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G4LI featured in New York Times Magazine

Published September 16th, 2010

Category Press

By Charles Hendee


The New York Times Magazine publishes in its September 19 issue a cover story by Sara Corbett on Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom, which features G4LI research. Our work was also described in the video Games Theory that was published online with the same article.

Will Wright’s February 2010 talk at G4LI

Published September 15th, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee

Tags g4li, Talk, Talks, Video, Will Wright,

Will Wright—Why Games are good for Learning

Games for Learning at the 2010 Games for Change Festival

Published July 2nd, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee and Dixie Ching

Tags G4C, G4CFest2010, Interviews, Videos,

Games for Learning at the 2010 Games for Change Festival from Games for Learning Institute on Vimeo.

Games for Learning at the 2010 Games for Change Festival from info g4li on Vimeo.

G4LI announces new graduate courses on learning games design at NYU Steinhardt

Published May 20th, 2010


By Jan L Plass

Tags course, Games, learning, Simulations,

We are pleased to announce four new courses on designing games for learning at NYU Steinhardt, offered by the Program in Educational Communication and Technology:

E19.2500 Video Games and Play in Education
Introduces theories of learning, learning through play, and the role of technology in education. Students will encounter a wide variety of game genres through critiquing and playtesting current and historic videogames. Students will do preliminary game design with history, theory, learning outcomes and learner characteristics in mind.

E19.2176 Designing Simulations and Games for Learning (Plass, Fall 2010)
Introduces a model of designing simulations and games for learning, covering cognitive factors, affective factors, as well as narrative. Examines the potential of various genres of simulations and games as learning technologies and discusses issues of designing for fun versus designing for learning through readings, discussion, play, design and research.  Class discussions focus on identifying and applying design patterns for the design of effective learning games. Students will collaborate to design several learning games and implement paper and digital prototypes.

E19.2510 Narrative, Digital Media and Learning
Addresses the role of narrative when designing serious games, simulations, social media, and documentary storytelling. Narrative forms have been used for teaching and learning given their role in memory, cognition, the engagement of learners, as well as in case studies for learning, teaching, and research. This course explores the design principles and constitutive elements of narrative-centered learning. Special emphasis is given to designing media narratives that enable and support pedagogical models including story-based learning, digital storytelling, and entertainment education, and goal-based scenarios.

E19.2520 Research on Simulations and Games for Learning (Plass, Spring 2011)
Provides an introduction to research on simulations and games, with a focus on choosing the appropriate approach, e.g., playtesting, evaluation, or efficacy research, and the appropriate methods, e.g., think aloud protocols, video research, eye tracking, EEG/EMG, user log data, or biometrics. Reading assignments, class discussions, and case studies will be used to discuss the goals, methods, design, and setup of these methods and prepare students to design and execute their own playtesting and evaluation research for learning games of their choice.

NYU-POLY PIs Wein, Isbister and Skelton awarded National Science Foundation grant

Published March 28th, 2010


By Diane Ludin , Carl Skelton , Katherine Isbister and Joel Wein


Professors Wein, Isbister and Skelton collaborated to win a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program. The project will study games for teaching about complex, distributed systems. They will collaborate with Brooklyn College who were simultaneously awarded a Collaborative Research grant.


Complex distributed systems are critical in the modern computing experience, yet many undergraduate computing curricula give students little exposure to the full complexity of these systems. Investigators have developed a prototype gaming environment, called DWORLD, to provide students more realistic experiences with distributed systems. The current project extends the capabilities of this environment. Students compete by addressing a variety of issues in a virtualized distributed system in order to keep the system healthy and operating normally. Game scenarios are designed to enhance student skills and knowledge of key concepts such as scalability, robustness, fault-tolerance and the ability to build a distributed system. Expected outcomes include a software package that can be easily adopted by other faculty and a collection of lab modules and assignments.

The game is being piloted in undergraduate courses at Polytechnic University of New York and CUNY Brooklyn College. Workshops are used to train faculty how and why to use the gaming environment in their courses. As part of a broader context, the project assesses the potential for games as an important tool in STEM education.

Watch G4LI Talk: Will Wright – February 17, 2010

Published February 17th, 2010

Category News

By Juan Barrientos


Watch Will Wright’s Talk at the Games for Learning Institute


G4LI to present at GDC: March 10

Published February 3rd, 2010


By Jan L Plass


G4LI co-directors Ken Perlin and Jan L. Plass will together with former MSR senior manager John Nordlinger give a 6o-min presentation on the institute’s research, entitled The Games for Learning Institute: Research on Design Patterns for Effective Educational Games. This presentation is part of the Game Developers Conference Serious Games Summit, held from March 9-10 in the San Francisco Moscone center.

