armory" of hundreds of quests with Creative Commons licensing. Quests are also ISTE-NETS and common-core standards based, providing individual student progress indicators.

Developed at Boise State University by Drs. Lisa Dawley and Chris Haskell, 3D GameLab was designed to help educators turn their classroom into a living game. For reporting purposes, administrators can also view live tracking of how "players" are performing based on XP, time to completion, quests completed, visual bar indicators of which standards they are hitting or missing, and overall group statistics.

In this workshop:
* Experience "playing" through quests in a sample curriculum as a student.
* Uses of reward systems in Education (levels, XP, badges)
* Early research results on what works...and what doesn't.
* A look into two existing implementations (6th grade and college students).

Intended Audience:
* game educators
* students
* academic game researchers
* academic game designers and developers

Core Concepts/Skills:
* Potential applications of game mechanics to education
* gamification model that works with or without commercial games
* How to transition from existing curriculum to a quest-based format
* Existing research, and next steps

Friday, October 19, 2:00p-2:30p


Friday, October 19, 2:30p-3:30p

Let's Play - Together

Presenter(s)Scot Osterweil

Scot Osterweil is the Creative Director of the MIT Education Arcade and a research director in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He is a designer of award-winning educational games including the acclaimed Zoombinis series of math and logic games. He is a founding member, and Creative Director of the Learning Games Network where he leads the Hewlett Foundation's Open Language Learning Initiative (ESL). He has worked in both academic and commercial environments, and his work has focused on what is authentically playful in challenging academic subjects.

Jason Haas
DescriptionOsterweil will call upon a number of Education Arcade initiatives to discuss the inherent social nature of play and the integral role of collaboration in game play and learning. Osterweil will introduce three unique models of collaboration - distributed intelligence, networked public, and role-based. He will provide examples of these models of collaborative play, review their application to varied gaming environments, and their alignment to different types of learning objectives.

Referencing Vanished, a curated massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game conducted in collaboration with the Smithsonian during the spring of 2011, he will provide examples of the distributive intelligence model of collaboration including a game-based task requiring the participation of at least 99 different players each holding a unique string of characters making up a single coded message. Discussion of Lure of the Labyrinth, an award-winning online game resulting from a collaboration of FableVision, Maryland Public Television and the Education Arcade will provide an example of networked public collaborative play but will also provide data from a recent national middle grades math challenge in which students were required to play the game as members of a team to examine the effect of student collaboration on game play, development of peer-to-peer math dialogue, and problem-solving strategies. Osterweil will discuss the role-based collaboration embedded in The Radix Endeavor, an MMO currently under development to build math and science content knowledge and engagement among high school students. In Radix players have access and tools and game assets contingent upon their role in the game, e.g. geneticist, oncologist etc. Finally, Osterweil will engage participants in discussion of how these models and other models of collaboration might apply to their current work.

Games and Data: Between Design and Research

Paper 1

How's my driving? Modeling player navigation in the Games United League of BZFlag
By: John Paolillo

3D game environments require players to adapt to the environment and user interfaces, imposing psycho-motor, cognitive and strategic challenges, which players may adapt to in different ways. Navigation in a 3D game is therefore complex, so that any specific instance of player movement may involve features of the virtual space, game-world physics, user-interface controls, the player's goals and intentions, and responses to other players' actions. Moreover, different players or different types of players may have different approaches to navigation. To fully understand the skills players acquire for successful game play, we need a statistical model for navigation. This paper presents one approach to modeling navigation in which players' actions govern transitions in a network of driving states. The structure of this model is explained, and exemplified from data drawn from 2421 half-hour long official matches from the Games United League of BZFlag, an online multiplayer tank battle game. Extensions of the model to obstacle or threat avoidance, strategic goal attainment and individual navigation styles are also discussed.

Paper 2

That Game Is So Meta! An Open Source Tool for Gathering Metadata through Games
By: Mary Flanagan, Peter Carini and Geoff Kaufman

Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution and its interpretation.
~ Jacques Derrida

A lack of quality metadata is a key problem encountered by libraries and archives as these institutions strive to 'go digital.' We have created Metadata Games, an open-source, customizable software system that uses computer games to collect information about archival images As cultural institutions digitize millions of items across national collections, games offers a unique advantage for collecting metadata because they can entice users who might not normally visit archives to explore humanities content. In the process of play, participants can have fun while contributing to vital records. Crowdsourcing can produce huge numbers of new tags: for example, with just five minutes of play per day by 1,000 visitors from around the globe, thousands of tags can be produced, if we are to follow the calculations of computer scientist Luis von Ahn. Therefore, a game approach that attracts participants to a site and facilitates tagging in an enjoyable way could revolutionize the process of building and expanding an institution's knowledge base. Players can work in a wide-scale, distributed fashion to collect much more metadata than a typical archives staff member could contribute alone in the same timeframe.

In the design of the Metadata Games project, the challenge has been to develop a software system that is able to entice participation and reward contributors for offering accurate information while at the same time providing an easy way for archivists and data managers at cultural institutions to interface with, and use, the data--all at little to no cost.

We will share design challenges and insights as well as the findings and recommendations from our pilot study, which verified the novel contributions offered by users of MG and yielded a level of output higher than other archival crowdsourcing experiments such as the Library of Congress Flickr project. We shall then discuss the technological backend that helps us manage crowdsourcing.

We'll demonstrate three very different designs and how they work to collect data-- two single-player activities and a competitive two-player game. The games all feature archival images in some way and prompt various types of descriptors from players, whether players are competing with each other, giving each other clues, or simply casually entering data to gather up points for entries. We'll also spend time showing how players can verify each other's entries through play and reduce errors or pranks that could disrupt the system.

We emphasize that the system, even at an early stage of development, evokes (and is informed by) critical and theoretical questions concerning collections, data, and design. In our project we endeavor to discover how games can foster a curiosity about the humanities, motivate players to delve deeper into subjects, and diversify the types of knowledge that can be crowdsourced.

Games offer great promise for humanities and archival scholarship by uniting the culture of the archive with a diverse player base, including researchers, hobbyists, and gamers.

Paper 3

Data-driven design in social gaming: Community perceptions in a shifting landscape of code and information
By: Florence Chee, Peter Chow-White and Richard Smith

A major design trend in the gaming industry over the last half a decade is the growing popularity of social gaming amongst a myriad of audiences with vastly differing tastes and sensibilities. Social network games present an unprecedented level of complexity in the layering of applications on social networking sites, such as the game Farmville or Cityville on Facebook. These games have been criticized for their lack of actual game value by more established game designers, and we are increasingly becoming aware of the issues associated with linking one's online/offline social grid when engaging in matters of personal entertainment. In our investigation of this emergent and increasingly sophisticated industry, we explore the shifting contours of this phenomenon that implicates powerful data mining practices, as well as the social tensions between business, art and design.

