Experimental Game Design
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Course taught for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media Undergraduate students focusing on experimental uses of games in fine art and activist applications.

Course Description

This section will focus on the experimental uses of video games in fine arts and activist applications, exploring how games created in such contexts interrogate traditional assumptions about video games to produce cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation. The course will look at the historical subversive, activist, experimental and avant garde uses of games. Twentieth Century practices of games as fine art and activist media will be explored, and their connection to other related practices, such as scores, performances, tactical media and public interventions, as well as art movements that explicitly included games as part of their oevre, such as Dada and Fluxus. The course will include a series of readings on the history of games in these alternative contexts, as well as a series of art-based studio assignments where students will engage practices of game-making in both analog, digital and hybrid forms. The course itself is experimental, and will include field trips, and innovative indoor and outdoor alternative play and game design exercises.


Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method
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by Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce and T.L. Taylor

Ethnography and Virtual Worlds is the only book of its kind–a concise, comprehensive, and practical guide for students, teachers, designers, and scholars interested in using ethnographic methods to study online virtual worlds, including both game and nongame environments. Written by leading ethnographers of virtual worlds, and focusing on the key method of participant observation, the book provides invaluable advice, tips, guidelines, and principles to aid researchers through every stage of a project, from choosing an online fieldsite to writing and publishing the results.

  • Provides practical and detailed techniques for ethnographic research customized to reflect the specific issues of online virtual worlds, both game and nongame
  • Draws on research in a range of virtual worlds, including Everquest, Second Life, There.com, and World of Warcraft
  • Provides suggestions for dealing with institutional review boards, human subjects protocols, and ethical issues
  • Guides the reader through the full trajectory of ethnographic research, from research design to data collection, data analysis, and writing up and publishing research results
  • Addresses myths and misunderstandings about ethnographic research, and argues for the scientific value of ethnography


DiGRA 2013 - August 26-29 - Atlanta
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This year’s DiGRA will be hosted in Atlanta at the beautiful, historica Georgian Terrace Hotel Hotel. The conference is co-chaired by Celia Pearce, John Sharp and Helen Kennedy. For more visit the DiGRA 2013 Conference Web Site.


XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design - July 14 - September 2, 2013
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The first ever exhibit celebrating the work of women game designers, XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design, will take place at the Museum of Design Atlanta July 14-September 2, 2013. For more visit the Museum Web Site, the Exhibition Web Site, or our Facebook Page. This project is a partnership between the Museum of Design Atlanta and Georgia Tech, and curated by Celia Pearce, Akira Thompson, John Sharp, and Cindy Poremba.


PlayStation Home Destinations
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PlayStation Home Destinations
PlayStation Home Destinations

Launched in October of 2011, PlayStation Home Destinations is a total redesign of the public spaces of PlayStation’s virtual world. Celia Pearce worked as a consultant for Sony developing the basic concept, the genre-themes and components for each area, the hub functionality, the questing concept, and the over-arching refocusing of Home as a community for gamers. She then brought in Friends Jay Fisher and Justin Jorgensen, theme park designers extraordinaire, to art direct their very first video game project. Destinations also includes games from Codename, the indie game label I co-founded with partners from IndieCade and Psychic Bunny. PlayStation Home is also an IndieCade sponsor. Check out the promo video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuOZgndEBRk

Image and Video Copyright 2011 Sony Computer Entertainment


110/110 - 9/11 Paper Monument
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In the days following the attacks of September 11, 2001, I created a conceptual art piece to try and make sense of events. The piece consists of two spreadsheets, each representing one of the two towers, with a field for each individual that died in the attacks. The spreadsheet is formatted such that each spreadsheet can be printed out on an 11×17 sheet of paper and folded into a tower. The idea for the piece was that people could download it, print it out and make their own 9/11 paper monument. Because they are made of paper, the two towers are very fragile and easily knocked over.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, a friend suggested I repost the piece for people to download: http://cpandfriends.com/wtc/110-110_wtc_monument.xls


AbTeC Skins: First Paper Published
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I’m pleased to announce that the first paper has been published about the AbTeC project, which I worked on with Skawennati Fragnito and Jason Lewis. The paper can be found here. (I’m not listed as a co-author which is fine, I was only involved in the initial ideation of the project.)


IndieCade 2010
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IndieCade 2010 took place October 8-10 in Downtown Culver City. For more in the festival finalists, awards and other events, visit the IndieCade Website.


ITU Copenhagen, November 3, 2010
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I have a talk at ITU Copenhagen while visiting for one month in the Fall of 2010. Click this link to see the video of my talk: Strange Bedfellows: New Discoveries through the Merger of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences


Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds
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Communities of Play

For more on my new book, visit www.communitiesofplay.com