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

meaningful play 2012 travel

Session Information

TitlePervasive and Environmental Game Design Workshop
Presenter(s)Jeff Watson, USC Game Innovation Lab
TimeFriday, October 19, 10:30a-11:30a
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.

Return to Schedule