We are Tiltfactor.

Game design for social change.

Can we make a more just and equitable world with games? At Tiltfactor, we believe we can.

Our interdisciplinary innovation studio founded by Dr. Mary Flanagan is dedicated to designing & studying games for social impact. Tiltfactor uses its unique design methodology, Critical Play, to incorporate fundamental human values and psychological principles to promote learning, attitude change, and behavior change. Tiltfactor investigates the power of story, systems thinking, and empathy to craft powerful experiences that make a difference in people’s lives: by reducing stereotypes and biases, promoting wellness, harnessing new forms of knowledge, and increasing global awareness, Tiltfactor’s approach revolutionizes new technology design for a better world. We develop board games, card games, sports, urban games, and digital games for a variety of platforms, and publish both qualitative and quantitative research results from our controlled empirical studies. Read more about us in our brochure.

What is the mission?

The TILTFACTOR VISION: A equitable and just world in which challenges such as biases and stereotypes, sexual violence, and unequal access to education and healthcare are eradicated through play.

While games can’t ‘fix’ everything, there are subtle social, attitudinal, and learning challenges that can be best addressed in games. Tiltfactor uses the unique affordance of games in all their diverse manifestations to instigate and empower players to champion pro-social causes and provoke lasting betterment for all.

What makes us unique?

Our reliance on psychological principles to help inform the design and content of the games. Our use of rigorous, systematic research methodologies to test and verify the proposed impact of games on players. Our desire for all of our games to change players’ hearts and minds and promote positive human values.

How do we accomplish this?

We make games. We study how people play. We think games can change the world.  We think games are an art form. We believe games are capable of more.  We teach with games. We speak out with games. We help people through games. We brainstorm.  We research.  We play. We are Tiltfactor.

Tiltfactor has created unique game design methodologies that lead to innovation; these are shared as a resource archived at http://www.valuesatplay.org.

Where are we?

Tiltfactor is at Dartmouth College. We occupy a beautiful space in the Black Family Visual Arts Center. Since our origin as the first academic game lab in NYC, Tiltfactor has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Justice and other national research groups. We have also been previously funded by Microsoft Research, the American Council of Learned Societies, and more.

Who is Tiltfactor?

flanagan-2012-80x80DR. MARY FLANAGAN

Founding Director

Dr. Mary Flanagan imagined and founded Tiltfactor in 2003 and directs the lab. She is a futurist, writer and designer focused on how people create and use technology. Her groundbreaking explorations across the arts, humanities, and sciences reflect a novel use of methods and tools that bind research with introspective cultural production. Known for her theories on playculture, activist design, and critical play, Flanagan has achieved international acclaim for her novel interdisciplinary games, artwork, and theoretical writing, her commitment to theory/practice research, and contributions to social justice design arenas. She is particularly interested in exploring issues of equity and authorship in technological environments and reworking commonly understood paradigms to provide collective strategies for social change. At Tiltfactor, Flanagan and her team study and make social games, urban games, and software that fosters a joyful commitment to humanistic principles, learning, and fun. She has invented many games and is the creator of “The Adventures of Josie True,” the first web-based adventure game for girls. As a scholar interested in how human values, gender, and culture are in play across technologies and systems, Flanagan has written more than 45 critical essays and chapters on games, empathy, gender and digital representation, art and technology, and responsible design. Her books in English include Critical Play (2009) with MIT Press and Values at Play in Digital Games (2014) with Helen Nissenbaum, and Playing Oppression, with Mikael Jakobsson, forthcoming from MIT. As an artist, her internationally exhibited work ranges from game-inspired systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts. She is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College. http://www.maryflanagan.com is her personal site, where you can find links to her game design work and art practice.


Administrative Genius 

Danielle Taylor is a graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in Studio Art and Anthropology/Sociology, as well as a graduate of the University of Iowa with a M.F.A. in Drawing and Painting. She also worked at the University of Pennsylvania in the Graduate School of Fine Arts and Architecture for a period of time in Alumni Relations. In 2002 Danielle relocated to Vermont and in 2013 she joined the team at Tiltfactor. Her favorite games are puzzles, she has an extreme dislike of personalized license plates and is known to occasionally moonlight in the restaurant business.



Project Manager, Game Designer

Sukie Punjasthitkul is Tiltfactor’s project manager. Formerly a researcher at Dartmouth Medical School’s Interactive Media Lab, Sukie has a diverse background that includes video and audio editing, compositing, media encoding, web production, tech support and repair, Q&A, and system administration. Sukie has a MS in Evaluative Clinical Sciences from Dartmouth College. He thinks old technology is still useful.



