TGI Student Wins Game Innovation Fellowship

sadeSade McIntosh, a student at York College and a member of the Transformative Games Initiative, earned a video game innovation fellowship for her game Restaurant Rockstar, which teaches students about Nutrition Fact labels.

The ESA | LOFT Video Gaming Innovation Fellowship strives to encourage youth to use video games as a platform for social change. Twenty Fellowship Winners received a $1,000 grant and an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to present their games/game ideas.

Ms. McIntosh designed a board game and a video game to help students make associations between foods and their nutritional content. Players compete against each other or the computer to win cooking contests using Nutritional Fact cards they hold in their card. Winners of cooking contests earn virtual money to build a restaurant empire, and the player with the most property at the end of the game wins.

By giving incoming freshman the experience of becoming intimate with Nutrition Fact labels, Ms. McIntosh hopes that students will make healthier dietary choices throughout their collegiate career, when stress leads many students to eating poorly.



Utopian Studies Seminar

The Utopian Studies Seminar is hosting a discussion of Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s Utopia (2009), which offers a chilling vision of a future neo-­liberal world order. Possible Worlds, Alternative Futures will discuss the implications of Towfik’s work for utopian and ludic studies. The projects is co-sponsored by the CUNY Games Network.

Tuesday, December 10th at 4:15 pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 6417

12-10-13 Utopia Flyer


York College Offers Course on the Art and Sound of Video Games

Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbonDr. Sarah-­Kate Gillespie and Dr. Tom Zlabinger, Assistant Professors of Performing and Fine Arts at York College, have created a course where students learn about games, art, music, culture, and media from a critical perspective. The course is team taught and offered both through Music and Fine Arts to all students regardless of their major.

For more info: or

Course Description and Flyer

CUNY Games Fest Registration Open: Free for CUNY Undergrads!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve just opened registration for the CUNY Games Festival! Register for the conference now by visiting our Registration page.

We’ve also added information about travel to the CUNY Graduate Center and conference hotels to the Location page, so if you’re coming in from out of town, check that page for details.

Bernie DeKoven to Speak at NYU Game Center Today

Reposted from

Bernie DeKoven is a game designer, a theorist of play, and a professional purveyor of fun.

He was a seminal figure in the New Games Movement of the 1970s, a group that created large-scale public play events. His book The Well-Played Game, republished this year by MIT Press, is a landmark work that argues for a radical re-conception of how people engage meaningfully through play. Many of the most important trends in games today, from indie games and art games to game jams and big games, have roots in Bernie’s influential ideas.

Join us on Thursday evening as Bernie talks about his life making play happen, in dialog with NYU Game Center Director Frank Lantz. Two days later, Bernie will lead a New Games Workshop – an unforgettable outdoor afternoon of play.

Lecture Series: Bernie DeKoven
Pfizer Auditorium
5 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201
October 10, 7:00pm

New Games Workshop
Meet at 2 Metrotech Center and we will go to a nearby park.
October 12, 12:30pm

Both events are free and open to the public.

RSVP here

CUNY Games Fest 2014: CFP Extended for Posters and Arcade Game Demos!

We’ve had a great response to our Call for Proposals for the first annual CUNY Games Festival — thanks to all who’ve submitted proposals! After taking a second look at our conference space, we noted we still have room for a few more Posters and Arcade Game Demos. Consequently, we’re extending the CFP deadline for Posters and Game Demos only to Friday, November 1st.

If you’ve been thinking on submitting a proposal, here’s your chance! Submit your proposal here.

Note that conference acceptances for Presentations and Shorts will be sent on 10/18 as originally scheduled. Acceptances for Posters and Game Demos will be sent on 11/10.

Please help spread the word! We look forward to seeing you on January 17th and 18th at the CUNY Games Festival!

Discussions on Games and Play in Utopian/Dystopian Literature

The Utopian Studies group at the Graduate Center will be hosting a series of book discussions focusing on games and play in utopian and dystopian literature. The meetings are open to the public and we welcome your participation. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, October 8 at 4:15PM in Rm.6417 at the Graduate Center. We will be discussing Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, a famous novel that will hit the movie theaters later this fall. At subsequent meetings, we will discuss Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s Utopia, and Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken. The CUNY Games Network is co-sponsoring these events.

