March 23, 2006
I’ve just returned from the Serious Games Summit 2006 at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose. Larger than ever, the Summit’s rooms were packed with a diverse crowd of indie and educational game developer folks (as well as some GTxA community! great to meet you!). The GDC had two full days of serious gaming and to their credit, Suzanne Seggerman and Ben Stokes encouraged the community to grow, grow, grow. They held a “birds of a feather” group on “Games for Change” and I was pleased to make new friends in this arena from places as near and far as the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, the University of Denver, RIT, The Art Institute of California-San Diego, among others–all of which have developed gaming curriculua (in fact the latest count shows well over 15 US schools with game-related bachelors and/or masters’ degrees, and growing).
Several panels were not to be missed. Katie Salen, Suzanne Seggerman, Carl Goodman, and Connie Yowell’s panel on Mass Audience Issues for Serious Games was excellent in its pursuit of copycat and new models of indie games development. Fellow bloggers Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas also had a significant presence on several panels/presentations.
I organized a panel of folks doing educational game-environments, and primarily consisted of those making programming projects for middle schoolers. “Serious Play: At The Edge of Education Gaming” featured speakers from the Alice project at Carnegie Mellon, the Scratch project at MIT, and the Rapunsel project at Hunter College’s Tiltfactor lab/NYU. It’s the first time these projects have been presented together and provided an opportunity for comparison among approaches to teaching CS principles. Ian Bogost wrapped up the panel with a brief examination of procedural literacy and how each of our projects addressses the challenge.
There was a great deal of interests in the Values in Game Design research I’m working on with Helen Nissenbaum as well– we’re developing a new web site for this and will announce shortly on GTxA.