A Year in Review: 2012

Tiltfactor pursues several main areas of research: games for health and wellness, games for addressing biases and stereotypes, and games for generating new knowledge. We’ve had an amazing year at Tiltfactor–we have many things to be thankful for as we think about our year in review.

Here are seven.

1) New Games. Our team was able to research and produce four awesome games this year!

The Tiltfactor team with Meaningful Play 2012 awards for Best Non-Digital and Best Digital Games. Yeah!

2) Partners, Friends, and Supporters. Too numerous to name! From Gamer Media Partners, who had a whole booth for Indie Games at INDIECADE, to designers like Jeff Watson and Naomi Clark who helped us think through or playtest our games just because, we continue to encounter genuinely great people who help us in our mission, such as Karen Peterson and the National Girls Collaborative Project, who have been excellent. Al Mulley and The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science have been especially excellent friends and supporters. Bernie DeKoven = an awesome tilted friend! Merci to groups like PlayTech and MOUSE for sharing Tilt goodness! Thank you to the administration, staff, teachers, parents, and students of our partner schools. Thanks also to all of our playtesters, and parents of playtesters who let their children try out brand new ideas. Thank you!!!

3) New Research. We conducted 9 studies this year. Wow! Keep an eye out for our papers! Thanks to our school partners and our researchers, who have much going on indeed.

4) New Funding. We were funded with a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Implementation Grant for Metadata Games with Dartmouth College Archivist Peter Carini. We had received startup funding to create Metadata Games (MG) 1.0, a suite of games and a database backend that is designed to facilitate crowd-sourcing of metadata for visual images — see http://www.metadatagames.com. Read our paper on our pilot program at the American Archivist“How Games Can Help Us Access and Understand Archival Images.” Master of Code Robinson Tryon is helping us locally, and we are working on Metadata Games 2.0 with partners at The New School, The Museum of the City of New York, and the New York Public Library.

5) Team Excellence. Our design team has never been better, nor our games looked better, thanks to the clever work of Zara Downs. Postdoctoral Researcher Geoff Kaufman received much media attention for his Experience Taking work earlier this year. Geoff led many research studies tirelessly and with aplomb, and helped Dartmouth’s Office of Pluralism and Leadership learn about games and psychological insights. We hired full time game designer Max Seidman to design for our RePlay Health initiative and other projects. Sukie Punjasthitkul held down the fort, masterminding game production, managing daily operations, and coaching our interns to success! We were also able to add superman Ken Hullican to the team to help Mary send out games.

We were blessed with ambitious and bright interns at the lab: Past Presidential Scholars Andrea McClave and Cote Theriault; interns Viviana Ramos, Shloka Kini, Sebastian Bierman-Lytle; and new interns Rebecca Leong, Alannah Linkhorn, and Joe Ramsawak. We hosted three great Presidential Scholars who gave their all (& will give in 2013!) : Nick O’Leary, Sebastian DeLuca, and Madeleine Parker. Past 2012 interns, scholars, and affiliates include Jasmine Kumalah, Sharang Biswas, Ashlee Roberson, Janet Kim, Si Jie Loo, Tina Moschella, Goyo Amaro, and I’m sure there may be more friends to thank for their dedication and hard work. Thank you!

6. Busy Bees. Our team has been invited to meetings with games for health groups, with international health leaders at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Harvard, and the CDC. We presented at a host of conferences, from Geoff’s presentations at Meaningful Play 2012 and the Centers For Disease Control’s Games for Health panel to Sukie’s talks at Games for Health and mHealth, and from our booth at GenCon to Mary’s keynotes at INDIECADE, University of Westminster, Critical Play Symposium @ MoMA, and Georgia Tech. In addition, Mary has been contributing to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Academic Consortium on Games for Impact, and had a great panel discussion with incredible women in the field at UCSC’s Playable Media Program. Thanks especially to Ben Sawyer, Drew Davidson, and Tracy Fullerton for keeping an eye out for us at Tiltfactor and loving our work.

THANKS to Molleindustria!!

Mary Flanagan Keynote at the IndieCade Independent Games Festival: “Hippies, Hackers, and Wargames: A Brief History of War (and Peace)”

More International Activities — Mary is making a game with collaborator Ruth Catlow in the UK to engage in public drawing and urban planning. Their project, Local Play, is supported by The British Arts Council. (http://localplay.org.uk/). Geoff and Mary also ran The Science of Games, real-time research that was part of the GAME exhibition at the Science Gallery in Dublin. Listen to Mary’s RTE1 interview about the exhibition at http://www.rte.ie/radio1/arena/archive1/2012/1116/arena.html.

More Local Activities — We ran a Gamecrafting Workshop Summer for middle schoolers at the Ava Gallery in nearby Lebanon, New Hampshire this past summer and have had many informal play sessions in our new lab digs, as well as in local libraries in Hanover, West Lebanon, and Lebanon. Also, local stores College Supplies and Traditionally Trendy are carrying our games. Woot!

7. Bright Future. We’re looking forward to 2013! Keep an eye out for us this coming year as we publish our research papers on our exciting recent work. Watch for our new and improved website, a booth at Toyfair in February, Mary’s talk at the GDC Education Sig in March, our presentation at the AERA conference in April, our health sport at Colorado SGIM in April, Mary’s keynote at Different Games, NYU Poly in April, our alums in the game industry event Dartmouth @Play in May, and GenCon in August. We are prototyping a handwashing game in Rwanda and South Africa; we may also work with Dr. Ross Virginia on games that address attitudes on climate change, and Dr. Constance Steinkuehler on more games about women in science and technology.


Onward! Happy New Year!

♥ ♥ ♥  The Tiltfactor Team ♥ ♥ ♥