March 10, 10-11am, Room 133, North Hall, Moscone Center

Will Wright on Colbert Report

Published January 24th, 2010


By Juan Barrientos


The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Will Wright
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

Will Wright on TED in 2007

Published January 22nd, 2010

Category Found

By Juan Barrientos


NYU-TV will broadcast Will Wright “LIVE” on February 17, 2010

Published January 22nd, 2010

Category News

By Juan Barrientos

Tags Will Wright,

NYU-TV will broadcast Will Wright “LIVE” from the Games for Learning Institute at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City on February 17, 2010 at 6:00pm.


Visionary game designer and simulation extraordinaire Will Wright will be discussing “Why Games are (Good) for Learning” on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 6:00pm – 7:00pm in the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.  This event, co-hosted by Microsoft Research, The NYU Game Center, and Games for Change, is open to the public.  Complimentary tickets are available by RSVP at: tickets@g4li.org (limit 2 per person).  The event will be carried LIVE in a webcast produced by NYU-TV.

“Will Wright was given a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2001. In 2002, he became the fifth person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Until 2006, he was the only person to have been honored this way by both of these industry organizations. In 2007 the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded him a fellowship, the first given to a game designer.

He has been called one of the most important people in gaming, technology, and entertainment by publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Time, PC Gamer, Discover and GameSpy. Wright was also awarded the PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2005.”


“A technical virtuoso with boundless imagination, Will Wright has created a style of computer gaming unlike any that came before, emphasizing learning more than losing, invention more than sport. With his hit game SimCity, he spurred players to make predictions, take risks, and sometimes fail miserably, as they built their own virtual urban worlds. With his follow-up hit, The Sims, he encouraged the same creativity toward building a household, all the while preserving the addictive fun of ordinary video games. His most recent game, Spore, evolves an entire universe from a single-celled creature.

Wright’s genius is for presenting vital abstract principles — like evolution, differences of scale, and environmental dynamics — through a highly personalized, humorous kind of play. Users invest themselves passionately in characters they create (with Wright’s mind-boggling CG tools), and then watch them encounter fundamentals of life and nature. If it all sounds suspiciously educational, well, it just might be. Wright has created not just an irresistible form of entertainment, but an ingenious, original pedagogy.

In 2009, he left publisher Electronic Arts to form his own think tank for the future of games, toys and entertainment, the Stupid Fun Club.”


The Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU:

The Skirball Center is the premier venue for the presentation of cultural and performing arts events for NYU and lower Manhattan. The programs of the Skirball Center reflect NYU’s mission as an international center of scholarship, defined by excellence and innovation and shaped by an intellectually rich and diverse environment. Since 2003, the 860-seat Center has provided a unique venue for enhancing a sense of community while continuing the Greenwich Village traditions of creativity and artistic discovery with a broad range of compelling performance events at affordable ticket prices. Led by Executive Producer Jay Oliva (President Emeritus, NYU) and Director Michael Harrington, a natural and vital aspect of the Center’s mission is to build young adult audiences for the future of live performance. www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu

Game Design Expo

Published December 18th, 2009

Category News, Press, Found

By Lizzie


Thanks to all who attended the Game Design Expo last night, particularly those game developers who participated in the challenge! The event was a success by all accounts! The judges were impressed with the developers’ ability to build a learning game for the Xbox 360 or Microsoft Zune platform using a specific design pattern. The grand prize went to Super Transformation, by Alec Jacobson, Murphy Stein and Yongming Hong, a platform style 2D game, in which the user drives a character through levels by laying down geometric transformation portals. The 2nd place winner was Prime Beef by Eric Rosenzweig. The object of this game is to defeat all alien cows on the screen by selecting a factor that divides the number or polynomial on the cow and shooting it.  The 3rd place winner was EcoSim, by Melissa DiFranco, Kai Johnson, Younyil Kim, an ecosystem simulation game in which the player creates and maintains an ecosystem with dynamic interacting elements through a series of game missions. The 4th place winner was The Recipe Ruler by Rachit Parikh, Edgardo Molina, Keith Grigoletto. Recipe Ruler is an interactive game that teaches mathematical concepts, with an emphasis on proportions and conversions. By adjusting the original recipe, players build math skills and successfully meet demands for varying quantities of different goods such as cookies.

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you all for celebrating these initiatives in learning game development with us.

Video footage of the event will be available via vimeo in the near future. Stay tuned!

Game a Day

Published December 4th, 2009

Category News

By Charles Hendee

Tags game'a'day,

As the semester draws to a close, and as folks start to submit games for the game design challenge, we are suspending our featured game of the day until Monday, December 7 for the semester. I will instead be posting selected entries for the game design challenge, so every one has a chance to see them.