Patrick Jagoda - "Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification" - Alenda Y. Chang and Ashlyn Sparrow

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Patrick Jagoda

Patrick Jagoda will discuss Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification. He will be joined in conversation by Alenda Y. Chang and Ashlyn Sparrow.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Press

Virtual event


About the book: In our unprecedentedly networked world, games have come to occupy an important space in many of our everyday lives. Digital games alone engage an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide as of 2020, and other forms of gaming, such as board games, role playing, escape rooms, and puzzles, command an ever-expanding audience. At the same time, “gamification”—the application of game mechanics to traditionally nongame spheres, such as personal health and fitness, shopping, habit tracking, and more—has imposed unprecedented levels of competition, repetition, and quantification on daily life. Drawing from his own experience as a game designer, Patrick Jagoda argues that games need not be synonymous with gamification. He studies experimental games that intervene in the neoliberal project from the inside out, examining a broad variety of mainstream and independent games, including StarCraftCandy Crush SagaStardew ValleyDys4iaBraid, and Undertale. Beyond a diagnosis of gamification, Jagoda imagines ways that games can be experimental—not only in the sense of problem solving, but also the more nuanced notion of problem making that embraces the complexities of our digital present. The result is a game-changing book on the sociopolitical potential of this form of mass entertainment.

About the author: Patrick Jagoda is professor of English and cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and executive editor of Critical Inquiry. He is the author of Network Aesthetics, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and coauthor of The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer.

About Alenda Y. Chang: Alenda Y. Chang is an associate professor in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she co-directs the Wireframe media studio. Chang is also a founding co-editor of the open-access journal, Media+Environment.

About Ashlyn Sparrow: Ashlyn Sparrow is Assistant Director of the Weston Game Lab at the University of Chicago.

Event Location: