Game Design as Cultural Practice
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This is the core class in game design for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media Undergraduate students.

Course Description

Students analyze games as cultural artifacts and gameplay as a patterned cultural experience. The course will survey the history of board games and video games with an emphasis on the cultural, historical and economic contexts in which these forms were produced. Students will conduct analysis of influential and representative games from ancient times to the present, across cultures, eras and genres. This will cover not only traditional, commercial games, but also various cultural and art movements which have used games as an expressive medium or intervention strategy, such as the Dada, Fluxus and Situationist Art, the New Games Movement. The course will also look at issues of representation, identity, gender and diversity in games, as well as the ways narrative and values can be expressed through game design.

Class time will consist of lecture/discussions and structured play and design activities. Students will develop a critical play method by keeping a journal/blog of their gameplay, which they will analyze with reference to specified readings. Through this process students will develop analysis skills and versatile command of the expressive capabilities of games. The course will culminate in a team-based game project, which will include generation of pitch and design documents and team evaluations. Students taking this course for graduate credit will also be asked to do additional readings give presentations and run class sessions during the course of the semester.

Course Blogs

IndieCade @ E3 09
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IndieCade presents its 3rd Annual Indie Games Showcase @ E3 June 2-4. For more visit

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Partner: Creative Media Collaborative
Role: Festival Chair

IndieCade Showcases at E3 Summit (left) and GameCity Nottingham (right).


Myst Online: Uru Live
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Client: Turner Broadcasting/Gametap
Role: Uru Anthropologist

Second Life\'s Uru Island, created by fans, and reopened through Gametap to promote Myst Online: Uru Live

Second Life's Uru Island, created by fans, and reopened through Gametap to promote Myst Online: Uru Live


Celia Pearce & Tom Boellstorff on Metanomics
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METANOMICS: Av-Culturation
Host Robert Bloomfield and guests Celia Pearce and Tom Boellstorff
Monday, March 2, 2009, Noon to 1 PM Pacific Time
Hear the Podcast
Read the Rebuttals

Experimental Digital Art
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Course for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media undergraduate students in interactive and digital art.

Course Description

Students examine the conceptual, formal, aesthetic and technical basics of creating and analyzing digital artistic artifacts in areas of: virtual, augmented and mixed reality; ubiquitous and distributed computing; networks; tangible objects; physical and physiological computing; social computing; information and scientific visualization; and artificial intelligence. The course includes analysis, experimentation, creation, and critique of artistic projects and short analytical papers. Numerous areas of converging and diverging issues among artistic and scientific knowledge bases will be explored, in order to understand how emerging technologies and critical practices may offer us ways to reshape and rethink the world.

This section will give a particular focus to the contributions of fine artists to cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation in interactive and electronic media. Since the early 20th Century, artists have been at the forefront of experimentation with new technologies and media, exploring and redefining public realms, and “culture jamming” popular forms and practices. Because these artists often navigate the borderlands between mainstream art, public art, industrial research, and entertainment, their work often falls through the cracks of history, in spite of the fact that work has had major impact on the trajectory of technological development. They frequently tackle problems that may not yet exist, anticipating future trends and putting technology into a profoundly human context. And they often work in public contexts, exploring the everyday relationships between humans and technology. In the past decade, practitioners who operate at the intersections of R&D, art and invention, increasingly being dubbed “arts researchers,” are finding roles in universities, academia and industry. This course will provide a comprehensive survey of experimental media and art from the early 20th Century to the present day. Students will be guided through a series of highly experimental problems designed to stretch their creativity and explore questions that fall outside the realm of traditional academic, scientific or industrial research.

February 5 Lecture at MIT
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Celia Pearce gave a lecture for the MIT Gambit Lab and Comparative Media Studies. Click here for lecture abstract, here for the podcast, and here for the PowerPoint.

Celia Pearce Discusses Indie Games on NPR’s “The Business”
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Listen to the podcast of the January 19 interview with Celia Pearce about indie games on NPR’s “The Business” here.

Article In Delta Sky Magazine
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The January issue of Delta Sky Magazine includes a wonderful article about gender and gaming, including commentary from Celia Pearce on her work in gender and games and Ludica.

Pearce interview on WREK/Georgia Tech Radio
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Georgia Tech’s WREK recently interviewed Celia Peare and her Georgia Tech colleauge Ali Mazalek for a program on science fiction. Listen to the podcast here.