Is there any truth to the provocative assertion that, "An MBA can now design a game better than an art school grad?" Through an ongoing series of in-depth interviews with a handful of executive level members of the globalized production of social games, we are only at the beginning of an exploration of how the very nature of data-driven social gaming has created a point of contention between ideas of these games as artistic, technical, and ideological artifacts. The interviews conducted for this project were semi-structured containing three sections on the relationship between social gaming and social media, role of data mining, and emerging trends in data mining user generated content, according to the viewpoints of our research participants. We also use the additional insights gathered from observations and informal interviews with stakeholders at industry meetings, such as conferences and social games events. Some of the topics under investigation considered their work experiences before arriving in their present role in social games, in which types of data they were interested, and current struggles in the gaming industry as it pertains to social gaming, design, and business objectives.

While the initial research design focused on the themes surrounding social gaming and data mining, this tension between game design and business imperatives became increasingly prominent in our data, causing us to probe further into this emerging theme for this paper. We found it helpful to draw upon Shoshana Zuboff (1988), who described the effect of the integration of computers into the workplace and the automation of information tasks. According to her, "when the technology also informates the processes to which it is applied, it increases the explicit information content of tasks and sets in motion a series of dynamics that will ultimately reconfigure the nature of work and the social relationships that organize productive activity" (p.11). What is significant about this sociotechnical shift in power from information-to-data, inspiration-to-calculation, is how these practices have become simultaneously opaque and yet continue to uncover more debates in game studies.

This paper synthesizes the debates between the viewpoints of game designers as well as the more fatalistic prerogatives of an increasingly systematized practice of creativity and commerce through social games. Under significant consideration here is the increasingly prominent role of data in driving the game design, and how the games industry in flux is changing its attitudes and practices in development, distribution, and production. What do these practices mean for the future of the games industry, and the gamers who manifest in design data?

Paper 4

Game Data Piracy: How Players Abduct Data in Order to Transform their Gameplay Experiences
By: Ben Medler

Capturing personal data has increased in virtually all areas of our society as it becomes easier to monitor our activities digitally using automatic telemetric systems found both online and within our physical surroundings (Baker, 2009; Solove, 2007). This fact holds true, as well, for monitoring and recording entertainment-based activities such as playing digital games. Most major game publishers and developers track players during gameplay and capture personal player data (Bell et al., 2011; Blackhurst , 2011; Zoeller, G., 2010). Sometimes this personal data is related to recording game purchases or a player's demographic information. Other times developers seek to capture a player's personal gameplay behavior, hoping to analyze the data in order to understand how players are experiencing a game. This means overtime game developers end up with large pools of data that describe how players are both purchasing and playing games, and developers attempt to leverage that data to support a game's development or support a game after it has launched.

One practice game developers employ to leverage their pools of player data is to disseminate that data back to players. Developers often produce online applications or systems to present a player's personal game data for players to investigate (Bungie LLC, 2010; CCP, 1997; S2 Games 2010). These online systems provide players with access to portions of their game data, which is usually aggregated and used to compare to other players (Lewis and Wardrip-Fruin, 2010; Medler, 2011). Player data presented through these systems may include achievements, high scores, in-game events, group affiliation, avatar summaries, etc. In other words, players are given access to data from their own gameplay that is automatically captured for them and is made part of the overall experience they have with the game through these additional data-driven online systems.

Players are, however, not always satisfied with the systems or data that is ultimately provided to them by game developers. Player data disseminated by a developer may be limited to simple statistics (such as a leaderboard) or may not exist at all if a developer does not provide players with easy access to game data. In these cases, some players take it upon themselves to build their own systems for capturing, presenting and analyzing their own game data. These systems include those built to:

A) Repurpose data made available through a developer in different ways (Bell et al., 2011; Gerstmann and Davis, 2008).
B) Tap into games during their run time in order to capture data locally or analyze data through processing data files like saved games (Sc2gears, 2010; Terraria Map Viewer, 2011; UOX3, 1996).
C) Capture game data manually through crowd-sourcing or other methods (Huber, 2010; Krush DarkGod (alias) and Urme TheLegend (alias), 2009; Wowhead, 2006).

Although, like other participatory practices related to repurposing game-related data (e.g. game modding and machinima), repurposing or capturing data outside the scope of what game developers provide players may be in violation of End User License Agreements (EULAs) and other terms of service statements that many developers force players to agree to before playing a game. This means players who wish to reuse their own personal player data, or any type of game-related data, can be considered data pirates in the eyes of game developers, stealing or reverse engineering data without consent.

In this article the authors explore what it means to be a game data pirate and how players are abducting data from games in order to alter how they experience and play games. Modern piracy is often viewed as a practice where anonymous "pirates" copy and distribute intellectual property through physical means or online (Dames, 2009). Little attention is paid to the rising trend of how data captured for data analytic or tracking purposes is being copied and distributed in a similar fashion. In reference to games, data piracy is not simply an act of copying or distributing media but is an act where players abduct data, which they typically had a hand in creating, to transform how they approach their gameplay. From "replay analyzers" that meticulously dissect a player's gameplay (Sc2gears, 2010) to "content databases" that divulge every last bit of information about a game's items and levels (Wowhead, 2006) players are continuously using data in novel ways, beyond what game developers provide. This article describes the novel 'pirate' systems that currently exist, speak with current players building these systems and discuss what these 'pirate' systems mean in terms of developing games in our increasingly data-driven society.

Gaming for the Greater Good

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Jackie Kaufman, Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology, The University of Michigan

David Chesney, Electrical Eng. and Computer Science Dept, The University of Michigan
DescriptionThis presentation will describe the collaborative effort of the College of Engineering and Health System at the University of Michigan to establish an ecosystem for computer game development for persons with cognitive and physical disabilities. The seeds for the efforts were planted in the 1011 academic year by focusing on persons with Cerebral Palsy. The efforts blossomed during the 2011-2012 academic year when students focused on creating software games for children with autism.

'Meaningful' Play might be described in two contexts. The first is meaningful to the player. The second is meaningful to diagnosticians whose goal is to assess status and offer therapy to children with physical and cognitive and physical disabilities. The efforts described in this presentation address the second context, while not necessarily ignoring the first.

Specifically, all games developed in the Gaming for the Greater Good (G3) initiative have an explicit goal of assessing or treating some physical or cognitive disability. During the 2010-2011 academic year, a group of students in a senior level software engineering course built an iPad app for persons with Cerebral Palsy to send and receive texts and emails. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the focus was shifted to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Focus for the upcoming academic year is on facial feature tracking, measuring limb joint angles, and cognitive assessment of patients without the ability to speak.

This work involved a collaborative effort between UM CoE, UM Health Systems, and Microsoft Corporation. Each sub team brought a unique contribution to the overall effort:
  • Microsoft Corporation: donated Microsoft Kinect sensors and supplied expertise related to the software development environment;
  • UM Health Systems: provided expertise on autism, advice on efficacy of diagnosis and treatment methods, and provided volunteer test subjects to play the games;
  • UM CoE: developed software games and apps.

To date, the collaborative effort has been a huge success over 30 games and apps have been ported from the CoE to UM Health Systems, approx. 6 students have internships jointly administered by the CoE and Health Systems, and we are currently pursuing incorporation and intellectual property protection on some of the inventions to ensure future growth.

This presentation will focus on example games that have already been developed, as well as future plans. Perhaps more importantly, we will discuss how to build a rich 'ecosystem' in which student teams can develop meaningful games for assessment and treatment of cognitive and physical disabilities.

