March 23, 2020

Against “Epicenter”

from Post Position
by @ 10:24 am

New York City, we are continually told, is now the “epicenter” of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Italy is the world’s “epicenter.” This term is used all the time in the news and was recently deployed by our mayor here in NYC.

I’m following up on a February 15 Language Log post by Mark Liberman about why this term is being used in this way. Rather than asking why people are using the term, I’m going to discuss how this word influences our thinking. “Epicenter” leads us to think about the current global pandemic in some unhelpful ways. Although less exciting, simply saying something like “New York City has the worst outbreak” would actually improve our conceptual understanding of this crisis.

May 15, 2019

Student Perspectives: Grace Dorgan

Grace is a sophomore at Dartmouth College doing game design, development, and research at Tiltfactor

There’s a reason computer science majors are stereotyped as being socially awkward. It’s because we are. That’s why when I started working at Tiltfactor, the one part of the job I was not sure I could handle was the communication with other people. It is also the area of the job that I have learned the most from.

May 28, 2016

Massive interest in our reading research!

from Tiltfactor
by @ 7:52 am

Our new research studies published in the paper “High-Low Split” at #chi4good this year show that users demonstrate different types of psychological construal using digital screens– that is, a focus on concrete details (low level construal) as opposed to “big picture” thinking (high level construal), and media is very very interested in this research. This May our work has been covered in publications such as The Daily Mail, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Fox News,, and many news outlets in India, such as the Economic Times and Hindustan Times.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.48.21 AM

October 26, 2015

Here’s How Game Design Can Reduce Stereotypes and Social Biases

New research by Tiltfactor published in Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace illustrates how games can have a positive impact in our society. Using a new approach in game design— ‘embedded game design’—former Tiltfactor postdoc Geoff Kaufman, now an assistant professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and Tiltfactor’s founding director Mary Flanagan, demonstrate how games utilizing this approach can change players’ biases, reduce social stereotypes and prejudice, and engender a more complex view of diversity.

Through embedded game design, an intended persuasive message is incorporated into the overall game’s content, mechanics, or context of play—rather than making the message overt to the players.

October 20, 2014

Institute of Museum and Library Services-Funded Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives to Host Inaugural 2014 Open Webinar

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:00 am

CCLA logoDartmouth_College_logo


Institute of Museum and Library Services-Funded
Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives
to Host Inaugural 2014 Open Webinar

Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies” Webinar
on October 29, 12pm EDT.

HANOVER, N.H. – October 20, 2014 –The Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA) announced the first in a series of international webinars, titled ‘Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies,’ scheduled for October 29 at 12 pm EDT. Crowdsourcing in the humanities is an emerging new area for museums, libraries, and archives. The CCLA was formed earlier this year with an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) award, with the goal to unite leading-edge technology groups in libraries and archives as well as humanities scholars and scholars from the sciences in a conversation about best practices, shared toolsets, and strategies for using crowdsourcing.

September 5, 2014

The Open Book Project

from Post Position
by @ 4:29 pm

Two professors page through, scroll through, search through the history and contemporary existence of the book to disrupt the opposition between computing and print-based, codexical practice.

May 30, 2014

Stupid Robot Arrives!

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:26 am

This past week marked the launch of our brand new game in the Metadata Games project: Stupid Robot. In this quick and easy arcade game, players score points by teaching the adorable robot words about the image they are presented with. Players strive to teach it one word of each length, 4-letters long to 10-letters long – but there’s a catch! Stupid Robot doesn’t know every word; it only knows words that other players have already taught it.

“Stupid Robot looks at everything but understands nothing. Can you help? Teach it as much as you can about the image it sees. If you do well, soon Stupid Robot will become Smarty Robot!”

March 6, 2014

‘Bitcoin’ Creator Pulled Currency Because It Was ‘Too Addictive’

from Post Position
by @ 9:02 am

Amid Speculation of a Publicity Stunt, Developer Says Fuss Was Overwhelming

LOS ANGELES – Despite what many users of his infuriatingly difficult “Bitcoin” currency seem to think, Satoshi Nakamoto isn’t actually Satan.

“I just wanted to create a currency that people could enjoy for a few minutes,” he said Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview.

His currency, which became a global phenomenon, in recent weeks soared to the top of the currency charts , turning the shy 64-year-old Mr. Nakamoto into something of a sensation among small, independent currency developers. His notoriety grew further when he mysteriously withdrew the currency from circulation Sunday at the height of its success.

