July 1, 2018

“Bullet” and Poem without Suffering

from Post Position
by @ 11:51 am
A bullet
Discussed in this review: “Bullet,” David Byrne, American Utopia, Nonesuch, 2018; Poem without Suffering, Josef Kaplan, Wonder Books, 2015

David Byrne’s earworm takes a distant yet close perspective, describing a bullet’s fatal encounter with a human body. Did he know about Kaplan’s similar short, rapid, book-length poem? Byrne’s song sets its sights on an adult man, Kaplan’s poem on a child. The life of the child is hinted by describing what a warm maternal relationship is like, and by mentioning injuries from falling off a bunk bed and being hit by a baseball. We hear about the man’s life because of what the bullet cuts through: “Skin that women had touched,” “Many fine meals he tasted there,” “his heart with thoughts of you.” The general description is very effective. There are striking metaphors — positive associations — for the bullet itself, also. In Poem, it is a triumphant runner (such as Usain Bolt, who bears the name of a crossbow’s projectile) dragging gore from the body as if it were a trophy or banner. In “Bullet,” it is “Like an old grey dog / On a fox’s trail.” Perhaps America’s reliable old dog cannot be taught new tricks.

June 28, 2018

New paper: “Gardening Games: An Alternative Philosophy of PCG in Games”

I’ll be presenting my new paper, Gardening Games: An Alternative Philosophy of PCG in Games, at the PCG Workshop at FDG 2018.


Procedural content generation (PCG) in games is often framed as a way to feed the content furnace, satisfying the voracious appetites of players by generating infinite seas of content for them to consume. Although this dominant framing provides a clear structuring purpose for PCG research, it also unnecessarily limits our vision of alternative purposes that generative methods might serve. Furthermore, generative systems designed with this purpose in mind may tend to reinforce certain problematic dynamics in game design. In this paper, we draw a contrast between two approaches to procedural terrain generation and the dynamics of play they tend to enable, which we term mining and gardening. We then extend this analysis to PCG more broadly and suggest that the latter (gardening) dynamic represents a viable and compelling alternative philosophy of how generative methods can be used in games.

May 22, 2018

Concise Computational Literature is Now Online in Taper

from Post Position
by @ 7:55 pm

I’m pleased to announce the release of the first issue of Taper, along with the call for works for issue #2.

Taper is a DIY literary magazine that hosts very short computational literary works — in the first issue, sonic, visual, animated, and generated poetry that is no more than 1KB, excluding comments and the standard header that all pages share. In the second issue, this constraint will be relaxed to 2KB.

The first issue has nine poems by six authors, which were selected by an editorial collective of four. Here is how this work looked when showcased today at our exhibit in the Trope Tank:

On Khevna Joshi, Blogger and Game Designer

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:18 am

Khevna Joshi, blogger and game designer at Tiltfactor, won this year’s Dartmouth Student Employee Contest in the category of academic/professional impact. Below is her essay on how Tiltfactor helped her build skills and knowledge to develop her resume!

Upper Valley Senior Center, October 16, 1:00 PM

“So, what types of games do you like to play? Board games, card games, digital games?” I asked.

“I love card games,” one of the senior women said. “Bridge is my favorite!”

“Really?” a senior man asked. “I have my phone with me all the time, so I like playing games like Candy Crush on it.”

May 8, 2018

On Nick Feffer, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:35 am

Tiltfactor: Hey Nick! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you are doing in the Tiltfactor lab?

Nick: I am a Dartmouth ‘21 and I have been working at Tiltfactor since fall of this year. Currently, I work as a Tiltfactor Fellow. My role is similar to that of a lab intern, but I’ll be working more closely with Max and Mary to develop new games this term. My background is in computer science and graphic design, so I mostly contribute to the coding and 3D modeling required for making some of our games. Right now, I’m working on a couple of different projects: a phone game code-named Potions and a new virtual reality puzzle game code-named Entangled.

May 4, 2018

On Spring Yu, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:34 pm

Tiltfactor: Hi Spring! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at Tiltfactor?

Spring: I’m a Dartmouth ‘19, and I have been working at Tiltfactor on and off since my freshman spring. This is my 4th term working at the lab! I am currently an undergraduate fellow at the lab working on graphics, illustration, user interface, and user experience design. This means that I do a lot of the design work for layouts of what the screen looks like in our digital games, and I make decisions about how to draw the players’ attention to things they need to look at in order to have a good time in the games.

