Eric Zimmerman

Making and Breaking Rules: Game Design as Critical Practice

Date 1/24/05

Affiliation Game Designer, gameLab, New York


Despite their commercial explosion in pop cultural, games remain largely unexplored as a critical practice with social and cultural dimensions. Why are games important? What kinds of games "break the rules" of mainstream computer and video games? How can making, playing, and studying games illuminate larger social and cultural issues?

This talk will focus on a range of projects created by Kate Salen and Eric Zimmerman, including games designed to be played in conferences, offices, and urban spaces. Discussing their ideas, their processes, and the games they make, Katie and Eric will address topics in design, complex systems, emergent complexity, collaboration, competition, social play, and games as interventions into urban spaces and everyday life. Come to their talk prepared to play!


Eric Zimmerman is the co-founder and CEO of gameLab, an independent game development company based in New York City that works with companies like Microsoft, PBS, and LeapFrog to create games for a variety of media. He is a writer, scholar, and a game industry advocate for independent and experimental games. He and Katie Salen recently co-authored Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (MIT Press 2004), a first-of-its-kind textbook on game design. A second volume of readings in game design is slated for publication in Fall 2005.

-- As of 1/24/05

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