Senior Game Designer

Max Seidman is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a B.A. in engineering sciences with a focus on human-centered design. When he’s not gaming he spends his time working on games, designing games, and thinking critically about games (with the occasional break to eat and sleep). At Tiltfactor, Max worked on design and production team for such games as: POX, Buffalo, Awkward Moment, Stupid Robot, Gut Check, Bill of Health, Smorball, Beanstalk, and many more. Hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Max stands a whopping 6′ 20″ and is made of pure radiation. In his spare time he enjoys medieval fencing and writing about himself in the third person.



Rachel Billings is a Vassar student (‘20) born and raised in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She started working at Tiltfactor in the summer of 2018 and absolutely fell in love with it. At Vassar she is studying Earth Science and Computer Science with the hope of someday making environmentally-focused video/board games. In her spare time Rachel loves dying her hair, cosplaying and listening to way too much lo fi chill music because she’s that person. She also has an unhealthy obsession with collecting old video games and believes that Katamari Damacy is the greatest game ever made.



Spring Yu is a member of the class of 2019 at Dartmouth College from Wading River, NY. She is currently planning to major in Studio Art. She enjoys playing puzzle and indie video games and is on the Dartmouth Figure Skating Team and Street Soul. In her free time, Spring watches cartoons and laments the lack of cats on campus. Spring was a Tiltfactor Design fellow in the spring of 2018


Ruth Catlow is one of our key collaborators. She is an artist and co-director of furtherfield.org, London’s longest running (de) centre for arts and technology.

Geoff Kaufman is a social psychologist and collaborator with Tiltfactor. He is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s HCII.

Gili Freedman is a social psychologist and collaborator with Tiltfactor. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Tracy Fullerton M.F.A., is Professor and Director of the USC Game Innovation Lab.

Chris Egert is Associate Professor, School of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Helen Nissenbaum is a Professor at Cornell Tech and Director of the Digital Life Initiative.

Celia Pearce is a Professor in Game Design and Head of the Game Design Program at Northeastern University.

Melanie Green is a Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Buffalo, College of Arts and Sciences.


Shaun Akhtar, Goyo Amaro, James Bachhuber, Marco Barragan, Jonathan Belman, Dorothy Bennett, Sebastian Bierman-Lytle, Sharang Biswas, Alice Bonvicini, Jack Bowman, Perrin Brown, Francisca Caporali, Jordan Carpenter, Abby Chen, Nicole Chen, Joyce Cho, Matthew Cloyd, Fabio Ernesto Corredor, Tsomo Cuomaoji, Amaris De La Rosa-Moreno, Sebastian DeLuca, Jim Diamond, Elinor Dooley, Grace Dorgan, Zara Downs, Sunny Drescher, Michelle Earhart, Sarah Ettinger, Nick Feffer, Angela Ferraiolo, Sarah Gabriele, Catalina Garcia, Rijul Garg, Shelley Garg, Jonathan Gliboff, Jordan Hall, Rachel Hand, Bineshi Hermes-Roach, Amanda Herz, Emma Hobday, Julia Holgado, Sarah Holston, Ken Hullican, Zuff Idries, Ruba Iqbal, Jennifer Jacobs, Jiachen Jiang, Khevna Joshi, Jim Kehoe, Janet Kim, Yoon Ji Kim, Jacklyn Kimball, Shloka Kini, Jasmine Kumalah, Lindsay Kusnarowis, Charlie Laud, Dylan Leavitt, Caitlyn Lee, Rebecca Leong, Xinqi Li, Laurence Liao, Alannah Linkhorn, Savannah Liu, Abigail Livingston, Si Jie Loo, Suyin Looui, Lesley Lopez, Anna Lotko, Katie Lukas, Joe Maciscoo, Emma Marsano, Brian Mayzak, Robert McAvinue, Andrea McClave, E McNeill, Jarah Moesch, John Montgomery, Jesus Moreno, Tina Moschella, Erika Murillo, Sophie Neumann, Nicole Newman, Nick O’Leary, Amina Ospan. Royce Park, Madeline Parker, Mehta Punjasthitkul, Christine Qi, Anupama Ramakrishnan, Viviana Ramos, Joe Ramsawak, Patrick Matlin Redondo, Ashlee Roberson, Will Rossi, Lucas Sanford Long, Brendan Scully, Andrea Sedlacek, Nicole Sellew, Sarah Senkfor, Eun “Jinny” Seo, Shivang Sethi, Nikita Shaiva, Gareth Solbeck, Junjie Sam Tan, Cote Theriault, Kaya Thomas, Shenielle Thomas, Sydney Thomashaw, Robinson Tryon, Luisa Vasquez, Dana Venerable, Linden Vongsathorn, Alexis Wallace, Simone Wien, Cecile Williams, Wanfang Wu, Menghan Zhao

We’re so proud of you all!