KEYNOTE: Affection Games in a World That Needs Them

GRACE QGCon 2015 headshotSPEAKER: Lindsay Grace

Affection Games are a casual play genre in which players hug, flirt, kiss or make love to meet their game goals. There are more than 500 digital affection games currently available to play. This presentation playfully demonstrates a cross section of digital affection games and their conventions. From unicorns kissing in the clouds to star-crossed lovers sneaking off into the night, the genre is evolving. However, for all but a few of these games, heteronormative, non-diverse representation exists. In affection games, unicorns rarely kiss fairies, and bears rarely hug anyone but other bears. What can designers, critics and players do to change this? What does this type of play communicate about affection, love and playful expression. How does intersectionality fit within the now narrow context of digital affection? This presentation will be high-energy, tour-de-force of games, affection and design. Attendees may expect to interact.

Lindsay Grace is a professor, game designer, programmer and artist. He is an associate professor at American University and founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio. His game designs have received awards from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play, Advances in Computer Entertainment and Gamescape. He has published more than 40 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than eight countries and 12 states, including New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Chicago and Vancouver. He has given talks at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), SXSW, Games for Change Festival/Tribeca Film Festival, the Boston Festival of Independent Games and many others. He is currently the Vice President of the Global Game Jamâ„¢ and serves on the board for the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). Lindsay served Miami University as the Armstrong Professor of Creative Arts at Miami University between 2009-2013. He founded the Persuasive Play Lab (PPL) and directed the Games Center within the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media. His research areas include game design, human-computer interaction, critical gameplay and design. He also writes about design and education. Lindsay has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer.