Tag Archives: “mark danger chen”

What has Mark and the new Gameful Design Lab been up to? Read this draft mission statement excerpt!

Empathy and Agency and Radical Games

Gaming is not a valueless activity. Deep, meaningful relationships develop through gaming, and the cultural life one leads defines their existence as human. To devalue someone’s life is to dehumanize them.

Empathy: Players build meaningful relationships with other players.

Like any other activity with a community around it, gaming is a social and cultural phenomenon. People can bond and form lasting relationships over any affinity. Furthermore, gaming is often about mentorship, hanging out with friends, learning together, and can be about dealing with difference and learning to play off each others’ strengths.

The Pepperdine Gameful Design Lab wants to encourage this community building, to encourage empathy and friendships among all of gaming’s aficionados and hobbyists. By taking gaming seriously but with a playful attitude and tackling what it means to be a gamer collectively means we can live happier more fulfilling lives. We can develop an inclusive community about being good to each other in the shared pursuit of the well-played game.

Agency: Players build meaningful relationships with games.

Games are made up of interconnected systems (rules, mechanics, structures). Players explore and learn how these systems are interrelated through their play, and, in doing so, they become part of the system. A game doesn’t exist except in the enactment.

Players bring with them some sort of imagined future, an ideal state or outcome or maybe even just the hope for some improvement to the current state. Through their activity and “living the system,” players attempt to exercise agency and steer the game’s narrative, all the while themselves being constrained and controlled by the game.

The Gameful Design Lab also wants to encourage resistance towards the inherent control in a game’s rules and structure, to make the narrative emerge from this struggle and transgression. In playing games and designing games, players gain a gaming literacy. They start to understand systems through experience.

Our lives are made up of interrelated systems, of course. From navigating health care to applying to college, from dealing with bullies (online or otherwise) to being a community activist, success often depends on being savvy to our lived systems and understanding them enough to make meaningful decisions. Understanding them well enough to critique them, to resist, and be radical in the face of stupid systems.

Radical Games

If gaming literacy is about deconstructing systems and building meaningful relationships, and our mission is about increasing this literacy, it stands to reason that we need especially to help those who are continually screwed by our life’s systems.

To this end, we propose two main strands of action: 1) develop radical games that encourage transgressive play and empathy building (and moral and ethical reasoning), and 2) host workshops and game jams for those most in need that will encourage the creation of deeply personal radical games.


evolution of a CV

So, I spent almost the whole of last weekend working on a new version of my CV in prep for the Digital Media job in the school of education at Madison that’s due at the end of this week. I figured, for a digital media position, I really should finally act on this desire to do something different, inspired by a couple of years of seeing really cool visualized resumes and such. For example, here’re my visualize.me and my What About Me? results:


For the CV, I’ve been told that search committees are interested in productivity over time, so I thought that a nice timeline would clearly show my rate of producing academic writing. Initially, I played around with an actual timeline with boxes highlighting different works. Here’s a first draft:

Continue reading evolution of a CV

I got a book deal!!! Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in World of Warcraft

Actually, I got it a while back; signed the contract some time in April I think. The draft was due to Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, the series editors, on August 1. Colin just emailed me and a Peter Lang Publishers person that they think it’s good to go!

I just need to reformat, edit it a bit for informal/formal consistency, move footnotes to endnotes, etc. (It comes from my dissertation but is different in some significant ways.)

Working with Colin and Michele has been a total joy. (very smooth and similar experience to publishing something in their journal E-Learning)

After the whole process is over, I’ll do a write-up of it here. Just as with getting a PhD, how to get a book published is completely opaque to people who’ve never done it before, yet everyone who’s done it doesn’t seem to realize that at all…

My talks/chats at Games Learning Society 7

I’ll be in three sessions next week at Games Learning Society conference next week.

Two of them are fireside chats with others:

The third is a Hall of Fail presentation about a research project I was part of 7 years ago! When I first started graduate school, I was learning tons about games and learning, games studies, and games research. One of the best things the group I was with was trying to do was create a model of engagement in games. We came up with a great model, informed by many disciplines, but we got hung up on validating the model. So the presentation is basically about the methodological failure my group encountered while attempting to validate the model.

Full DRAFT paper here. Abstract below the break. Slides below:

Continue reading My talks/chats at Games Learning Society 7

Dissertation ready for download

Here’s the PDF (4MB) of my dissertation:, submitted to the graduate school on September 2, 2010:

Leet Noobs: Expertise and Collaboration in a World of Warcraft Player Group as Distributed Sociomaterial Practice

Now to make it into a book…

Leet Noobs dissertation defense videos are up!

I decided to upload and annotate them on YouTube, including the admin frontmatter stuff since I figure PhD students who are defending in the years to come can get a sense of the format of a defense. My slides are available in a previous post.

Leet Noobs dissertation defense presentation slides

In case you want to check out the slides I’ll be using tomorrow:

I’ll be recording the presentation to be uploaded later and a version with my voice will be uploaded to slideshare later. Sorry, no live streaming! 🙁