Games: Legal, Economic, and Policy Insights

LocationParlor C
Paper 1

Fighting a New Monster: Tracing DRM Issues in Diablo 3
By: Dean Holden

In this paper, I describe the design of gaming experiences within various types of digital rights management (DRM) systems, primarily via a case study of Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 3. Recent technological implementations have enforced policies at odds with best practices for consumer-based gaming. Because of these policies, new methods for distribution, enforcement, and avoidance are colliding within gaming ecosystems - often at the expense of the user experience. While much of the discussion focuses on Diablo 3, the game itself is not the paper's primary focus. Diablo 3 is, however, a particularly illustrative case study for the much larger issue of how DRM changes users' gaming experiences - typically for the worse. Although the implementation of DRM is typically presented as an attempt at a positive move on the legal and business side of distribution, I present it here as an overwhelmingly negative move for user experience. To illustrate this, I intend to point out how the documented problems with Diablo 3's launch can be traced back to its DRM system, discuss the consequences of these problems by following consumer reaction, and also suggest less-invasive alternatives to current DRM implementation in video games.

Paper 2

Endless Supply? An Ecocritical Perspective on Crafting and Resources in Minecraft
By: Kristopher Purzycki

As seen in The Progress & Freedom Foundation's Magna Carta, early prospectors of the wealth to be had in an economy founded on immaterial, information-based goods nonetheless relied on the language of Nature and ecological themes for describing their motivations. The authors of this libertarian stance evoke a distinctly American rhetoric fueled by notions of exploration, discovery, and of conquest to perpetuate an ideology of Third Wave dominion over the "digital frontier." Another branch of American philosophy, however, is positioned as counteractive to this utilitarian view.

Although their preservationist tenets might seem familiar, Ecocriticism has only recently transcended literary origins to attract multidisciplinary regard and participation. Ecocritics such as Camilo Gomides have urged an expansion of scope to accommodate other art forms, such as film, worth examining from an ecological standpoint. Despite this earnest intention, however, little ecologically-grounded theory has approached computer gaming or explored how virtual worlds perpetuate the hegemonization of natural utilitarianism.

When employed by game designers, Nature is most likely rendered as a degeneration of the dominant technology - as the intrusive rust and decay. On the rare occasion when actually distinguished as an interactive entity within these digital playgrounds, Nature is typically portrayed as a malevolent force to be defeated (often as a result of humanity's trifling). While this trend certainly continues, both casual and serious gamers are increasingly being offered games that rely on a virtual industrialism based on the extraction and repurposing of raw materials. This digital reduction of Nature as a tool necessary only for the survival and success of the player evokes the mythicized early American pioneer, exploring the unknown in search of resources that will ensure survival or wealth. Given the temporal condition of the digital, how do we employ ecocritical concerns towards the preservation of the environment as well as the the overarching concerns for subsequent generations?
Released to the public in 2009, Mojang's Minecraft is played across the globe, having recently approached the landmark 5-millionth unit sold. Playing the game in single-person mode positions the isolated player within an implicitly endless ecology constructed of 8-bit rendered materials; survival and success within a world of near-limitless freedom demands that the land be excavated, harvested, and exploited for material goods. In a digital realm where players are motivated by exploration and this utilitarian harnessing of the landscape's natural resources, Minecraft provides an ideal platform for application of an Ecocritical criteria.

Utilizing ecologically-grounded sensitivities, I will examine Minecraft as the epitome of a computer game genre that necessitates crafting as the primary economic expression of time and resource management. Once this analysis has been procured, the ecological attitudes derived from Minecraft will be compared to other popular computer games that utilize the same resource-based economy such as Blizzard's multiplayer World of Warcraft and Zynga's social games Farmville and Castleville. Once the criteria of eco-utilitarianism is spotlighted within these virtual worlds, further research into these implications and whether the player's relationship with Nature - real and digital - may proceed.

Paper 3

The Commodification of Play in Diablo 3 - Understanding the Real Money Market Place
By: Patrick Prax

This paper critically analyzes the real money market place, a feature of the game Diablo 3. To do so I compare the concepts of the audience commodity, prosumption, produsage and playbour to the model of Diablo's real money market place. The paper uses existing research about real-money trade, grinding, and other phenomena that lead to a discussion of the difference between work and play. The term "prosumption" is a combination of production and consumption (Ritzler, 2010:13). A concept similar to the "prosumer" who is consuming and producing at the same time is the "prosumer", a user who is producing a community or service while and through using it. "The concept of produsage is such a term: it highlights that within the communities which engage in the collaborative creation and extension of information and knowledge that we examine in this book, the role of 'consumer' and even that of 'end user' have long disappeared, and the distinctions between producers and users of content have faded into comparative insignificance. In many of the spaces we encounter here, users are always already necessarily also producers of the shared knowledge base, regardless of whether they are aware of this role-they have become a new, hybrid, produser"( Bruns, 2008:2). Kuecklich uses the concept playbour to discuss modding and player-created content and compares it to open source development (Kuecklich, 2005). In a similar way Goggin describes playbour as "'farming' and 'grinding' in 'virtual sweatshops' where workers are engaged in producing virtual items for sale on the internet for low wages"(Goggin, 2011).

The model of the real money market place is not totally described by any of the used concepts. Instead it is a hybrid that touches on all of the concepts but becomes something more than each one of them. The increase of the game and of the market place through the participation of other players is well described with prosumption and produsage. The act of creating virtual items through repeatedly killing monster to then sell the items to other players fits well into the notion of playbour. The structuring of leisure time according to labor models is a part of the model of the audience commodity and the working audience. The income from the market place that Blizzard seems to be expecting is not generated by Blizzard or their work but it originates in the work and the interactions of the players. This system of trading virtual goods for real money is not only exploiting the players by putting them to work to generate profits for the company. It also organizes the whole game world, culture, and play activity according to the logic of accumulating capital.

Using interview, participant observation and online media this paper then explains the consequences of this feature on the game and the emerging game culture of Diablo. The inclusion of real money trade as a central feature of the game leads to a structuring of the entire game, play, and game culture according to a labor and production paradigm that results in a commodification of play. The commodification of human attention that is sold to advertisers by private for-profit media broadcasters like television channels and the resulting introduction of a capitalist logic in our spare-time is not new (Jhally, 1986; Smythe, 2001). This logic has since been used to describe and analyze even digital media and web 2.0 services that exploit user participation to make a profit. This paper expends this line of thinking to digital games in general and the game Diablo 3 (Blizzard Entertainment, 2012) in particular.

"How do you know what you know?" : An Assessment Working Group for learning games

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Jennifer Groff, Alex Chisholm, Kurt Squire, Dan Norton, Karina Linch and Matt Gaydos
DescriptionDetermining what a student has learned is just a part of the teaching and learning equation. But now more than ever, assessment mechanisms are a critical element to learning games--not to mention a sizable barrier to their implementation and adoption at scale. In July of 2012, researchers and designers from Filament Games, BrainPOP, and the Learning Games Network formed a working group to tackle the assessment challenge head on and explore ways to streamline the assessment process for learning games, and develop methodologies for pushing this area of work forward.

