November 15

Slow Play: Playing Deliberately in Walden and The Night Journey

Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. These talks bring together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.

Join us TUESDAY’S From September 27th until December 6th from 12pm-1pm in Shriram 104.

Can’t make it to the talk, but have a question for Tracy? Submit your question HERE and it will be asked. By submitting your question, you’re allowing mediaX to use and record your submission.

Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196. For more information contact

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Tracy Fullerton

Tracy Fullerton, Slow Play: Playing Deliberately in Walden and The Night Journey. The pace of play in digital games often takes on a rough-and-tumble swiftness that requires all of a player’s cognitive bandwidth to process and react, leaving little time for emotional reflection, deliberation or interpretation of game events. In order to create games that respectfully address more serious subject matters, it would seem that the pace of these experiences and the relationship between the player, the game and the ideas generated during play must be examined as an area of design potential. Over the past decade, Tracy Fullerton has worked on several experimental games, each of which posits a slower, reflective pace of play around the topics of spiritual and philosophical journeys. The open worlds of The Night Journey (a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola) and Walden, a game are designed to leave space and time enough for the player to approach the ideas within the play, with attention and time enough to respond fully to the experience. In this presentation, Fullerton will discuss the design of these two experimental game worlds: The Night Journey, a game about the spiritual journey which game takes place in a visually abstracted landscape layering 3D imagery, post processing effects and archival video footage into a slow, surrealistic world of “explorable cinema,” and Walden, a game, in which players take on the role of Henry Thoreau, living a simplified existence, balancing their basic needs such as food, fuel, shelter and clothing while also taking time out to seek inspiration in a deeper connection to nature. With these experimental projects as a foundation for discussion, Fullerton will explore the potential that lies with slow play, and the way in which we might imagine serious worlds of play that allow and expect a deeper level of player reflection as one pillar of their experience goals.

Tracy Fullerton is a game designer, professor and director of the USC Games program. Her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, The Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola, and Walden, a game. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. Prior to USC, she designed games for Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among others. Tracy’s work has received honors including an Emmy nomination, Indiecade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” and “Trailblazer” awards, the Games for Change “Game Changer” award, and the Game Developers Choice “Ambassador” Award.