Experts Offer Insight Into Games’ Contribution to Learning, Health, and Society

BOSTON–May 4, 2020. Exploring existential ideas as part of the game design process may yield new perspectives that result in games that offer lasting transformation to players, according to research featured in the latest issue of the Journal of Games, Self, & Society, published by iThrive Games Foundation and ETC Press.

Professor Doris Rusch, a game designer and researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden and the author of Making Deep Games – Designing Games with Meaning and Purpose draws on literature from existential psychotherapy and mythmaking, urging game designers to create new myths in their games to explore existential ideassuch as freedom, isolation, or deathin pursuit of finding meaning.

The issue also features an article by Professors Matthew Farber and Mia Williams and colleagues, who examine how facilitated game design can be used to support teens in exploring and expressing their lived experiences, as well as how systems are structured.

New research by graduate student Sasha Soriane and Professor Jacque Carette aims to fill a gap in the literature around the accessibility of mechanical challenges in games. 

Two papers in this issue provide case studies of two games, one by Professor Gareth Schott exploring how digital games can serve as a memorial following the death of a loved one, and one by Professor Andrew Phelps and colleagues examining how game mechanics can be used in novel ways to represent the human experience. 

The journal’s editor-in-chief, Susan Rivers, Ph.D., who is also the Executive Director and Chief Scientist at iThrive Games Foundation, says that she hopes the interdisciplinary research will support continued deep learning about the power of game design and gameplay.

“I anticipate the creativity, innovation, and design choices put forth by the scholars and designers included in this issue will impact the field,” she says. 

About the Journal

The Journal of Games, Self, & Society (JGSS) is a peer-reviewed journal created and edited by iThrive Games Foundation and published by ETC Press. The journal highlights work focused on how games, game design, and gameplay contribute to a deeper understanding of learning, health, and humanity. It was created to foster interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community around game studies and games-related scholarship. Scholars from all disciplines are encouraged to participate.

About iThrive Games

iThrive Games Foundation prepares teens to thrive by meeting them where they are and working in partnership towards a world where all have the voice, choice, and agency to reach their full potential. We use games and game design to equip teens with the social and emotional skills they need to be healthy and resilient, tools to support and protect their mental health and well-being, systems thinking they need to recognize inequity, and meaningful opportunities to imagine and design a better world.

 

Media Contact:

Nicole Taylor, Senior Director of Communications
nicole.taylor [at] ithrivegames.org

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