Some interesting stuff coming out of discussions at the MIT Game Lab annual symposium taking place today.

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8:15-8:50 AM

Breakfast in Ting Foyer
9:00-9:45 AM MIT Game Lab: Past and Future
William Uricchio, Henry Jenkins (Remote), and Philip Tan
9:45-10:30 AM Keynote
Peter Molyneux
10:30-11 AM Break
11:00-11:45 AM Applied Game Research: Players, Design, and Technology
Clara Fernández-Vara (moderator),TL Taylor, Mia Consalvo, Doris Rusch, Jeff Orkin
11:50 AM-12:50 PM Lunch
1:00-1:45 PM Games for Learning
Scott Nicholson (moderator), Scot Osterweil, Shula Ponet, Konstantin Mitgutsch
2:00-2:45 PM Meaningful R&D Partnerships: Farming Out is Awesome
Philip Tan (moderator), Eric Klopfer, Eitan Glinert & Jenna Young
3:00-3:45 PM Positive Game Lab Impact
Charles Pratt (moderator), Marc Check, Celia Pearce & Christopher Weaver
4:00-4:45 PM Closing Keynote
Sebastian Seung
5:00-8:30 PM

MIT Stata Center



Marc Check
Marc Check is currently the Director of Information and Interactive Technology at the Museum of Science in Boston where he directs a team of over 20 technology professionals in both classic infrastructure and interactive technologies. He is passionate about museums and the use of technology in informal learning spaces, and Marc has been working on both the interpretive and curatorial ends of technology for a number of years. His past roles include Associate Director for the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), Director of Technology for the National Museum of Play, and Director of  Technology for the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Marc holds a BS in Mathematics from the State University of Brockport in New York and a MS in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology, with a focus on Interactive Media.

Mia Consalvo
Dr. Mia Consalvo is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies at Concordia University and serves as the Canada Research Chair in Games Studies & Design. She is the author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage of Videogames.  She has published her work in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Games & Culture, Game Studies, Convergence, and many other journals and has presented her work at professional as well as academic conferences including regular presentations at the Game Developers Conference. Consalvo is the President of the Association of Internet Researchers and has held positions at MIT, Ohio University, Chubu University in Japan and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Clara Fernández-Vara 
Clara Fernández-Vara is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Her work concentrates on adventure games, as well as the integration of stories in simulated environments. She is particularly interested in cross-media artifacts from the standpoint of textual analysis and performance. She is the product owner of Symon, the Kongregate Award winner at the Indie Game Challenge 2011.

Eitan Glinert
Eitan Glinert is the founder and Creative Director of Fire Hose Games. He is also an alumni of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and the Education Arcade. His research interest is in games accessibility.  He has been making video games since 2005. His titles generally have a strong focus on education, science content, usability, and accessibility. Fire Hose Games was founded as a way to keep making video games that are both fun and have some sort of positive angle. “We’re trying to make games that will benefit the user, whether that be through improved attitudes towards science and engineering, or by allowing users to create and express themselves while playing. We also want to push the limits of what user interfaces can do in games.”

Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins is the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He arrived at USC in Fall 2009 after spending the past decade as the director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. He is the author and/or editor of twelve books on various aspects of media and popular culture. He is the principal investigator for Project New Media Literacies (NML), a group which originated as part of the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative. He also continues to be actively involved with the Convergence Culture Consortium, a faculty network which seeks to build bridges between academic researchers and the media industry in order to help inform the rethinking of consumer relations in an age of participatory media.

Eric Klopfer
Eric Klopfer is the Director of the MIT Teacher Education Program and the Scheller Career Development Professor of Science Education and Educational Technology at MIT. Klopfer’s research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science and complex systems. His research explores simulations and games on desktop computers as well as handhelds. He currently runs the StarLogo project, a desktop platform that enables students and teachers to create computer simulations of complex systems. He is also the creator of StarLogo TNG, a new platform for helping kids create 3D simulations and games using a graphical programming language. On handhelds, Klopfer’s work includes Participatory Simulations, which embed users inside of complex systems, and Augmented Reality simulations, which create a hybrid virtual/real space for exploring intricate scenarios in real time. He is the co-director of The Education Arcade, which is advancing the development and use of games in K-12 education.

Konstantin Mitgutsch 
Konstantin Mitgutsch is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. His research focuses on learning processes in computer games, empirical research on players’ experience, educational game design, and transformative learning in games. He worked in the fields of learning, media studies, computer games and age rating systems at the University of Vienna for several years. In 2010 he was the Max Kade Postdoctoral Fellow at the Education Arcade at Comparative Media Studies at MIT. In his recent research project he investigated learning patterns in games and different methodologies of game evaluation.

Peter Molyneux
Creator of Dungeon Keeper, Populous, Black & White, Theme Park, and the Fable series, Peter Molyneux is the founder of the new UK studio, 22Cans, where he currently designs and works. Also the co-founder of Bullfrog Productions and formerly a major games designer at Lionhead Studios and Microsoft, Molyneux is an acclaimed video game designer and programmer; he was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2011.

Scott Nicholson
Dr. Nicholson is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and recently completed a year as a visiting scholar at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. As a library scientist, he uses systematic research methods to explore facets of librarianship, with the goal of helping librarians better serve their user communities.  One of his research areas is the intersection of gaming in libraries. Dr. Nicholson studies the ways in which libraries use recreational gaming activities and explores what activities are most effective for different user groups and different goals.