March 31, 2018

Mary brings values-centric thinking to Dubai workshop

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:14 pm

In February, Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan was honored to be invited to Dubai by the organizers of the World Government Summit and the creative leadership group THNK for the UN/OECD-based Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In Action workshop at the annual World Government Summit. Mary presented the group findings on industry goals, along with government ministers from around the world as an invited guest.

March 29, 2018

Remembering Bernie DeKoven

from Tiltfactor
by @ 2:58 pm

This week we lost a true great philosopher-king of play: Bernie DeKoven, who passed away in Indiana on Sunday. Founder of “The Games Preserve,” a game retreat center in Pennsylvania, he then went on to become involved in the New Games Movement, a 1970s collective that focused on physical and cooperative play to encourage dialogue and move away from competitive conflict resolution. During the Vietnam War, this movement stood out as having underlying political themes, and the games developed reshaped consciousness in a positive way. Bernie became the director of the New Games Foundation which created highly influential training programs as well as The New Games Book. Bernie “Blue” DeKoven brought his unstoppable brightness to his work as an organizer, trainer, thinker, writer, and activist. He impacted so many lives, including mine on both a personal and professional level.

March 16, 2018

Tiltfactor Launches Online Adventure Game, Crowded Dungeon

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:00 am

We are excited to launch our online adventure game, Crowded Dungeon!

Designed by Tiltfactor with development by Producto Studios, Crowded Dungeon at first seems like a traditional ‘dungeon crawl’-style game. The player directs a hero through many rooms of a very crowded dungeon, frequently encountering monsters that bar her way. Unlike traditional games, instead of fighting the monsters, players must talk their way past them; you’ll need to figure out what each monster wants, and figure out what you can type to convince them to let you pass.


February 27, 2018

New Article! Gender, STEM, and Emotional Attributions

from Tiltfactor
by @ 3:25 pm

We have published a new article in Psychology of Women Quarterly! The article describes a set of studies that examined the influence of gender on how individuals make emotional attributions. Specifically, we had participants read a narrative about a female character dealing with negative emotions such as anxiety or doubt in the context of a STEM class. We then asked the participants why the character was feeling those emotions. Across three studies as well as an internal meta-analysis that examined the pattern across the studies, we found that men and women sometimes differ in the way they make attributions in this context. The male participants were more likely than the female participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt in her STEM class because she was not adequately prepared. On the other hand, the female participants were more likely than the male participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt because of the effects of stereotype threat and awareness of bias.

February 16, 2018

The Importance of Liberal Arts

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:54 pm

Although much of our research at Tiltfactor aims to increase the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), our work also shines a light on the importance of the liberal arts. The students who work at Tiltfactor come from a broad range of majors–from computer science to studio art to psychology–and it is through this intersection of STEM, humanities, and social sciences that we are able to create and study games that can foster social change.

February 6, 2018

Using Electricity readings, with video of one

from Post Position
by @ 1:34 pm

I’m writing now from the middle of a four-city book tour which I’m on with Rafael Pérez y Pérez and Allison Parrish – we are the first three author/programmers to develop books (The Truelist, Mexica, and Articulations) in this Counterpath series, Using Electricity.

I’m taking the time now to post a link to video of a short reading that Allison and I did at the MLA Convention, from exactly a month ago. If you can’t join us at an upcoming reading (MIT Press Bookstore, 2018-02-06 6pm or Babycastles in NYC, 2018-02-07 7pm) and have 10 minutes, the video provides an introduction to two of the three projects.

February 4, 2018

Tiltfactor Impacts the World Government Summit

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:29 pm

Mary is representing at the World Government Summit this February; it’s an annual event held in Dubai, UAE that brings together governmental and thought leaders across the disciplines for dialogue about government, the environment, and technology. Mary will be contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals aspects of the gathering.

Mary Davos Talks

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:23 pm

At the  recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 23rd and 26th, Mary Flanagan offered her thought leadership on panels, dinners, and gave a presentation on games for impact. The panel “Putting Jobs Out of Work” had an excellent team of business leaders and academics; watch the video of  her solo talk, “Game Changers: Playing Games for Good” and read a (mostly) accurate description of the talk.


