Welcome to the Game Innovation Lab
We are the premier center for experimental game design research at USC. Founded in 2004, the lab is directed by Professor Tracy Fullerton. The mission of the lab is to pursue experimental design of games in cultural realms including art, science, politics and learning.
The international success of games that have emerged from the lab, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Cat and the Coup and The Night Journey, have made it a hub for indie and experimental games culture in Los Angeles. Our Playthink Salons attract speakers and participants from across the city and across disciplinary boundaries.
Associated faculty include award winning game designers Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted series) and Peter Brinson (Waco, The Cat and the Coup) as well as pioneering games user researcher Dennis Wixon. Research staff include up and coming game designers Elizabeth Swensen and Sean Bouchard, as well as the talented digital media artists Kurosh ValaNejad, Todd Furmanski and Lucas Peterson. Graduate student researchers in the lab have gone on to stellar careers at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Zynga and more.
The lab has a strong history of collaboration with cross-disciplinary experts in many fields, including education and technology. Our commitment to an iterative, participatory process brings users, stakeholders and designers into constant dialogue.
Current projects, such as the Collegeology suite of games Walden, a game, and the ChronoCards History games are supported by Microsoft Research, The Gates Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Gilbert Foundation, and The Department of Education.
While there are many areas of game design that the members of the lab community are pursuing, the top-level initiatives of the lab focus on the following areas of investigation:
- Experimental game design
- Games and learning
- Games user research, analysis and metrics
- Game aesthetics
- Narrative play
- Emergent world design
- Communities of play
- Convergence and cross-media play