Gaming the Humanities: Transmedia Play and Connected Learning

Games and gamification are a major issue of the still-emerging digital humanities. Computer, video, mobile, and alternate reality games — through their mechanics, navigable worlds, and multimedia interactions — call for new literacies that exceed traditional reading and writing skills. Digital games demand new ways of perceiving and working. They seem to matter to the unfolding of the twenty-first century everyday, even if we do not yet always recognize precisely how they matter. This talk introduces an experimental initiative, the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, in which faculty, university students, and high school youth from the community collaborate to create digital stories and games in order to explore issues related to emotional health, social justice, and digital literacies. Throughout the humanities, the Lab promotes the study of electronic literature, new media art, popular cultural forms, digital media and learning, and the rapidly expanding field of videogame studies. Patrick Jagoda (Assistant Professor of English), the co-founder of the Lab with Melissa Gilliam (Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Pediatrics), will introduce the Lab and speak about a transdisciplinary and narrative-based alternate reality game, The Source, and its intervention in the contemporary situation of the humanities.