In this panel, we will present our work thus far and the projects that have ensued within each, as well as amongst, these three organizations. We will then invite the audience into discussion on this challenge and add to the conversation on how to move this work forward as a field.

Motivation, Engagement, and Enjoyment during Gameplay

LocationGold B
Paper 1

Leveling Up: Game Enjoyment Threshold Model and Player Feedback on the Design of a Serious Game
By: Hua Wang, Marientina Gotsis, Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, Donna Spruijt-Metz and Thomas Valente

With the advent of gaming technologies, more visibly successful applications, the
increase of evidence on game effectiveness, and accumulated knowledge about game design principles and strategies, an emerging field of "serious games" is gaining momentum (Sawyer, 2009; Lieberman, 2009). Serious games are games developed with serious content or purposes beyond pure entertainment, such as games for learning, training, health promotion, and social change (Michael & Chen, 2005; Ritterfeld, Cody, & Vorderer, 2009). Although ever since the early days, game designers and developers have been working with experts from various disciplines and create meaningful game applications, it has been a great challenge to make serious games as seriously fun and engaging as commercially successful games (Shen, Wang, & Ritterfeld, 2009). In this paper, we first provide a brief review of theoretical efforts in understanding game enjoyment and the proposal of a game enjoyment threshold model. We then report how this model was applied in the feasibility study of a serious game. The empirical data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews and the transcripts were subsequently content coded in Atlas ti. Our empirical findings support the general framework of the threshold model and offer nuanced insights into the factors that influence gamers' play experience.

Paper 2

The Use of Video Game Achievements to Enhance Player Performance, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation
By: Lucas Blair

A taxonomy of achievement design features in video game systems was created in order to evaluate the current state of the art in achievement design. The taxonomy proposed multiple mechanisms that influence player behavior. These mechanisms led to a theoretical model that served as a source of hypotheses related to improving performance, self-efficacy and motivation in players. Specific aspects of this theoretical model (expected, unexpected, before-performance and after-performance and incremental achievements) were tested in an empirical study. In addition to testing individual mechanisms of action a "combined achievement" was created with multiple mechanisms that were hand-picked. The results of the study revealed that individual mechanisms of action had little effect on players; while multiple mechanisms in a combined achievement caused significant improvements in several categories. The limitations of the current study as well as plans for future study are also discussed.

Paper 3

Understanding Engagement in Educational Computer Games
By: Fiona Nah, Yunjie Zhou, Adeline Boey and Hanji Li

This paper presents an empirical study to understand engagement in educational computer games. Engagement is defined as an experience that occupies an individual's attention and captures one's interest. The nature of engagement is viewed as comprising conditions, actions, and outcomes of engagement. The data collection method includes in-depth interviews with 12 educational computer game players who have experienced engagement in playing these games. We use the Grounded Theory (GT) approach to develop an understanding of user engagement in the computer game-based learning context.

Quest-Based Learning...Gamification in Schools

Presenter(s)Mark Suter, Boise State University
DescriptionBring your laptops and mobile devices as you will be working hands-on with the first quest-based gamification platform designed specifically for educators. Now in beta, 3D GameLab provides a centralized location for students to play through quests, earn badges, XP, level up, and unlock new content. This web app shares characteristics with popular MMO's that early research has shown brings students into the coveted state of "flow", indicated by increased engagement, focus, and productivity.

Educators create "quests" for students to choose from, which when completed, unlock the next step in a quest-chain, or a whole new group of quests. Each new quest can act as a "key quest" to open up new topics, or simply provide alternative routes to the same end goal, catering to personalized learning styles.
Educators also have the option to create their own quests from scratch, or clone and remix quests from the growing "armory" of hundreds of quests with Creative Commons licensing. Quests are also ISTE-NETS and common-core standards based, providing individual student progress indicators.

Developed at Boise State University by Drs. Lisa Dawley and Chris Haskell, 3D GameLab was designed to help educators turn their classroom into a living game. For reporting purposes, administrators can also view live tracking of how "players" are performing based on XP, time to completion, quests completed, visual bar indicators of which standards they are hitting or missing, and overall group statistics.

In this workshop:
* Experience "playing" through quests in a sample curriculum as a student.
* Uses of reward systems in Education (levels, XP, badges)
* Early research results on what works...and what doesn't.
* A look into two existing implementations (6th grade and college students).

Intended Audience:
* game educators
* students
* academic game researchers
* academic game designers and developers

Core Concepts/Skills:
* Potential applications of game mechanics to education
* gamification model that works with or without commercial games
* How to transition from existing curriculum to a quest-based format
* Existing research, and next steps

Friday, October 19, 3:30p-4:00p


Friday, October 19, 4:00p-5:00p

Transforming Public Participation in Science Through Games


Kurt SquireKurt Squire is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Educational Communications and Technology division of Curriculum and Instruction and Associate Director for Educational Research and Development at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Squire's research investigates the design of game-based learning environments from a socio-cultural perspective, and he's the author of over 75 scholarly works. Recently Squire received an NSF CAREER grant to study scientific citizenship through playing Citizen Science, a role playing game for scientific citizenship. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, Squire also produced ARIS, a mobile learning platform that is currently available on iTunes. Squire is a former Montessori and primary school teacher and was co-director of the Education Arcade. Squire is the vice president and a founding member of the Learning Games Network.

Squire earned his doctorate in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University; his dissertation research examined students' learning through a game-based learning program he designed around Civilization III. Squire co-founded with Jon Goodwin and wrote a monthly column with Henry Jenkins for Computer Games Magazine. In addition to writing over 75 scholarly articles and book chapters, he has given dozens of talks and invited addresses in North America, Europe, and Asia. Squire's current research interests center on the impact of contemporary gaming practices on learning, schooling and society.

DescriptionAs Digital Media and Learning matures as a field and Digital game-based learning matures as a set of pedagogical approaches, evidence is starting to form about how and when game-based learning works best and in what contexts. This presentation argues for one model of such games -- games for participatory science -- in which games are used to create interest and springboard learners toward opportunities for authentic participation. This presentation presents several games developed and under research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Games + Learning + Society in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, and focuses on emerging models of game play and new techniques for assessment. It concludes with thoughts on how we might construct more effective game develop teams and research processes.

Friday, October 19, 5:00p-7:00p

Dinner Break (on your own)
NOTE: KIXEYE is hosting a Happy Hour at Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub from 5:15-6:15pm.

DescriptionDinner is not provided. Take this time to socialize with your fellow conference attendees while enjoying the many dining venues within the East Lansing and Lansing area.

NOTE: KIXEYE is hosting a happy hour at Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub (131 Albert Ave.) from 5:15-6:15pm. All attendees are welcome to come.

Friday, October 19, 7:00p-9:30p

"Indie Game: The Movie" Screening and Developers Discussion

DescriptionGet a snapshot into the trials and tribulations of an indie game developer in the screening of the Sundance Award Winning documentary, "Indie Game: the Movie".

After the movie will be a panel of game developers to discuss the ups and downs of their own experiences developing games. Included on the panel are:

Michael John, Electronic Arts/GlassLabs
Tobi Saulnier, 1st Playable
Jared Riley, KIXEYE
Andrew Dennis, Adventure Club Games

The panel will be moderated by Michigan State University Assistant Professor Casey O'Donnell.

