Introductory lectures by Doris and Mischa

Professor Doris Rusch and Mischa Hießböck moved to Gotland and started working with us earlier this month! They’re both giving an introduction lecture on Wednesday the 22nd, at 13:00 in B51 – swing by to say hi and learn what they’re about!

The lectures are open to the public and all GAME-students are strongly recommended to attend.

Where: B51, Campus Gotland
When: Wed 22nd of May, 13:00 – 15:00

Storytelling, game design and history

Michael Hießböckk

In my introductory talk, I am taking the opportunity to compare two of my favorite projects: I will discuss “Something Wicked” – a game project that serves as an example for how my passions for storytelling, game design and history can productively coalesce and inform each other. Something Wicked was a collaboration with Elizabeth Hunter, at the time a theater PhD student at Northwestern University in Chicago. It is a video game adaptation of the Norwegian invasion from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

The other project is “Cure Runners”, a collaboration with Three Coins and Ovos Media, that teaches financial literacy. The game is set in a not-so-alternate timeline in which a forgotten island in the Pacific Ocean emerges from cold-war-era oblivion.

I am looking forward to illustrating my approach to narrative and game design exemplifying these very different cases.

Deep Game Design & The Alchemy of Play

Doris C. Rusch

I think of games as interactive Pensieves. Pensieves are an invention by J.K. Rowling. They are magical basins into which you can put excess thoughts from your mind to see them more clearly, understand new connections. That’s what games are to me. What I look for, when I choose a game to play. What I strive for, when I design one: projective possibility spaces to better understand our Inner World, allowing an investigation of the Human Condition by making salient aspects of it manifest through rules, mechanics, art, and sound.

But games are not just passive receptacles you dump ideas into. They afford active engagement of these ideas in an embodiedenactedexperiential way. And as such, they are far less obedient and arguably much more magical than the humble Pensive! You don’t just look at a game and watch its ideas and themes unfold. You step into the current and are transformed – as player and designer – through the alchemy of play.

As designer and research, I want to unlock the secrets of this play alchemy. I do so by exploring how games can leverage the mind-body connection; how they can speak to our unconscious through mythical themes and ritualistic game mechanics; how they can raise questions rather than give answers by way of letting us act upon evocative possibility spaces; how they can touch us emotionally, disturb and confront us, so we see life with fresh eyes, we wake up to our own existence, and become more aware of the lived experiences of others.

There is much to do still, in regards to articulating design approaches that harness this alchemy of play. This intro talk is meant to provide a glimpse into how I think about games, why I believe they are the coolest medium on this planet and what I hope to explore further with students and colleagues at the UU games department on beautiful, magical Gotland. 

Where: B51, Campus Gotland
When: Wed 22nd of May, 13:00 – 15:00

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