March 24, 2013

Tiltfactor Director in Deathmatch Spectacle

from tiltfactor
by @ 4:40 pm

This week at the annual Game Developer’s Conference Education Summit, Tiltfactor Director Mary Flanagan has been called out to a ‘Game Design Curriculum Deathmatch,’ where leading game design instructors battle it out by revealing secrets to their game design teaching, their design philosophies, and pedagogical quirks. Speakers include yours truly (Mary), USC Interactive Media Division chair and Game Innovation Lab director Tracy Fullerton, UC Santa Cruz Expressive Intelligence Studio co-director and Expressive Processing author Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and Rules of Play and the Game Design Reader co-author and NYU Game Center professor Eric Zimmerman. The program will be MC’d by designer Justin Hall! Don’t miss it — the session ID is 823443.

July 31, 2012

Tiltfactor Laboratory receives NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant to Expand Metadata Games, Add Other Media Formats

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:00 am

(pdf version)

contact -at- tiltfactor -dot- org
(603) 646-1007

July 31, 2012 (Hanover, NH)The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced that Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan is one of seven award recipients in the endowment’s inaugural Digital Humanities Implementation Grant program. The Digital Humanities Implementation grants “support the implementation of innovative digital humanities projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field.”

June 1, 2012

IndieCade Exhibit to Showcase Tiltfactor Laboratory’s ZOMBIEPOX at 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:00 am

(PDF version here)



Tiltfactor Laboratory is pleased to announce that ZOMBIEPOX™ has been selected for the IndieCade showcase at the 2012 annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 5th to June 7th. E3 is presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and is the world’s premier trade show for video game and related industries, with last year’s attendance peaking at 46,800.

May 16, 2012

Tiltfactor Director Mary Flanagan to speak at Prominent Art and Game Symposia

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:00 am

(PDF version here)



Dr. Mary Flanagan, director of Tiltfactor Laboratory and Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College, will deliver several talks this summer and fall on such topics as critical play, games as an art form, and games as a medium for social change. Scheduled venues include the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Games for Change Festival, and the IndieCade Conference.

July 27, 2011

Flagella Lookin’ Fly & Mary @ Microsoft

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:43 am

A couple of months back, Microsoft and the Games for Learning Institute(G4LI) challenged the public with the educational holy grail:

“Can you make learning fun?”

Tiltfactor, as the team of intrepid explorers that we are, rose to the challenge, and birthed Flagellla. Flagella was Tiltfactor’s response to Microsoft and G4LI’s task: To create games that can be introduced into schools that address certain curriculum points. Flagella is a flash game that not only addresses the concept of estimation but bundles in a mini-lesson on mutation as a bonus. In that sense it reminded me of the EA game Spore that I thoroughly enjoyed a while ago, but that’s a completely different ballgame.

June 15, 2011

Tiltfactor going to Gen Con!

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:23 am

Tiltfactor is going to Gen Con this year! Held in Indianapolis, Indiana August 4-7, 2011, Gen Con is “the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world.”

We will have an exhibit booth, demoing our latest game, the 2nd Edition of POX: Save the People, as well as a couple of other surprises. More details to come as we get nearer to Gen Con.

May 11, 2011

Imagination Fit to Print

from Post Position
by @ 10:56 am

If you’re heading over to look at today’s parodical “Final Edition,” allow me to suggest instead a thoughtful and compelling re-imagination of the New York Times, the special edition of July 4, 2009 by the Yes Men and the Anti-Advertising Agency. Instead of being just a joke that falls flat – one that was released on the 11th day of the month and features a New York skyscraper in flames, very tastefully – the latter “fake” newspaper is actually a productive utopian vision.

October 30, 2009

Flanagan at MIT, Hood Museum

from tiltfactor
by @ 7:27 am

Tiltfactor’s Mary Flanagan will be visiting MIT’s Gambit lab on Monday 2nd November, for Introduction to Game Studies. Later in the day she is speaking at the MIT series Purple Blurb about her art practice as it relates to her theory of Critical Play.

On Tuesday 3rd November, Flanagan is speaking in a Lunchtime Gallery Talk at 12:30pm related to the exhibition currently on, The Art of Sonia Landy Sheridan.

October 29, 2009

So many great minds~

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:33 pm

First there is the series of conversations with folks like Kate Hayles, the Guerrilla Girls, and Brenda Laurel that is happening at Tiltfactor in the variable_d salon held in Hanover NH!

Second, a symposium on complex systems will take place next Friday (Nov. 6) that I thought would be of interest to many of you. It’s on Complex Systems and will be held in Spanos Auditorium at Thayer.  Keynotes will be given by Duncan Watts (Yahoo!), George Conrades (Akamai Technologies), and John Donahoe (eBay).

Fantastic! Join us!

October 22, 2009

Calling all animators!

