Katie Salen

Making and Breaking Rules: Game Design as Critical Practice

Date 1/24/05

Affiliation Artist & Game Designer, Parsons School of Design, 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!


Katie Salen is the Director of Graduate Studies, Design and Technology, Parsons School of Design. She has curated programs on games and culture for the Lincoln Center, the ZKM, and Exploding Cinema, and is a contributing writer for RES magazine. She worked as an animator on the critically acclaimed feature Waking Life and has designed games for a range of clients including SIGGRAPH, the Design Institute, gameLab, and mememe productions. She and Eic Zimmerman 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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