Eric Zimmerman


Eric Zimmerman, CEO and co-Founder, gameLab. Eric is a game designer, academic, writer, and entrepreneur. He collaborated with on the underground online hit, SiSSYFiGHT 2000 and worked on the PC CD-ROM games Gearheads (Philips Media, 1996) and The Robot Club (Southpeak Interactive, 1998). Eric has taught game design at MIT, NYU, Parsons School of Design, and School of Visual Arts and, along with Katie Salen, is author of Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (MIT Press, 2004).


Game Design Workshop
Case in Point, Thursday (10:45 - 12:15) in Hall of Ideas E

This workshop is based on a two-day tutorial taught annually at the Game Developers Conference. Attendees will break into small groups to play, discuss, brainstorm and tune a game.

Using the MDA framework, we will analyze a game in terms of its mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics. Then we will re-design this game, concentrating on the connection between player experience and fiction. Through this activity, attendees learn to view games analytically, approaching them as systems which can be analyzed, evaluated and improved.

Idea Takeaway: Attendees leave this workshop with new abstract tools for analyzing and tuning games, and strategies for communicating about these core concepts with others.


Playing Culture
Symposium, Friday (9:00 - 10:30) in Hall of Ideas G

In this unusual and provocative session, Jesper Juul and Eric Zimmerman will explore a cluster of issues surrounding social game play, game meaning, and the ways that players learn and use rules. Juul and Zimmerman are both game creators and game theorists, and for this session they bring their design and their scholarly interests to bear. Through an audience exercise, participants will not just play a game, but embody and perform games and game cultures. The game will serve as the touchstone for a presentation and discussion about the difference between game rules and game fiction, social roles that players take on during play, the role of a game's goal in social learning and play, the relationship between learning game rules and learning the "rules of culture," and the ability of game design as a critical too reflect upon itself as well as on important questions of games, learning, and culture. Come to this session prepared to play like you mean it.

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