Meaningful Play Program Posted

The Meaningful Play conference program has been posted.  In only a few short weeks, one of the better conferences of...

The Meaningful Play conference program has been posted.  In only a few short weeks, one of the better conferences of this sort will be happening.  There’s still a little room left, so if you are thinking of coming, you should register now.  Here’s a sneak peak at what’s in store:

Meaningful Play 2010 is an interdisciplinary academic conference that explores the potential of games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.

The conference takes place October 21 – October 23, 2010 in East Lansing, Michigan USA and is hosted by Michigan State University.

The conference is for game designers, researchers, and students. Current registered attendees are from over 6 countries and 26 US states.

The two primary themes of the conference are “exploring meaningful applications of games” and “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.

The conference includes:

*** Six thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, including:

1.) “Design, Learning, and Experience” by James Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University
2.) “What Will Great Serious Games Look Like?” by Ben Sawyer, President of Digitalmill and Games for Health Founder
3.)  “Games that Move Us: Designing More Powerful Emotional and Social Play Experiences” by Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, NYU-Poly
4.)  “Finding the Feeling: Experimental Development @thatgamecompany” by Robin Hunicke, Producer & Game Designer, thatgamecompany
5.)  “The Intellectual Life of Online Play” by Contance Steinkuehler, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
6.)  “The Birth of LEGO Universe” by Helle Winding, Senior Director, LEGO Group

*** Ten breakout speaker sessions featuring prominent members of industry and academia, including:

1.) “Learning Learning Games: How to Effectively Teach New Game Mechanics” by Dan Norton, Filament Games
2.) “Failure, Fun and Learning: Iterative Rapid Prototyping, Engagement and Educational Games” by Drew Davidson, Director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University
3.) “Kodu in the Classroom: How the creative problem solving of building games fits into elementary and middle school curricula ” by Rachel Schiff, Microsoft FUSE Labs
4.) “Come Closer: What We’ve Learned About Creating Powerful Player Experiences” by Jamie Antonisse and Sean Bouchard, Vaguely Spectacular
5.) “Navigating the Wilderness of Educational Entertainment: Design Challenges in Man vs. Wild: The Game” by Nathaniel McClure and Patrick Shaw, Scientifically Proven Entertainment
6.) “Motivation and Rewards in Serious Games: Impacts on Player Engagement, Learning, and Behavior Change” by Debra Lieberman, University of California, Santa Barbara and Health Games Research
7.) “Fighting Childhood Obesity Through the Use of Technology – Changing the Evil Reputation of ‘Screen Time’” by Jorian Clarke, Founder & CEO, Circle 1 Network
8.) “Chasing Art: The History and Promise of a Word” by Neils Clark, Studio Quixotic
9.) “The Rapid Rise (and Fall?) of Games for Girls: A Handheld Case Study” by Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Productions
10.) “Social Responsibility: Musings on Harnessing the Power of Social Games for Good” by James Portnow at Rainmaker Games, Nick Fortugno at Playmatics, and Neils Clark at Digipen

*** Over 40 peer-reviewed paper presentations presenting the latest game research coming out of academia, on a various topics such as:

- Multiple Media, Third Spaces, & Magic
- The Science of Rehabilitation
- Design research methods for serious games
- Body-Centered Interaction
- Player Literacy, player biographies, & player criticism
- Intrinsic Motivation, Exercise, and Exergaming
- Gaming & Climate Change: 3 diverse lenses
- Communities & social gaming
- Optimizing Emotion, Believability, & Choice
- Learning by Making Games
- Adventure Games, Role Play, & Forced Play
- Assessing Games for Health
- Serious game design case studies
- Ethical Reflection in Games
- Problem solving games

*** Twelve exciting panel and roundtable discussions, including:

1.) Games-Based Affinity Spaces: Connecting Youth to 21st Century Writing Practices
2.) Educational Game Design for Everyone: Successes, Challenges and Insights of using Game Design as Pedagogy within Formal and Informal Learning Setting
3.) Alternate Reality Games: Interdisciplinary Designers, Designing Interactions
4.) Mapping the Sandbox: Freedom and Boundaries in Player Choices
5.) From Research to Practice: Digital Media and Games as Meaningful Tools for Learning
6.) Taboo: Are there areas in which meaningful play must not, cannot tread?
7.) Growing the Game Industry in Michigan: Two Years Later
8.) Teaching Meaning: The Challenge (or lack thereof) of Encouraging Student Designers/Developers to Make Meaningful Play
9.) Video Game Violence: Is There a Role for it in Meaningful Play?
10.) Games for Rehabilitation: How do we find the balance between play and therapy?
11.) Zombies vs. Knaves: Playing Games in Cultural Institutions
12.) Social Responsibility: Musings on Harnessing the Power of Social Games for Good

*** Three workshops, including:

1.) Puzzle Design for Educators and Game Developers
2.) Leading Change – Managing Pace LEGO Workshop
3.) Hermit Crab Game Design

*** A poster session featuring 19 late-breaking advances and work-in-progress reports from ongoing research or design work

*** An exciting exhibition of 24 innovative games

Don’t miss you opportunity to attend Meaningful Play 2010.

For more details and to register, visit:

About admin

Lindsay Grace is a teacher, software developer and designer. He has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer. Lindsay has a joint position between Miami University’s Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies and the School of Fine Arts. His research areas include human-computer interaction, creative and critical gameplay, and web design. He writes regularly about interactive media design and education.