Digital games are different from other media in that they are interactive, participatory and deeply immersive.

Well-designed games and game-infused experiences also offer a delicate balance of challenges and rewards that can drive deep levels of engagement and time-on-task, enabling players to advance at their own pace, take on different identities, fail in a safe and supportive environment, acquire critical knowledge just-in-time (vs. just-in-case), iterate based on feedback and use this knowledge to develop mastery. The Center is committed toward uncovering, iterating, and testing these and other game mechanics and game-infused experiences to address society’s biggest challenge areas. In particular, we are supporting three core activities related to innovation:

  • Tools for Innovation – Providing powerful tools and mentorship to support the development of innovative game mechanics for achieving impact. In addition to developing new technologies to support this work, we provide a dynamic space with available mentors and real-world problems that can be addressed through game-infused experiences.
  • Game-Infused Curricula – Designing new curricula and a suite of impact guides to immerse youth, pre-service teachers, and active professionals in game-infused learning experiences. These included leveraging existing games, and designing innovative offerings that can be infused as part of a learning experience.
  • Reflective Play Analysis – Supporting reflective play, the Center has a substantial game library where interested parties can come and experience the power of a wide variety of games. Center to this experience is a critical community, who engages in and supports others in reflecting on power of the underlying game mechanics with an eye towards supporting impact.
  • Studio Imprint – We are an academic and research partner working with E-Line Media’s game design studio in Phoenix, AZ. Through this partnership we are designing, researching, and marketing games at the same time building models for successful industry/academy ventures. (read more)

To support these activities, we have built a design apprenticeship program and an innovation laboratory where participants can experience the next-gen game design tools and a supportive community. The innovation laboratory provides a space for interns, students, and industry partners to build powerful innovations that will advance the knowledge of the field and produce powerful design mechanics for fostering impact. Here we provide hands-on apprenticeship experiences for interested individuals who want to learn more about games and impact through playing games, creating impact materials, tinkering with game mechanics, all as part of a carefully thought through trajectory of growth through which participants can level up. At the core of unlocking the power of game-infused technologies is understanding and supporting their integration into the ecosystems where they are implemented. We are also working with games and impact stakeholders, content specialists, and target audiences making the lab activities have potential real-world value.