Popcorn and light snacks will be provided.

The event takes place in room 147 of the Communication Arts & Sciences Building, located at 404 Wilson Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824. You can walk to the building from the MSU Union. It is a 10 to 15 minute walk across campus. Conference Associates will be around to help folks navigate across campus.

If you prefer to drive, parking is available around the building. After 6pm, you can park in Faculty/Staff parking (but not University Reserved Spaces).

This event is sponsored by the Media Sandbox.

Saturday, October 20, 8:00a-9:00a

Registration Check-In and Continental Breakfast

LocationLobby (2nd floor of the MSU Union)
DescriptionThe registration table is outside of the ballroom on the second floor of the MSU Union building.

The breakfast sponsor is the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University.

Saturday, October 20, 9:00a-10:00a

Games for Persuasion: Argumentation, Procedurality, and the Lie of Gamification


John FerraraJohn Ferrara is the creative director of Megazoid Games and author of the new book Playful Design. His nutrition education game Fitter Critters was a top prizewinner in the Apps for Healthy Kids contest, an initiative of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign. John's professional background is in software user experience design and his educational background is in film; today he is a forceful advocate for holistic integration across multiple disciplines concerned with the construction of human experiences. He believes that games can effect meaningful change in the real world, that game designers are permanently transforming culture, and that play is a fundamental function of life. You can follow John on Twitter at @playfuldesign.

DescriptionThe greatest threat to the success of serious games is inattention to the quality of the player experience. The gamification fad endorses a canard that games can be strip-mined for "useful" bits that, when tacked onto conventional applications, should be expected to have the same effects as true games. This lie exposes a disdain for play and an incapacity to perceive games themselves as useful and worthwhile endeavors. Inevitably, this approach leads to thoughtless design and miserable experiences.

Creating games that achieve great things in the real world while remaining enjoyable experiences instead requires working with the prodigious strengths inherent to the medium. This presentation will dive deeply into one such strength, exploring how the native procedurality of video games makes them a potentially ideal way to persuade people to adopt a particular point of view. It will cover the history and modern theory (Bogost, 2007) of persuasive games, offer guidelines for crafting arguments based in gameplay, and present a case study of the design of a persuasive game.

Saturday, October 20, 10:00a-10:15a


Saturday, October 20, 10:15a-11:15a

Play or Playful: Development Strategies for Applied Game Design

Presenter(s)Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Productions, leads a development studio that has created such hit games such as Club Penguin for the Nintendo DS, Ben 10 DS, Disney Princess DS, and a number of other DS games designed for very specific demographics. The studio also creates educational titles, and specializes in audience centric design.
DescriptionAs games as a media is applied to education, health, and other domains, the game designer is often faced how to apply game mechanics to the demands of specific curriculum progression, and inevitably a constructive conflict over whether the result is "fun." The appeal of game mechanics can be lost to subject matter experts who are looking for increased engagement without added complexity. This talk looks at a range of purposeful games and the evolution of each from "Make a game for this topic!" to an end product that might be quite different than what a game developer (or gamer) would consider a game. The balance between play and playful is presented as a distinction that can facilitate design efforts early on in the process, and game techniques are identified that apply to either. This approach can improve transfer of game media to the array of applications it is being called on to address.

Real examples are used for this discussion based on the experience of the team at 1st Playable Productions. 1st Playable Productions is a development studio which creates both entertainment and educational games, with partners ranging from Disney, to LeapFrog, to research organizations. Serious games the studio has created address topics ranging from reading, math, science, writing, physical rehabilitation, and cognitive bias.

Innovation in Game Design

Paper 1

Incorporating Coherent Terrain Types into Story-Driven Procedural Maps
By: Elizabeth Matthews and Brian Malloy

We present a system for procedurally generating a map for a story-driven game, where locations in the map are assigned algorithmically or by designer preference. In addition, we also generate terrain, together with climate to match the terrain, with smooth, coherent transitions between terrain exhibiting different weather. We summarize weather approximations using a tuple to represent conditions such as temperature and humidity. We then exploit our previous work in map construction by placing locations of interest in the story on the map and then build a terrain boundary map that determines the boundaries between ranges of tuple values that belong to specific terrain types. We complete our construction by combining the climate map with a terrain type lookup, producing a final map with cohesive terrains. We describe the implementation of our system and illustrate the construction with some procedurally generated maps, including the procedural generation of the Narshe/Figaro area from Final Fantasy VI.

Paper 2

Information Seeking Behaviour and Failure in First Person Shooters
By: Andy Keenan

This paper analyzes first-person shooter interfaces from an information seeking behaviour framework. Information seeking behaviour proposes that individuals pose information queries to bridge gaps in their knowledge. These cognitive gaps occur in daily life and normally involve processes outside the standard model of information retrieval (like searching a library catalogue). Individuals attempt to gather information to overcome these cognitive gaps using a variety of approaches from using the Internet to reading a book to consulting with a friend. This cognitive gap model is similar to challenges in video games. Players encounter challenges that requires a series of decisions to complete. To overcome these challenges or cognitive gaps, players must gather information and create a strategy to solve the challenge. The information presented in a video game assists players to overcome cognitive gaps and complete challenges. As the first-person shooter genre develops, the type of information presented in the interface has changed. This paper conducts a historical analysis of FPS interfaces and documents their development as information sources. This paper finds that FPS interfaces have provided players with increasing amounts of information to help them overcome challenges and bridge cognitive gaps. In modern FPS games like Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, information is provided during moments of failure and provides rich encounters to help players bridge their cognitive gaps. This paper concludes that failure provides a unique instance for players to learn from their mistakes and bridge cognitive gaps in their strategy. Games (other than first-person shooters) can use failure as a teachable moment and incorporate failure as an information seeking behaviour instance.

Paper 3

Concept Model for designing engaging and motivating games for learning - The Smiley-model
By: Charlotte Larke Weitze and Rikke Orngreen

The desire to use learning games in education is increasing, but the development of games for learning is still a growing field. Research shows that it remains difficult to develop learning games that are both instructive and engaging, although it is precisely the presence of these two elements that is believed to be an advantage when using learning games in education. In this paper the Smiley-model is presented (figure 1). The model describes which parameters and elements are important when designing a learning game. The present research is a result of a case-based action research study for designing a music learning game that teaches children to play piano using sheet music, and at the same time is fun and engaging. Although the model was originally developed for and through music, it has a more generic nature, and may be relevant for other fields as well. The Smiley-model is a condensed version of a design manual developed in a Master's thesis (Weitze, 2011), created on the basis of theoretical and empirical analysis, and is currently being applied to other research projects. The research concerning design for learning was carried out with an analysis of specific and general learning theory. Furthermore, theories about children, culture and media, as well as empirical analysis of the writers' own music-teaching practice were investigated. Motivation and engagement in music learning games was investigated through: 1) an analysis of various theoretical and empirical approaches to implementing learning in a learning game, 2) study of motivational theories, 3) analysis of theory of play and existing experiences on dissemination of learning in games in fun ways 4) analysis of motivating and engaging game elements, and 5) analysis of similar music learning games. During an iterative design process, the design manual was used for development of various prototypes of the learning game concept. This happened through action research in collaboration with the users, in participatory design workshops, combined with observation, qualitative interviews, and peer reviews. Through empirical studies and design development, it was possible to add new aspects to the design manual, resulting in the Smiley-model. The Smiley-model is now proving useful as a combination of a heuristic and an inspirational tool (more flexible and contextual than static), when designing engaging learning games, and gamified learning environments.

