Gaming to Know You is a new media arts workshop that promotes advanced game literacy and celebrates the increasing diversity of games and players through a combination of critical analysis of video games and artistic, project-based learning. Toward that end, the workshop will focus on the ways that video games function as powerful storytelling tools that can enhance interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, foster empathy, and promote ethical decision-making.​

The curriculum of Gaming to Know You will cover a wide variety of topics related to games and empathy and will focus on both media analysis and production. Participants will learn about some of the basic elements of game design, but the workshop will focus more on developing conceptual thinking regarding interactive storytelling. Many of the lessons will incorporate gameplay (see Featured Games below) followed by debriefing and unpacking the meaning through discussion. The workshop will also include presentations and activities led by experts in various disciplines, including game designers, digital artists, creative writing professionals, and specialists in interpersonal communication.

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Dates & Times

June 21st, 2021 to June 26th, 2021, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Morning Sessions: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Lunches: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Afternoon Sessions: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

For the current version of the Gaming to Know You workshop, click HERE.

Location

Fayetteville Public Library, J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Center for Innovation

401 W Mountain St, Fayetteville, AR 72701

The Gaming to Know You workshop will be held in-person and all workshop staff, presenters, and participants will follow the Fayetteville Public Library's COVID-19 safety policies. 

Tuition and Scholarships

Tuition: $250.00 per student. 

Scholarships: Need-based scholarships are available upon request (see application form). 

Donate: If you interested in funding a scholarship for Gaming to Know You applicants or helping to cover other costs of the workshop, please contact Dr. Ashley Grisso at gamingtoknowyou@gmail.com.

Participants in Gaming to Know You will play through or play selections of several critically-acclaimed games over the course of the workshop. For more information about some of these games, click HERE.

Participants will not need to purchase copies of any of these games, but they will need to have their own Steam account with at least $5.00 worth of purchased games or Steam Wallet credit in order to access the workshop's copies of the games. 

Presenters

The Gaming to Know You workshop will feature several presentations, discussions, and activities led by experts in the fields of game design, digital art production, communication, and other relevant fields.

Adam Schoelz

Lead Software Engineer at the University of Arkansas's game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design. Adam Schoelz has extensive experience in game design and programming.

Dr. Amie Kincaid

Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Dr. Kincaid specializes in intercultural, interpersonal, and organizational communication.

Dr. Ashley Grisso (workshop co-director)

Co-Founder of New Media Arts Education of Northwest Arkansas and a world history teacher at Fayetteville High School for over ten years. Prior to teaching high school, Dr. Grisso taught various courses about media and intercultural communication at the college/university level and has served in many capacities in media literacy non-profit organizations, including as Director of GirlsFilmSchool, a high school program offered through the College of Santa Fe. 

Brianna Jenkins

Art Director at the University of Arkansas's game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design. Brianna Jenkins has extensive experience with art direction, 3D asset creation, and project management.

 

Chloe Hiley

Former Art Director at the University of Arkansas's game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, and Co-Founder of Hiley Design. Chloe Hiley has extensive experience with architectural and graphic design, 3D modeling, and animation. 

Dr. David Fredrick

The Founder and Director of the University of Arkansas' game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design. Dr. Fredrick has many years of experience with game development, has presented at various game design conferences, and teaches several U of A courses that use the games produced at the Tesseract studio.

George Paulson (workshop co-director)

Co-Founder of New Media Arts Education of Northwest Arkansas and future teacher earning a Masters of Arts in Teaching from University of Central Arkansas. George Paulson studied game design at the University of Arkansas and interned at the U of A's game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design.

Greg Rogers

Former Creative Director at the University of Arkansas' game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, and Creative Director and Co-Founder of Causeway Studios, an indie game studio based out of Northwest Arkansas.

Keenan Cole

Founding member and former Technical Director at the University of Arkansas's game design studio, the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, and software engineer at Armature Studio in Austin, Texas. 

Kevin Snow

Narrative Designer and Co-Founder of Bravemule, an indie game collective originally from Northwest Arkansas. Kevin Snow has written for several games, including the critically acclaimed Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (2018), Pathologic 2 (2019), and Signs of the Sojourner (2020). Keven is currently a writer at Compulsion Games in Montreal, Quebec.

Final Project and Presentation

During the second half of the workshop, students will divide into groups and begin working on a final project. Having learned about the ways that games can be used to tell interactive stories, foster empathy, and promote ethical decision-making, the students will now apply their knowledge and exercise their creativity by designing a concept for their own game themed around communication.

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Students will begin the project by choosing the messages and themes of their game, giving them an opportunity to explore empathetic scenarios that interest them and reflect their own values and ethical dilemmas. Students will then design their game using the conceptual framework of the Elemental Tetrad, considering how their game's mechanics, aesthetics, story, and technology can support their game's "essential experience" along with its messages and themes.

 

As they work, students will be asked to consider how their game might actually be developed, keeping in mind the limitations of real world game development. Rather than actually developing a game or writing a lengthy game design document, the students will visualize their game using Conceptboard, a visual collaboration platform used in a wide variety of industries. On the final day of the workshop (Saturday, June 26th), the students will present their finished concept boards to their peers and any guests in attendance. These concept boards will also be displayed on the Gaming to Know You website.