Game Changers: Games Jam for Self-Expression

GDC 2017 Talk: Why Student Autonomy Matters

Games for Self-Determination

Video games have changed a lot recently. Game-making tools are more accessible than ever, more people are making games, more diverse stories are being told. Yet our practices are still structured as rigid, top-down hierarchies where only a few are truly empowered. Even small and activist studios are organized in ways that look nothing like the world we would like to live in.

We can do better.

What if we could use our design skills, meaningful play, and insights from other fields to create new ways to work together? In our games, we imagine vast universes, novel ways to interact with each other, and expand what it means to be human. Why settle of an antiquated and dysfunctional way of working and teaching?

Radical Play proposes one path forward:

  1. Start with what we care about: our shared values.
  2. Build structure and processes that represents and reinforces those values.
  3. Re-assess and update often.

This seemingly simple change can result in a vastly different kind of practice and forces us to confront implicit biases that result in deep inequalities and unnecessary suffering. And in the end, we will end up creating workplaces and classrooms that empower individuals to become autonomous, feel competent and confident, and work/play in solidarity with one another.


Download the material below for more information:

Position Paper (academia.edu) | Radical Play Zine (PDF) | Sample Syllabus (PDF)


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Watsonville, California. 2017.
radicalplay@radicalplay.org