Paper 4

The Deduction Engine: Adapting the Holmesian Method into a Computer Game
By: William Hart

The purpose of the paper is to propose an innovative method for adapting the Holmesian method of deduction into a video game. When reading or watching Sherlock Holmes stories, and other similar fiction, the reader or viewer follows passively along with Holmes' deductive process. In an interactive computer game, however, where the player is the detective, the player must actively detect themselves. But, how to design a game that allows for the player to follow the Holmesian method?

The game and game design proposed in the paper is an attempt to provide an entertaining adventure, but with a serious purpose. The proposed game would stimulate in the player critical thinking and logic skills and help a player gain new knowledge relevant to the crime being investigated. The design of the game draws upon relevant scholarly literature in adaptation and philosophy of logic to offer an innovative technique for implementing a Holmesian detection engine.

The game (or interactive fiction) is in an early stage of development, but a part of the game is playable and enough of the deduction engine concepts are developed to be able to discuss and evaluate progress so far. The part of the game completed serves as a test, a proof of concept.

Mouth Sticks to Full Control - Design and Control Considerations for Multi-Level Accessibility in Mobile Games

LocationParlor A
Presenter(s)Eric Maslowski and Michelle Meade
DescriptionWithin the game development industry there exist multiple levels of accessibility with each often tailored towards a specific function. Those with spinal cord injury can exhibit a wide range of physical limitations. These limitations often reflect their level of injury and can include everything from full use of their arms and hands to complete loss of motor control. This presents unique design challenges when deciding on control schemes, user interaction, pacing, and general difficulty.

In this session attendees will learn about common issues those with motor impairment face with mobile games such as: varying touch speed/accuracy, limited access to the full screen, spasms, difficulty with long swipes, knuckle drag, etc. Using SCI-Hard, a mobile game aimed at behavioral change among spinal cord injury patients, as context the session will introduce the "Five Guidelines of Accessible Design" used during development of the game. Such guidelines include: Single action mechanics, favoring cognitive challenges over reflex, short swipes to increase accuracy, single taps vs. double taps, and knowing where the line is. Concrete examples of each, what additional development and design challenges accompany them, and exceptions to the guidelines will be discussed.

Participants will walk away with a strong understanding of common limitations found with this demographic, design guidelines and control schemes they can implement in their own projects, and a sense of how designing games with accessibility in mind can increase your audience.

Play Strategies in Liberal Education

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Lindsay Grace, Brooke Spangler, Shira Chess and Peter Jamieson
DescriptionThe panel provides practicable heuristics from game educators integrating play into college courses. Beyond the practice of offering game-like evaluation systems, the faculty demonstrate their success and failures in everything from the basics of substituting papers for game designs to converting game reluctance to game enthusiasm. The panel offers a multi-disciplinary set of perspectives on integrating game activities in non-game curriculum.

This panel distinctly addresses a few common challenges:

  • Teaching the non-gamer through games:
    A collection of observations and tips about working within a student body that may be reluctant to participate in ludic educational experiences.

  • Adopting an experimental gameplay culture:
    Practical experiences in encouraging students to understand their creative practice as play, including embracing failure as an important educational experience.

  • Stepping into new magic circles:
    Examples of engaging students in non-familiar game types and genres.

  • "Inciting" the game designer in non-design students:
    The pedagogic practice of helping students to understand the balance of designed structured with the freedom of play and inspiring creative sparks through exposure, argument and critical gaming.

  • How to speak the same language:
    The distinct lexicon of games can quickly create a rich environment for discussion, or leave those who don't know it feeling inarticulate and isolated. The panelists talk about how they have addressed this challenge.

  • What its worth:
    In an economic environment where many students are focused on their job games can seem irrelevant to "serious" endeavors. The panelist discuss helping profession focused students understand how game studies and design apply to their future endeavors.

The panel includes experienced faculty from Art, Psychology, Communications and Engineering. It includes examples of student work and the assignments that inspired them. Educators and students seeking to expand the role of games in their curriculum will find this panel very useful. It also highlights the challenges of incorporating game curriculum into non- game curriculum and offers proven methods for success.

The panel will conclude with audience discussion.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Web Experience

LocationGold B

Jan StecJan Stec is a Game Designer at Schell Games in Pittsburgh, where he helps create fun, compelling experiences for all audiences. Having both technical and creative backgrounds, he has worked as a game designer, mixed-media artist, and engineer.

DescriptionDaniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a new, beautifully-textured animated series from PBS KIDS for preschoolers aged 2-4, developed by The Fred Rogers Company. It features the children of his original and much-loved Neighborhood of Make Believe characters.

Although children of this age are busy learning pre-academic skills, such as letters and numbers, they also need to learn socio-emotional skills like sharing, self-control, and developing positive self-esteem. It is not hard to fall into thinking that games for this audience are simple to make, since popular belief holds that kids are easily amused; the reality is that children are often poorly understood.

We hope to prove that creating games for such a young demographic comes with the same challenges than any other interactive product, in an effort to keep improving the quality of interactive games for children.

Exploring Meaningful Games: Matching Mechanics and Message

Presenter(s)Sara Verrilli, MIT Game Lab
Rik Eberhardt, MIT Game Lab
Konstantin Mitgutsch, MIT Game Lab
DescriptionThis workshop is designed for games researchers interested in studying serious games and for game developers and designers interested in creating serious games. In this workshop, we will focus primarily on how a serious game's message, mechanics, and content are interrelated.

More and more people are creating games for purposes other than entertainment: games for education, games for health, games for personal improvement, games for social justice. These games seek to educate, inform, and excite players about various serious topics. Some of them aim merely to inform; others hope to spur users to action. Since the message is the most important part, great care is taken to convey accurate information in the game's educational or motivational content, and to keep that content clear and consistent. Unfortunately, that same care frequently disappears when it comes to the actual gameplay - all too often, social messages or educational content are paired up with game mechanics that don't reinforce the game's intended message.

In games, the player's experience is shaped not just by the content and narrative they experience, but also by the actions they take and the systems they interact with, manipulate, and learn about. Poorly thought out and implemented mechanics changes can even negate a game's intended content and message. Konstantin Mitgutsch, a postdoctoral researcher at the MIT Game Lab, has developed a framework for analyzing the overall effectiveness of a game's message. The "Serious Game Design Assessment Framework" (Mitgutsch & Alvarado 2012) explores how the many aspects of a game's design effects and focuses - or ruins - a game's potential message. At the MIT Game Lab, we have used this framework to evaluate the overall effectiveness of serious games and as a design guide for the creation of new ones.

