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Saturday, October 5 • 9:30am - 10:30am
Keynote with Tracy Fullerton

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Walking with Thoreau: Uncommon Wisdom for Game Designers
Designers of games for learning and social impact often talk about the importance of creating game mechanics that are integrated with learning goals and content. We talk about the criticalness of creating mechanics that engage the player and are “fun” in and of themselves. And, we talk about the importance of working in cross-disciplinary teams that bring content experts and evaluators together with experienced game designers to build systems together that represent the best of both learning and playing. All of these are indeed important to the design of compelling and innovative social impact games. But there are other, equally compelling modes of learning and understanding that may complement the systemic, challenge-based activity commonly found in game mechanics. These are modes of reflection and absorption that are often a part of the true synthesis of ideas, and the transfer of ideas into a personal and original connection to material. In this talk, which will draw on her own work, as well as other successful impact games, designer Tracy Fullerton explores the role of uncommon mechanics such as walking, musing, waiting and reflecting on the design of games that go beyond short term learning to become opportunities for long term learning and understanding

Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the USC Games program. Her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola and the recently released Walden, a game, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond which was named “Game of the Year” at Games for Change 2017 and “Developer Choice” at IndieCade 2017. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. Prior to USC, she designed games for companies including Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among many others. Tracy’s work has received numerous honors including an Emmy nomination for interactive television, Indiecade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” and “Trailblazer” awards, Games for Change “Game Changer” award, the Game Developers Choice “Ambassador” Award, and Time Magazine’s Best of the Web.


Tracy Fullerton

Director at USC Game Innovation Lab, USC Games

Saturday October 5, 2019 9:30am - 10:30am PDT
Crystal Cove Auditorium 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697