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:03 am

Dartmouth College has a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor position available for an Animator. In two years (or less?) this person will be leading the animation area down the hall from Tiltfactor in the new Visual Arts Center. Work with great colleagues, collaborate with Tiltfactor, make friends at the nations’ first Center for Cartoon Studies the next town over, create great art, and teach excellent, creative Dartmouth students. Many things are possible here! Hurry – applications are due in November!

October 20, 2009

Tiltfactor at Montreal Games Summit

from tiltfactor
by @ 7:17 am

Tiltfactor’s Mary Flanagan will be speaking on the panel, “Designing For Impact: Where the Talk Meets the Walk,” with several other internationally recognized social impact game makers. “As the medium of games matures and new experimentation and exploration of the medium flourish, many game designers, educators and activists of all stripes are turning to games to address key international issues such as poverty, global conflicts and climate change. Games such as Food Force from the UN’s World Food Program and Darfur Is Dying are being played by literally millions of players. Yet what exactly are the end results? Is it enough to simply track numbers of plays or players and declare the game a success? Or is the emerging field finally ready to start looking more seriously at how to design for concrete impact in the real world? What if the game began with a petition, a march or a dollar amount needed and designed back from that real-world outcome? How do we build this new step into a design process already very well established? This panel of leading game developers and educators will discuss how a new paradigm of game design is needed to take this emerging field from Talk to Walk. Featuring Tracy Fullerton, Chair of EA Innovation Lab at USC, Mary Flanagan of Tiltfactor Lab, Alexander Eberts, Co-founder and VP Products, Akoha, and Suzanne Seggerman (moderator) President and Co-founder of Games for Change.”

October 6, 2009

Metadata Games in the News

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:45 am

Mary Flanagan on Vermont Television A news piece on Tiltfactor’s metadata project aired Sept. 29 on WCAX-Channel 3, Vermont’s statewide television station based in Burlington. The piece features project director Mary Flanagan and one of her students, Danielle Arostegui, from Dartmouth.

A print story also appears on the station’s website.

September 25, 2009

NEH cooking along

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:05 am

Mary Flanagan is in Washington D.C. at the National Endowment for the Humanities Project Director meeting. Interesting discussions emerged on the ideas about digital commons.

We will have a large meeting soon with our team, technical designer, and advisory board to officially launch the project, but we have neat new project sketches by Zara Downs, Tiltfactor designer, emerging.

September 10, 2009

Science and Humanities Unite!

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:27 pm

There is a nifty new study by cultural anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at Durham University which looks at the evolution and transmission of traditional folktales around the world. His research team used biological mapping techniques that are used to make “the tree of life” project, which shows how organisms evolve from shared ancestors. Using scientific techniques outside of scientific domains is on the mind for Tiltfactor researchers as we relate games to other intellectual domains. The London Telegraph has a good summary of the work.

September 1, 2009

1/2 of GTxA Gather at DiGRA 2009

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:50 am

nullMichael Mateas, Noah Wardrip Fruin, and Mary Flanagan, half of the art-theory collaboration Grand Text Auto, gathered at the Digital Games Research Association’s 2009 Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory in Uxbridge, UK. Mateas is speaking on “Operational Logics,” Wardrip Fruin’s paper is “Agency Reconsidered,” and Flanagan is presenting the co-written paper, “Anxiety, Openness and Activist Games: A Case Study for Critical Play,” and speaking in an interactive workshop called ““Some Assembly Required”: Starting and Growing a Game Lab.” In between these presentations, both of Flanagan’s more recent books (Critical Play and re:SKIN), and Wardrip Fruin’s Expressive Processing are available in the MIT bookshop on site!

August 26, 2009

Using Playtime Productively!

from tiltfactor
by @ 11:37 am

Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan was interviewed in, “Labeling Library Archives Is a Game at Dartmouth College” in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the new NEH project called “Metadata Games.” The interview perhaps overplays the “free labour” aspect of the game itself. Using play time in novel, productive ways likely harms no one. If the game is fun, engaging, and playful, it will attract players, and players will like to play regardless if the hours are “productive” or “wasteful.”
players collaborate with [giantJoystick]
At Tiltfactor, we have a philosophy that play is not a useless activity. Players are constantly learning and growing through game play. Play promotes collaboration and experimentation. If it does even more than that? We say, YAY! – IF it contributes to the Commons and to access to knowledge for the public.

August 21, 2009

Tiltfactor awarded NEH

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:20 pm

Tiltfactor has been awarded a new National Endowment for the Humanities grant. Hear it from Peter Carini, Dartmouth College Archivist:

Dartmouth College, Metadata Games — An Open Source Electronic Game for Archival Data Systems

Mary Flanagan, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College, in collaboration with Rauner Special Collections Library, has received an National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop an open source computer game for the Internet that would supplement library metadata on holdings in collections with descriptions provided by the public.

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