January 30, 2018

Author Function

from Post Position
by @ 3:15 pm

The exhibit Author Function, featuring computer-generated literary art in print, is now up in MIT’s Rotch Library (77 Mass Ave, Building 7, 2nd Floor) and in my lab/studio, The Trope Tank (Room 14N-233, in building 14, the same building that houses the Hayden Library). Please contact me by email if you are interested in seeing the materials in the Trope Tank, as this part of the exhibit is accessible by appointment only.

There are three events associated with the exhibit happening in Cambridge, Mass:

February 7, 6pm-7pm, a reading and signing at the MIT Press bookstore. Nick Montfort, Rafael Pérez y Pérez, and Allison Parrish.

January 25, 2018

Mary at Davos summit speaking on design, games & social impact

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:32 am

This week our director Mary Flanagan joins leaders from business, government, media,  academia, and the arts in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s 48th annual meeting. Read more in the Dartmouth News.

January 11, 2018

Buffalo Game and Mary featured on National Public Radio

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:10 am

Maanvi Singh has a piece about Buffalo on Code Switch, a race and culture outlet and a weekly podcast from American public radio network NPR. How awesome!  Also listen to her earlier piece for Weekend Edition. Singh plays the game and interviews experts about the possibilities of shifting mental biases through games. When it is not sold out, the game is available through our retail partner Resonym on Amazon!


December 20, 2017

Games as Methods in Social and Personality Psychology!

from Tiltfactor
by @ 8:27 am

We are excited to report that we have a new paper out! Published in Social and Personality Psychology Compass, our paper describes the potential of games as methods in social and personality psychology. We review the ways that games have been used in the past and provide a primer for researchers interested in making their own games for use in the psychology lab.

Freedman, G., & Flanagan, M. (2017). From dictators to avatars: Furthering social and personality psychology through game methods. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, e12368. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12368


December 14, 2017

Design thinking, climate & farming

from Tiltfactor
by @ 3:15 pm

There’s a new article by Matt Hongoltz-Hetling (@hh_matt) on Iowa farming strategies at the Weather Channel featuring some ideas from Professor Flanagan about motivating sustainable farming! There is other commentary from other faculty here at Dartmouth as well. Enjoy thinking about motivating sustainable behavior!! (Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes).

December 5, 2017

Tiltfactor 2017 Year in Review

from Tiltfactor
by @ 11:17 am

October 7, 2017

Sentaniz Nimerik, E-Lit in Haitian Creole

from Post Position
by @ 9:45 pm

A week ago, on October 2, we put Sentaniz Nimerik online. This is an electronic literature work, an example of digital storytelling and digital poetry, that is by Sixto & BIC and was facilitated by Michel DeGraff & Nick Montfort. It is in Haitian Creole — Kreyòl, as the language is called in the language itself. This language has a community of about 12 million speakers worldwide and is the language shared by everyone in Haiti. It is not the same as Haitian French or mutually intelligible with Haitian French (or any other kind of French).

August 15, 2017

The Gathering Cloud

from Post Position
by @ 1:41 pm
The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017

The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017. (I was given a review copy of this book.)

August 14, 2017

C-Creativity, my talk at the KDD workshop on ML and Creativity

from Post Position
by @ 8:00 am

Here are my slides from “C-Creativity: Cultural Creativity or, Why is there no middle C?,” the talk I just gave in Halifax. There are no text notes, and they don’t represent what I said very closely, but if they remind people who were there of my comments, that’s great. And if they provoke any questions, feel free to get in touch on the blog or by email.

July 14, 2017

Continental Drift Wins Best New Mechanic

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:21 pm

Earlier this year we entered a Tiltfactor prototype game, Continental Drift, into the 2017 Board Game Geek Two-Player Print and Play Design Contest. This week we were excited to learn that, out of over 30 entries, Continental Drift was voted:

#1 Best New Mechanic
#1 Best Use of Language Independent Components
#1 Best Game to Play with Your Child
#2 Best Date Night Game
#3 Best Casual/Gateway Game
#4 Best Art/Graphic Design
#4 Best Game (Overall)

Whoa! We’re hoping to do something cool with this game, so stay tuned!

July 2, 2017

Upcoming Meetings and Events!

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:20 am

Tiltfactor has just started a local game development meet up –the Upper Valley Game Designers Meeting! Yes. First meeting is this Thursday, 6th July 2017, 6:30pkm at the lab, 245 Black Arts in Hanover NH.

Mary will be speaking in Delft next week, held jointly by ISAGA (International Simulation and Gaming Association) and SAGANET and at the Games for Change Festival in July!


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