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Katie Salen Tekinbaş

Katie Salen Tekinbaş is Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University and Chief Designer and Researcher at Institute of Play.

Titles by This Author

Designing with Gamestar Mechanic

Gaming the System demonstrates the nature of games as systems, how game designers need to think in terms of complex interactions of game elements and rules, and how to identify systems concepts in the design process. The activities use Gamestar Mechanic, an online game design environment with a systems thinking focus.

Digital Storytelling with Scratch

Script Changers shows the ways that stories offer a lens for seeing the world as a series of systems. It provides opportunities for students to create interactive and animated stories about creating positive change in their communities. These projects utilize the Scratch visual programming environment.

Crafting e-Puppets with DIY Electronics

Short Circuits offers students opportunities to undertake physical computing projects, providing tools and methods for creating electronic puppets. Students learn how to incorporate microprocessors into everyday materials and use them to enhance their language and writing skills with shadow puppet shows featuring their own DIY flashlights.

Crafting e-Fashion with DIY Electronics

Soft Circuits introduces students to the world of wearable technology. Using Modkit, an accessible DIY electronics toolkit, students learn to create e-textile cuffs, “electrici-tee” shirts, and solar-powered backpacks. Students also learn the importance of one component to the whole—how, for example, changing the structure of LED connections immediately affects the number of LEDs that light up.

Developing the School for Digital Kids

Quest to Learn, an innovative school for grades 6 to 12 in New York City, grew out of the idea that gaming and game design offer a promising new paradigm for curriculum and learning. The designers of Quest to Learn developed an approach to learning that draws from what games do best: drop kids into inquiry-based, complex problem spaces that are built to help players understand how they are doing, what they need to work on, and where to go next. Content is not treated as dry information but as a living resource; students are encouraged to interact with the larger world in ways that feel relevant, exciting, and empowering. Quest to Learn opened in the fall of 2009 with 76 sixth graders. In their first semester, these students learned—among other things—to convert fractions into decimals in order to break a piece of code found in a library book; to use atlases and read maps to create a location guide for a reality television series; and to create video tutorials for a hapless group of fictional inventors. This research and development document outlines the learning framework for the school, making the original design available to others in the field. Elements in development include a detailed curriculum map, a budget, and samples of student and teacher handbooks.

Game Design Fundamentals

As pop culture, games are as important as film or television—but game design has yet to develop a theoretical framework or critical vocabulary. In Rules of Play Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman present a much-needed primer for this emerging field. They offer a unified model for looking at all kinds of games, from board games and sports to computer and video games. As active participants in game culture, the authors have written Rules of Play as a catalyst for innovation, filled with new concepts, strategies, and methodologies for creating and understanding games .Building an aesthetics of interactive systems, Salen and Zimmerman define core concepts like "play," "design," and "interactivity." They look at games through a series of eighteen "game design schemas," or conceptual frameworks, including games as systems of emergence and information, as contexts for social play, as a storytelling medium, and as sites of cultural resistance.Written for game scholars, game developers, and interactive designers, Rules of Play is a textbook, reference book, and theoretical guide. It is the first comprehensive attempt to establish a solid theoretical framework for the emerging discipline of game design.

Titles by This Editor

A Rules of Play Anthology

The Game Design Reader is a one-of-a-kind collection on game design and criticism, from classic scholarly essays to cutting-edge case studies. A companion work to Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman's textbook Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, The Game Design Reader is a classroom sourcebook, a reference for working game developers, and a great read for game fans and players.Thirty-two essays by game designers, game critics, game fans, philosophers, anthropologists, media theorists, and others consider fundamental questions: What are games and how are they designed? How do games interact with culture at large? What critical approaches can game designers take to create game stories, game spaces, game communities, and new forms of play?Salen and Zimmerman have collected seminal writings that span 50 years to offer a stunning array of perspectives. Game journalists express the rhythms of game play, sociologists tackle topics such as role-playing in vast virtual worlds, players rant and rave, and game designers describe the sweat and tears of bringing a game to market. Each text acts as a springboard for discussion, a potential class assignment, and a source of inspiration. The book is organized around fourteen topics, from The Player Experience to The Game Design Process, from Games and Narrative to Cultural Representation. Each topic, introduced with a short essay by Salen and Zimmerman, covers ideas and research fundamental to the study of games, and points to relevant texts within the Reader. Visual essays between book sections act as counterpoint to the writings.Like Rules of Play, The Game Design Reader is an intelligent and playful book. An invaluable resource for professionals and a unique introduction for those new to the field, The Game Design Reader is essential reading for anyone who takes games seriously.