DiGRA Talk: Drama, Narrative, and Sports

This talk presents an examination of hockey as it exists in early 21st century North America, paying particular attention to how narrative both emerges from, and is embedded within, the situations produced by the sport. Like all sports, hockey offers opportunities for individuals to take part in dramatic situations that would not otherwise occur. As players, teams, and fans actively engage with these situations, they produce various kinds of public and private narrative. These narratives in turn shape subsequent situations both within and beyond the formal boundaries of the sport. Through a series of examples from professional, amateur, and videogame versions of hockey, this talk examines how narrative emerges in, around, and among various contexts of hockey gameplay; how this narrative accrues and impacts both ludic and paraludic situations; and how it can become encoded in the formal structures of the game itself.

Talk delivered August 5, 2014 at DiGRA.

Paper forthcoming. Draft version available upon request.

Different Games: Playing With Reality

Talk delivered at Different Games 2014. Explores how games “play with reality,” opening various avenues for inquiry around notions of environment and situation. Makes reference to Sartre, Goffman, and Baron Von Haussmann, among others, and offers up the following definition for game: “Games are semi-regulated situations that unfold over time and resolve based on the creative participation of one or more players.”

Stirring $#!* Up With Games: Pervasive and Environmental Game Design Workshop

This 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.

Presented October 19, 2012 at Meaningful Play in East Lansing, Michigan.

Additional information: see Research.

Video: Indiecade 2011 “No Screens” Panel

Featuring Mathieu Castelli, Nathalie Pozzi, Greg Trefry, Chris Weed, and me. Moderated by Colleen Macklin.

This is a free-range session about games that go beyond the confines of the polygonal frame. In other words big games, street games, args, playful disobedience, analog games or whatever you’d like to call them! Panelists will discuss design considerations, new approaches and what’s next in the genre. (IndieCade 2011)

Locative Media and Responsive Environments

This presentation explores the evolution and trajectory of ubiquitous computing technologies that enable designers to embed media artifacts and computational systems in physical space. By placing custom bar code glyphs, GPS/Google Earth markers, sensor systems or other smart-phone-readable triggers in physical locations, designers can create hyperlinks connecting real-world objects or places with a wide variety of media — from video, audio and text content to dynamic data feeds and opportunities for interactions with both human and non-human agencies. Crucially, however, this layering practice does not stop at the level of the hyperlink or the traditional notion of Augmented Reality. Rather, designers are beginning to perceive opportunities for embedding responsive computational power in physical space, enabling environments to track, profile and communicate with their inhabitants, providing customized, adaptive and anticipatory user experiences.

(see also: USC IMD)

Transmedia Storytelling and Alternate Reality Games

As a spatially- and temporally-distributed storytelling form, ARGs deploy narrative across a wide range of expressive media, including physical spaces and artifacts, websites, game worlds, books and graphic novels, music, television and movies, online video, rumors, cell phone content and live performances. This presentation is a primer for non-specialist audiences on the subject of Alternate Reality Games. Includes brief survey of prior art, diagrams illustrating the nature of networked fictions, and references to key scholars/innovators.