More information is included in the attached flyer. Please come join us for a great discussion.
Center for Humanities Flyer

Final day to submit for the CUNY Games Festival: Oct 1!

UPDATE: 2nd Day added to conference! (details below)

Mark your calendars. The first annual CUNY Games Festival will take place on January 17, 2014 at the CUNY Graduate Center. This one-day conference to promote and discuss game-based learning in higher education will bring together faculty, students, game designers, and other domain experts from various disciplines. Open to the public, the conference features an Arcade, where attendees can play learning games and games-in-progress, and sessions to address such questions as:

Apart from engaging college students, what real learning can happen through games?
What relevance does the broader debate about gamification have to higher education?
Should games be read, analyzed, or even replace texts in a course?

The plenary session includes a diverse panel of scholars and game designers: John Black (Teachers College, Columbia University), Robert Duncan (York College, CUNY), Joey Lee (Teachers College, Columbia University), Anastasia Salter (University of Baltimore) and Eric Zimmerman (New York University).

Interested in presenting? Read the guidelines and submit your proposal!


We are also adding a special second day to the festival. From 10am to 5pm on Saturday, January 18, we will host a more informal day of playing popular board and card games, and offering feedback to educational games that attendees have created. Feel free to bring games of your design; we will have game designers on hand! During this time we will get to know each other better and hopefully discover opportunities for future collaborations.

Not Everyone Owned a Cotton Gin

Cotton_gin_harpersEric Zimmerman recently posted a manifesto on what he calls the Ludic Century as a prelude to his forthcoming book “The Gameful World.” The manifesto predicts that our increasingly data driven culture will be largely accessed through user interfaces inspired by digital games.

Abe Stein, a research affiliate with the MIT Game Lab, thoughtfully expressed concerns that the Ludic Century is biased toward Western Culture. Stein faults Zimmerman’s manifesto for failing to acknowledge that a large portion of the world does not consume games or digital technology.

While we cannot deny the statistics on global Internet usage or that access to digital technology is restricted in much of the world, there are several studies that indicate these trends are changing. As American audiences continue to grow, so does the proportion of global Internet users. Pew Internet indicates that over 90% of American Adults own cell phones. Meeker and Wu estimate global Internet at only 34%, but they demonstrate that global usage has grown 8% since last year and exponential growth is predicted for the future. This growth rate has been confirmed by The World Bank.

The changing technological landscape can also be witnessed by the trends in game development. Digital technology is becoming more affordable every year, and digital games are migrating rapidly to mobile platforms. Developers who produce and publish to mobile platforms have a broader audience. Consequently, more of the world will have access to games this century.

In his book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” Jared Diamond illustrated how the smallest shift in the tide between cultures can have profound consequences. The introduction of a few guns to the Maori natives of the Cheatham Islands led to the slaughter of the Moriori in New Zealand. While games may not be ubiquitous, the availability of mobile technology will put games in the hands of a significant number of users. Democratization does not equate with ubiquity, but there will be enough users to influence other aspects of culture.

The cotton gin revolutionized production in America, which had far reaching consequences for the world. I use the word “revolutionized” judiciously because the cotton gin is viewed as creating a demand for slavery in the American South, which eventually led to the American Civil War. Similarly, one need not be a direct consumer of digital games to be profoundly influenced by their design principles.

Consider Yourself “Manifested”

zimmermanNoted game designer and scholar Eric Zimmerman published a manifesto on the future of culture. Keeping in step with the content, the article was published on Kotaku, a videogame blog, rather than an academic journal. The document, “Manifesto: The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Games,” is a preview to his forthcoming book from MIT Press entitled “The Gameful World.” Zimmerman postulates that the 21st century will be defined by games in what he calls the Ludic Century. He indicates that games are as ancient as culture itself, but digital technology gives games a new role in gating the control of information. Whereas the 20th century was marked by increasing access to information, the Ludic Century will be marked by an interactive relationship to information. Digital designers and media mavens will play a new role, inviting users to play with information in an unprecedented way. There will also be a democratization of digital experiences similar to that of other industries. Game design will cross all boundaries of art, science, education, and media. Zimmerman states that games are complex systems that might allow us to understand, synthesize, and digest other more complex systems.

The CUNY Games Network is excited to have Eric Zimmerman participating as a featured panelist at the CUNY Games Fest conference in 2014.