Sparks of Eternity at FDG

We recently showed the prototype of Sparks of Eternity at the Foundation of Digital Games conference. Sparks of Eternity: Episode 1 – Breakthrough is a custom, collaboratively designed game between the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University and the Frankel Jewish Academy. The goal of the collaboration is to create …

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Sparks of Eternity

Sparks of Eternity is a religious education game that is designed as a new approach to the teaching of Rabbinic literature for Jewish high school students. The game was collaboratively designed game between the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University and the Frankel Jewish Academy. The goal of the collaboration …

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Developer’s Dilemma

My first book, Developer’s Dilemma will be hitting Amazon officially in November, though it may be available sooner. The official book blurb: Rank-and-file game developers bring videogames from concept to product, and yet their work is almost invisible, hidden behind the famous names of publishers, executives, or console manufacturers. In this book, Casey O’Donnell examines the creative collaborative practice …

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A 4-Front War…

[Cross Posted: CASTAC, Gamasutra and #CultD] I was going to write about the butterfly effect, ethnography and a key informant’s book on the development of the game Jagged Alliance 2. But then the portion of the Internet surrounding videogames and game development exploded. I’ve started posts previously with the line, “I teach game design…” I’ll …

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Sparks of Eternity at FDG

We recently showed the prototype of Sparks of Eternity at the Foundation of Digital Games conference. Sparks of Eternity: Episode 1 – Breakthrough is a custom, collaboratively designed game between the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University and the Frankel Jewish Academy. The goal of the collaboration is to create …

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Reflections on a Decade of GDC Fieldnotes

Ah, the Game Developers Conference (GDC)… I started my field research in 2004 at a relatively small but growing game studio: Vicarious Visions. Since that time I’ve been researching game development and game developers. That’s a long time to study such an amorphous, variable and shifting thing/community/world/culture. I’ve ranged from AAA developers to hobbyists to …

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Rise of the GameDev Hobbyist

Flappy Bird prompted game developers to think about a lot of things. Lots of important things. It prompted me to think about hobbyist game developers again. The first time I thought about hobbyists was through the lens of an opportunity lost with Mario Factory back in the 90s. The second time was thinking about Nintendo …

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Institutional Alzheimers: A Culture of Secrecy and the Opacity of #GAMEDEV Work

[Cross Posted at Culture Digitally] Yesterday, Todd Harper (@laevantine) tweeted a reflection on several other blog posts responding to recent news that Irrational Games was closing. I like that both @leighalexander and @BRKeogh‘s pieces on Irrational highlight the intense opacity of the game dev process… — Todd Harper (@laevantine) February 19, 2014 Both Leigh Alexander …

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Mixed Messages: Policing the Public/Private Boundaries of Cultural Production on the Nintendo DS

I’ll be speaking as part of a panel at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That panel, Strategies and Tactics for Promoting Indie Game Design will be Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9AM to 10:30AM. I’ll be trying to historicize “Indie” a bit, talking about homebrew game development and hobbyist …

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Playing a Broken Game: Digital Publics at Play in US Classrooms

In addition to my panel presentation, I’ll be speaking as part of a roundtable at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That roundtable, titled, Producing Digital Publics from Gaming to Crowdsourcing, will have me discussing briefly recent ethnographic work surrounding serious games in US classrooms. ABSTRACT From the multiplayer classroom …

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