Jeff Orkin
Jeff Orkin is a game developer, AI researcher, and PhD candidate in Professor Deb Roy’s Cognitive Machines Group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on Collective Artificial Intelligence — data-driven content creation and planning for social interaction and dialogue in games, simulations, and virtual worlds. Prior to enrolling at the Media Lab, Orkin developed several generations of AI systems in the game industry. As a Senior Engineer at Monolith Productions, he focused on goal-oriented autonomous character behavior and planning, while developing AI systems for No One Lives Forever 2 (NOLF2) and F.E.A.R.

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

Celia Pearce
Celia Pearce is a game designer, author, researcher, teacher, curator and artist specializing in multiplayer gaming and virtual worlds; independent, art and alternative game genres; as well as games and gender. She currently is Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech, where she also directs the Experimental Game Lab and the Emergent Game Group. She began designing interactive attractions and exhibitions in 1983 and has held academic appointments since 1998. Her game designs include the award-winning virtual reality attraction Virtual Adventures (for Iwerks and Evans & Sutherland) and the Purple Moon Friendship Adventure Cards for Girls.

Shula Ponet
Shula Ponet is a Brooklyn based interactive designer with a background in psychology and education. She holds an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons the New School for Design and is passionate about exploring innovative educational techniques that align themselves with the digital worlds in which kids are immersed today. She currently is a game designer at The Institute of Play/Quest to Learn, where she works with teachers, curriculum developers, game designers, and students to create academically challenging and engaging games and game-like learning experiences that are used in the classrooms at Quest to Learn for students with diverse learning styles.

Charles Pratt
Charles J. Pratt has been a freelance game designer since he graduated from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2007. He’s worked on projects for companies as varied as Adult Swim, Footlocker, and the British government. He’s also been involved with a number of independent games such as the early web-based social game Casablanca, the street game Search Brigade, and most recently a tower defense game for the iPhone called Critter Defense.

Doris Rusch
Doris C. Rusch is a game designer, researcher, and play aficionado and holds a position as Assistant Professor for Game Design at DePaul University in Chicago. Before that she did postdoctoral work at GAMBIT Game Lab, MIT, co-founded the Austrian game prototyping company ‘Game Gestalt – play for change’, acted as interims head of the Applied Game Studies Department at Danube University and taught several game related courses at University of Technology, Vienna, and Vienna University. Rusch’s work is focused on the theory and practice of game design and investigates game’s potential as ‘conceptual tools’ that tackle the ‘human experience’. She is an expert in modeling abstract ideas in games (e.g. games about love, addiction, trust etc.) via metaphors.

Sebastian Seung
Sebastian Seung is Professor of Computational Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and External Member of the Max Planck Society. He received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Harvard University, and formerly worked at Bell Laboratories.  His laboratory at MIT is inventing technologies for finding connectomes, maps of connections between the brain’s neurons. His goals are to understand perception, see the material basis of memory, and search for connectopathies, hypothetical “miswirings” of the brain associated with psychiatric disorders.  His popular science book Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are was recently hailed in the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Levitin as “the best lay book on brain science I’ve ever read.”

Philip Tan
Philip Tan is the Creative Director of the MIT Game Lab. He has served as a member of the steering committee of the Singapore chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and worked closely with Singapore game developers to launch industry-wide initiatives and administer content development grants as an assistant manager in the Animation & Games Industry Development section of Media Development Authority of Singapore. He has produced and designed PC online games at The Education Arcade, a research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that studied and created educational games.

T.L. Taylor
T.L. Taylor is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT and currently a Visiting Researcher with the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. She is a qualitative sociologist who has been working in the field of internet and game studies for nearly two decades. Her work focuses on the interrelation between culture, social practice, and technology in online leisure environments. She has spoken and written on topics such as network play and social life, values in design, intellectual property, co-creative practices, avatars, and gender & gaming. Her most recent work has focused on the professionalization of computer game play, examining the developing scene of high-end competitive play, spectatorship, and the growing institutionalization of e-sports.

William Uricchio
William Uricchio is Professor and Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He has held visiting professorships at Stockholm University, the Freie Universität Berlin, and Philips Universität Marburg; and Guggenheim, Fulbright and Humboldt fellowships have supported his research. Uricchio considers the interplay of media technologies and cultural practices, and their role in (re-) constructing representation, knowledge and publics.

Christopher Weaver
Christopher Weaver received his SM from MIT and was the initial Daltry scholar at Wesleyan University, where he earned dual Masters Degrees in Japanese and Computer Science and a CAS Doctoral Degree in Japanese and Physics. The former Director of Technology Forecasting for ABC and Chief Engineer to the Subcommittee on Communications for the US Congress, he later founded Bethesda Softworks, a leading software entertainment company that is credited with the development of physics-based sports sims and creating the original John Madden Football for Electronic Arts and the well known Elder Scrolls Role Playing series. An adviser to both government and industry, he is a technology columnist for Edge Magazine and holds patents in interactive media and broadband communications dealing with seminal telecommunications engineering.

Jenna Young
Jenna Young spent most of her career in advertising, and is now at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading PR firms. In both fields, her role has been to engage an audience, increasing their time spent with brands in order to raise awareness, build loyalty, shift perceptions or just create rewarding experiences. Part of her job is to introduce fresh thinking to clients and provide insight into consumer behavior and the benefits of non-traditional media so that brands can leverage the potential of new platforms (like gaming) with greater confidence. While most clients are already comfortable in the “Facebook gaming” space, she loves the ones who are brave enough to explore the limits.  One of her favorite places to visit is MIT as it’s always inspiring and a huge reminder of how quickly things change and how much she still can learn. When she is not at work, she is renovating an old house in Westchester, fighting a mutinous garden, or playing fetch with her dogs.


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