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

Meaningful Play 2014 at Michigan State University

Designing & Studying Games that Matter

Meaningful Play 2014 Conference Overview

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

Meaningful Play 2014 is a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices. Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.

The conference will include thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry discussions), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes.

Conference News

November 3, 2015 - Save the date for Meaningful Play 2016 to take place October 20-22, 2016!

October 20, 2014 - Meaningful Play 2014 was a big success! We had nearly 300 attendees from 17 countries and 24 U.S. States! Check out #mplay on twitter to check out twitter posts throughout the event and check out flickr to see photos from the event. The conference proceedings are available online.

October 18, 2014 - At the conference closing, the Game Competition Awards were announced, including:

Category Winner
Most Innovative Game Guided Meditation by Cubicle Ninjas
Most Meaningful Game An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by James Earl Cox III
Best Student Created Non-Digital Game We've Got Issues by Michael Budram, William Jeffery, Greg Kozma
Best Student Created Digital Game It Takes Two by Albert Shih, Kiran George, Yimang Lin, Xiao Li, Yuxi Zhang, Yue Zhu
Best Overall Non-Digital Game Cops and Rubbers by Lien Tran
Best Overall Digital Game Fat Chicken by Relevant Games and Joshua Mills
People's Choice Award We've Got Issues by Michael Budram, William Jeffery, Greg Kozma

The top five papers were also recognized, including:

October 16, 2014 - Meaningful Play 2014 Kicks-Off Today!

October 8, 2014 - Meaningful Play 2014 is just one week away! Get ready for the radical transformation!

September 16, 2014 - There will be an exciting special event held Friday night of the conference, called the Pure Michigan Game Exhibition and Celebration. All conference attendees are invited to attend.

September 3, 2014 - The tentative schedule is now available for the full conference.

September 2, 2014 - Early conference registration extended to Monday, September 15. Register Now!

June 24, 2014 - The Quality Inn University was added as a second conference hotel in addition to the East Lansing Marriott at University Place. The Quality Inn is more affordable, though a bit farther away.

June 18, 2014 - Submission deadlines extended from July 1 to July 14th! See the call for submissions for more information.

May 22, 2014 - Jan Sircus and Erin Hoffman announced as final confirmed keynote speakers. See program for details.

April 29, 2014 - "What Does Meaningful Play Mean to You?" video posted on YouTube. Make sure to LIKE and SHARE it!

April 21, 2014 - Jesse Schell, Mia Consalvo, Colleen Macklin, and Dierdra Kai announced as first four confirmed keynote speakers. See program for details.

April 10, 2014 - Registration is now open for Meaningful Play 2014. Register now!

December 5, 2013 - The call for submissions is now available.

November 12, 2013 - We are excited to announce the upcoming Meaningful Play 2014 conference to take place October 16-18, 2014 on the campus of Michigan State University.

Conference Audience and Themes

The conference is primarily for:

  • industry and academic game researchers
  • industry and academic game designers and developers
  • game educators
  • students
  • government and NGOs interested in games

The two primary themes of the conference are:

  • exploring meaningful applications of games
  • issues in designing meaningful play

The first theme includes an examination of games (of all types) from primarily an academic research perspective.

The second theme focuses on much more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development, and use of games for meaningful purposes.

Previous Meaningful Plays

View details on previous Meaningful Play conferences.

Meaningful Play 2008 Meaningful Play 2010 Meaningful Play 2012

Keynote Line-Up

Jesse Schell Mia Consalvo Colleen Macklin

Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University

Mia Consalvo, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal

Colleen Macklin, Director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab) and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design

Deirdra Kiai Jan Sircus Erin Hoffman

Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai, game designer, writer, programmer, musician, and visual artist

Jan Sircus, Principal of Studio Sircus, former Senior VP, Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering

Erin Hoffman, Game Design Lead, GlassLab

See the program for additional presenters.

Special Events

Lisa Nakamura

Wednesday, Oct. 15
Special Presentation - Pre-conference Quello Center Lecture Series presentation by Lisa Nakamura, Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor in the American Cultures Department and Screen Arts Department at the University of Michigan

Conference Party

Thursday, Oct. 16
Conference Party - Chance to mix and mingle with conference goers at the Opening Reception, view late breaking research at the Poster Session, and play "meaningful" games at the Game Exhibition (appetizers and drinks provided).

Closing Ceremony

Friday, Oct. 17
Pure Michigan Game Exhibition and Celebration - During this energetic game exhibition and celebration, you can play games; meet and mingle with several Michigan-based game developers; and enjoy yourself with drinks and appetizers.

Closing Ceremony

Friday, Oct. 17
Industry/Student Meet'n'Greet - This is a great chance for students to meet with some of the companies attending Meaningful Play and pass on resumes. It is a great opportunity for companies to find fresh talent.

Game Room

Throughout Conference
Game Room - Build meaningful connections with your fellow conference goers while playing a digital or board game in the Meaningful Play Game Room.