This workshop will be a deep focus on one part of the Serious Game Design Assessment Framework: the interrelations between message, mechanics, and content. We will analyze games whose mechanics reinforce their intended message, as well as games whose mechanics fail to support their content. Then, we will lead the participants in analyzing an existent serious game and invite them to propose and consider ways to improve its overall design to support the game's intended message. Participants will work in teams to create a short pitch about what mechanics they would change in the existent game and present this to the rest of the workshop participants.

Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of how to examine serious games using our framework and how to choose game mechanics for a serious game that support the game's content and message.

Saturday, October 20, 11:15a-11:30a


Saturday, October 20, 11:30a-12:30p

Games for Impact: the Transformational Game Development Process


Drew DavidsonDrew Davidson is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry and professional worlds and he is interested in stories across texts, comics, games and other media. He completed his Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to that, he received a B.A. and M.A. in Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He chaired Game Art & Design and Interactive Media Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and the Art Institute Online. Drew has taught and researched at several universities. Drew also consults for a variety of companies, institutions and organizations.

DescriptionGame development is a combination of art, science and design. Games for Impact have a purpose, which requires additional subject-matter expertise (whether it be learning, health, civics and more) and related concepts (such as theories of learning, persuasion, behavior, communication, etc.). If you're interested in developing a transformational game, it's important to consider how this interdisciplinary mix makes for a unique process to create games that are challenging, engaging and impactful.

This overview was created by the Academic Consortium for the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Under the guidance of Constance Steinkuehler, the consortium, which is made up of representatives from 20 universities, worked together to draft these best practices to help communicate the unique and challenging process of developing transformational games.

Game Design and Designers

Paper 1

Empirical Game Design for Explorers
By: John Quick and Robert Atkinson

The explorer player type has remained a focal point in discussions of game design and research for several years. Though valuable insights have built an understanding of explorers from online multiplayer and individual characteristic perspectives, there still remains a need to further understand and empirically specify what aspects of games are appealing to explorers. Accordingly, the Gameplay Enjoyment Model (GEM; Quick, Atkinson, & Lin, 2012) provides a detailed, empirical perspective on the explorer through a set of specific game design features. Using these features, games can be designed to leverage what is known about how explorers experience enjoyment through games. A practical demonstration of how to design Exploration features into an actual game is offered through an analysis of Pathfinders Way. This article aims to encourage a deeper understanding of explorers and provide practical guidance on how empirical research results can be incorporated into game design practice.

Paper 2

Once More with Feeling: Game Design Patterns for Affective Learning (Top Paper Award)
By: Claire Dormann, Max Neuvians and Jennifer Whitson

This paper addresses how computer games can be designed for learning in the affective domain. We propose conceptual tools in the form of game patterns to support their design. Our studies of how emotions are embedded in games and how games can sustain affective learning involve the observation of game-play and identification of recurring design elements that we identify as patterns. We then describe and discuss several patterns related to understanding emotions, embodiment and affective representation as well as socio-emotional interactions, which are essential components of affective learning. AVATAR DISPLAY OF HUMAN FRAILTY describes the inclusion of less than optimal physical traits in an avatar while NPC'S WITH EMOTIONAL MASKS, is a character that displays one kind of emotion when they are secretly feeling another. To conclude, we discuss the development of a taxonomy of affective patterns to sustain socio-emotional learning. We hope to stimulate the development of more human-oriented games and novel educational games in this domain.

Paper 3

Co-op Play
By: Stephen Sniderman

An over-emphasis on competitive play causes many problems for young people, including overuse injuries, eating disorders, and the use of steroids. Our culture needs less competitive ways for people to exercise their muscles and brains. My suggestion is that we develop a smorgasbord of co-operative (or co-op) play activities, including those that use equipment from already existing sports and games and those that are brand-new.

Games, Ethics and Rhetoric

LocationParlor A
Paper 1

Dizziness and Disorder: Aporia as Genre in Roger Caillois
By: Peter Mcdonald

The study of video game genre is beginning to look beyond formal and aesthetic concerns towards the social, economic, and ideological premises that are embedded in each genre. Following the cue of Marxist literary theory, this paper argues that we can critically re-read existing typologies for moments in which they foreclose on these wider problems. Roger Caillois' foundational text Man, Play, and Games (1958/1962) is taken as a paradigmatic case and examined for its semiotic structure. Caillois four types of game are shown to be just so many types of uncertainty, and a limited subset of the possible kinds of playful uncertainty. Extrapolating from Caillois, this paper makes the argument that these moments, or aporia, are a primary site of ideological investment and as such help explain the reasons why certain genres gain hegemonic status.

Paper 2

Democracy has arrived! A Model for Ethical Decision Making of Players in MMOs
By: Patrick Prax and Mikael Laaksoharju

In digital games and virtual worlds, like in other digital media, the structure of the medium, its code, influences the emerging interaction and culture. A deliberate modification of this code to facilitate democratic decision making might thus lead to more meaningful interaction in games. If we see virtual worlds as learning environments this might even help players to understand and question real-world power structures. A way to modify the code of a virtual world is by extending its interface with an add-on that interacts with the application programming interface of the game. In this paper we present the design vision and theoretical framework of a digital tool for ethical decision making that will be implemented in the virtual world World of Warcraft. Its purpose will be to supply players with means to modify the power structure built into the code of this virtual world and to support more ethical and democratic decision making in the game.

Paper 3

Deterritorializing RISK
By: Jonathan Lee

This paper examines how board wargames play with ideologies of and behind military conflict. Through a case study of RISK: The Game of Global Domination, it shows how the spatial arrangement of the board create performative visual and tactile spaces that literally materialize worldviews, paralleling a perspective Martin Heidegger calls the "world picture." RISK represents military expansionism by performing a nationalist map logic that divides the world into discrete, interchangeable, conquerable territories. Thus, this game opens up critical play that productively dialogues with the critical discourse of theorists like Benedict Anderson, Louis Althusser, and Rey Chow, allowing players to engage the signifying logic of war.

Paper 4

Rhetoric, Embodiment, Play: Game Design as Critical Practice in the Art History of Pompeii
By: David Fredrick

This paper explores the consequences of using the game engine Unity to construct 3-D models of Pompeian houses, linked to art and spatial databases, as an ongoing research colloquium for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in the humanities. Rather than serving as a neutral piece of visualization software, the game engine functions as critical tool because, more than any other visualization platform, it permits real time, embodied movement through the houses. One outcome of such embodied movement has been the recognition that the traditional vocabulary for describing space in Pompeii is inadequate, and a much more careful methodology is required, using network topology and visibility graph analysis to establish spatial profiles for the rooms. As they construct the models in Unity, students also encounter the contradiction between the texture pipeline used to produce immersion in games and the emphasis on accuracy and scientific objectivity found in cultural heritage discourse, a discourse which paradoxically also stresses immersion. Finally, the game engine encourages students to consider the rhetoric of embodied play in the Pompeian decorative ensembles themselves. Rather than a static, hierarchical structure or strictly linear progression, this rhetoric rather seems procedural, stressing dynamic, emergent meaning revealed through exploration along a variety of paths. The House of Octavius Quartio illustrates this rhetorical play, as its mythological repertoire moves between a Cartesian subject position distant from the body and in control of the landscape and an anamorphic subject position close to the body and immersed in the landscape, represented through the reflection of Narcissus and the dismemberment of Actaeon. The movement between Cartesian and anamorphic subjectivity is further mapped onto gender in the sculpture of Hermaphroditus which was discovered by the rear exit of the house.

Gaming the Campus

LocationGold A
Presenter(s)Stephen Jacobs, Christopher Egert, Michael Soupios and Thomas McGee
DescriptionIn the past twelve months the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Interactive Games and Media (IGM) in Rochester, NY and Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey have each deployed pilots of social games that employ badging and achievements to engage their students in new ways across the college campus and academic experience.

IGM's year-long "Just Press Play" was inspired both by the School's examination of the research on student attention and retention and as student's classroom query "Why can't we get achievements just for being awesome?" Seton Hall, inspired by the Macarthur Open Badges project, decided to expand existing points programs on campus by creating "Pirate Patch" a pilot for incoming Freshmen students that began when the students were accepted and ran through campus preview visits and on-campus orientation through their first week of school.

Both games were designed so that players would explore their campuses, engage with faculty and staff and have opportunities to build wider social networks amongst their peers.

In "Gaming the Campus" members of the design and technical teams from both "Just Press Play" and "Pirate Patch" will discuss the origins and creations of the games, the details of the engines created to run them, the initial research results from the first rounds of deployment and the tweaks to their games based on those results. IGM will report on the results of their relaunch of the "new and improved" "Just Press Play" in September 2012 while Seton Hall will share their plans for moving beyond the pilot phase of "Pirate Patch" as it releases campus-wide in the fall of 2012. Questions throughout the panel are encouraged.

Developing intuition about the physical world through games

LocationGold B
Presenter(s)Greg Austic
DescriptionGames are an experience engine which produce repeated, structured experiences for the players. Intuition is lessons learned by your subconscious from many varied experiences and occurs in the background of your brain. These concepts are tied together by one word - experiences. All games build intuition by producing a spreadsheet of similar-but-slightly-different experiences which you brain pulls its intuition from. Therefore, games are also intuition engines.

Starting from this basic concept, this talk will discuss how thinking of games as intuition engines fundamentally changes game design in important and useful ways. Specifically, how does the intuition developed in games relate to intuition which may also be useful in life - and what are the most useful intuitions in real life anyway (I will argue that almost all professions develop a type of intuition which makes them excel at what they do - we should identify and create games around those types of intuition). How can we create games which map useful intuition in life as directly as possible, so that the intuition transfers immediately instead of by metaphor in the player's brain? Once players have developed intuition, how can we then provide them with the tools to then seek the theory behind that intuition? Imagine, for example, a great basketball player. As a 3-point specialist, she has amazing intuition about physics and F=MA - in fact, it would take a very expensive and complex robot to shoot 3 pointers as well as she can. However, she knows nothing about the theory of physics... so how can we design games which first develop intuition (shoot 3 pointers well), and then motivate players to learn the theory behind it (understand the F=MA)? Examples include intuition about electricity, chemistry, physics, and other subjects with important physical components.

The focus and examples in the talk will be on developing intuition in the physical world - that is, physical games (board games, group games, crowd-based games, etc). As human beings become more disconnected from the physical world, we are losing our intuition about that world. While the virtual world is an amazing and important space, I will argue that our knowledge and intuition of the physical world must always be as good or better. A variety of examples of games which partly or wholly accomplish this goal will be discussed.

Finally, I will voice a call to action to create games which develop meaningful, applicable intuition in the physical world and suggest strategies for making those games compelling for players.

Exploring Meaningful Games (cont.)

Presenter(s)Sara Verrilli, MIT Game Lab
Rik Eberhardt, MIT Game Lab
Konstantin Mitgutsch, MIT Game Lab
DescriptionThis workshop is designed for games researchers interested in studying serious games and for game developers and designers interested in creating serious games. In this workshop, we will focus primarily on how a serious game's message, mechanics, and content are interrelated.

More and more people are creating games for purposes other than entertainment: games for education, games for health, games for personal improvement, games for social justice. These games seek to educate, inform, and excite players about various serious topics. Some of them aim merely to inform; others hope to spur users to action. Since the message is the most important part, great care is taken to convey accurate information in the game's educational or motivational content, and to keep that content clear and consistent. Unfortunately, that same care frequently disappears when it comes to the actual gameplay - all too often, social messages or educational content are paired up with game mechanics that don't reinforce the game's intended message.

In games, the player's experience is shaped not just by the content and narrative they experience, but also by the actions they take and the systems they interact with, manipulate, and learn about. Poorly thought out and implemented mechanics changes can even negate a game's intended content and message. Konstantin Mitgutsch, a postdoctoral researcher at the MIT Game Lab, has developed a framework for analyzing the overall effectiveness of a game's message. The "Serious Game Design Assessment Framework" (Mitgutsch & Alvarado 2012) explores how the many aspects of a game's design effects and focuses - or ruins - a game's potential message. At the MIT Game Lab, we have used this framework to evaluate the overall effectiveness of serious games and as a design guide for the creation of new ones.

This workshop will be a deep focus on one part of the Serious Game Design Assessment Framework: the interrelations between message, mechanics, and content. We will analyze games whose mechanics reinforce their intended message, as well as games whose mechanics fail to support their content. Then, we will lead the participants in analyzing an existent serious game and invite them to propose and consider ways to improve its overall design to support the game's intended message. Participants will work in teams to create a short pitch about what mechanics they would change in the existent game and present this to the rest of the workshop participants.

Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of how to examine serious games using our framework and how to choose game mechanics for a serious game that support the game's content and message.

Saturday, October 20, 12:30p-1:00p


LocationLobby (2nd floor of the MSU Union)
DescriptionLunch is available right outside the Ballroom. Grab your lunch and get seating in the ballroom for the closing keynote.

The lunch is provided by our premiere sponsor, The Learning Games Network.

Saturday, October 20, 1:00p-2:00p

An Industry At Middle Age


Michael JohnMichael John ("MJ") has been a senior Creative Director at Electronic Arts for over four years, coming on the heels of close to 20 years designing highly successful commercial video games. As an industry elder, MJ has been a leader in training and mentoring EA's design community, as well as leading various R&D projects. Most recently, MJ has taken on the position of General Manager of the "GLASS Lab," an unprecedented cooperative effort between the Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and EA to create educational games.

DescriptionIt's 2012, and Pong turns 40 this year. Commercial video games are now officially at middle age. I read once that middle age does not bring on a crisis of mortality, so much as a crisis of meaning: 'I've lived this far... what has it all meant?' I see the commercial industry at just this state - and I have a privileged view, being one of a cohort of people who have aged in lock step with this wonderful business.

Join me for a highly personal journey through the games industry's first 40 years, culminating in GlassLab, an exciting bit of R&D, but also a passion project, a product of an industry at middle age... some Meaningful Play.

The keynote sponsor is by Electronic Arts.

Saturday, October 20, 2:00p-2:30p

Conference Closing and Game Awards

DescriptionThe conference organizing committee will close out the conference and present the "Meaningful Play Ninjas", aka the winners of the game competition and top papers.