Carly A. Kocurek, PhD - Games, Scholarship, Media

Casual Thinking. Serious Gaming.


Feeling Games

Feeling Games is a symposium on the intersections of games and emotions hosted at the Illinois Institute of Technology by the Department of Humanities, the Humanities and Technology Lab (HaT Lab), and Galvin Library with additional sponsorship from the Lewis College of Human Sciences, the College of Science, the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Psychology, to be held on September 25, 2015. It is organized by Carly A. Kocurek with assistance from Michael De Anda.

Feeling Games is a one-day event intended to spark cross-disciplinary conversations about the intersections of games and emotions. How, for example, do game designers work with players’ emotional responses? How might we understand gaming communities through the lens of affect? Are empathy games a genre, and, if so, what defines this genre? In short, how are we to make sense of the diverse emotional experiences to be had in and around games?


Janell_BaxterJanell Baxter, Associate Professor, Interactive Arts and Media Department
Coordinator of Programming and Mobile Media Majors, IAM
Columbia College Chicago

Janell Baxter is interested in building simulations, software, games, and other creative uses of electronic media. She has worked on numerous projects, including grant-funded serious game-like experiences. For example, she served as part of the team for Hi-Rise Evaluation and Learning Platform: H.E.L.P. (2011), which trains office workers on proper fire evacuation practices and was funded by a Department of Defense Grant, and worked as part of the team for Pisces, a serious game that teaches the tragedy of the commons (now managed by Bill Guschwan). Her work has been exhibited widely, appearing in such diverse venues as the Bridgeport Museum of Modern Art and the International Museum of Surgical Science, and she has spoken at conferences and events including meetings of the College Art Association, the International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment, and 1871.

FlorenceCheeFlorence Chee, Assistant Professor of Digital Communication
Loyola University Chicago

Florence Chee researches why people play games. She has completed ethnographic fieldwork studies internationally in locations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Her work has been featured in scholarly journals including the International Journal of Cultural Studies, the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, the International Journal of Technology and GlobalisationGames and Culture: A Journal of Interactive MediaThe International Journal of Media and Culture, and Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology. She has a particular interest in research ethics and informed consent, and serves on the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Ethics Committee; in 2013, she received an IDRC Research Award from the Advisory Committee on Research Ethics, of the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Jennifer deWinter, Associate Professor of Humanities and Arts, Affiliated Faculty in Interactive Media and Game Development
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Jennifer deWinter has spent a number of years analyzing anime, comics, and computer games as part of global media flows in order to understand how concepts such as “art,” “culture,” and “entertainment” are negotiated. Her recent work includes Shigeru Miyamoto (Bloomsbury, 2015), a book-length consideration of the work of the iconic Nintendo game designer, and the anthology Computer Games and Technical Communication (Ashgate, 2014), co-edited with Ryan Moeller. Her work has been featured in journals including EludamosThe Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, FlowReconstructionSyllabus Journal, and Works and Days. She is co-director of the technical writing program at WPI and co-founder and co-editor, with Carly A. Kocurek, of the Influential Game Designers book series, published by Bloomsbury Academic.

BillGuschwanBill Guschwan, Lecturer, Interactive Arts and Media Department
Columbia College Chicago

Bill Guschwan has a particular interest in the intersections of games, science, and ethics. He is co-founder of Tap.Me and was a founding team member of several high-profile projects including Apple’s Quicktime and Newton, 3DO game hardware, and Playstation. He teaches numerous classes in production and design-related topics, including the Indie Game Design Capstone. In addition to his teaching, he works with Thomas Seager, a sustainability scientist and Associate Professor at Arizona State University, to leverage games to situate sustainability and ethics in the college classroom. His current projects include The Pisces Game, an ongoing project that teaches the tragedy of the commons through gameplay. The Pisces Game is an updated version of a game initially designed to be played using Excel spreadsheets; today, the game, first produced by Seager then iterated by Janell Baxter and Bill Guschwan, uses Twitter as an input, making the game widely accessible and easily playable.

ChristopherHansonChris Hanson, Assistant Professor of English
Syracuse University

Chris Hanson’s interests include the art games movement, emergent narrative forms, and the relationships between industrial and avant-garde game production practices. He is currently completing a book project that examines the use and function of temporality in game environments. His work has been featured in journals including Film QuarterlySpectator, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and Discourse, and in anthologies including Lego Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedia Phenomenon (Routledge, 2014). Hanson previously worked in video game and software development for a number of years, and worked on the planning and production of an educational series and content for PBS. He is also a former HASTAC  (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced  Collaboratory) Scholar.

PatrickJagodaPatrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor of English
University of Chicago
Co-Founder, Game Changer Chicago Design Lab

Patrick Jagoda is interested in the intersections of new media studies and American literature and culture. His current project, Network Aesthetics, considers networks as both metaphors and material systems post-1945. He has published in journals including Neo-Victorian StudiesSocial TextCritical Inquiry, The International Journal of Learning and Media, the American Journal of Sexuality Education, and differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, and he is the co-editor of Critical Inquiry. He is also interested in alternate reality games and transmedia storytelling, and his game projects include SpeculationThe Project, and S.E.E.D. The Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, which he co-founded with University of Chicago Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics Melissa Gilliam, engages Chicago youth in collaboration with University of Chicago faculty and students to create transmedia games that address issues of health and social justice.

AdrienneMassanariAdrienne Massanari, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Illinois at Chicago

Adrienne Massanari has more than 10 years experience as a user researcher, information architect, usability specialist, and consultant in both corporate and educational settings. Her research interests include the social and cultural impacts of new media, gaming, information architecture and user-centered design, youth culture and participatory culture. Massanari’s work has appeared in New Media & Society,First MondayJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Journal of Information Technology & Politics. Her new book, Participatory Culture, Community, and Play: Learning from Reddit (Peter Lang), investigates the platform’s culture and community values and is based on over three years of ethnographic research.

ArlenMollerArlen C. Moller, Associate Professor of Psychology
Illinois Institute of Technology

Arlen C. Moller’s research is focused on applying and advancing theories related to behavioral health and wellness. His work often involves leveraging principles from social psychology and human motivation, as well as game design, financial incentives, social networks, and technology. Recent work has involved encouraging people to exercise more in ways that are more meaningful, more social, more fun, and resultantly, more sustainable. Another complimentary feature of this research program involves an orientation toward collaboration and cross-disciplinary team science. His work has appeared in Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Internet Medical Research Serious Games, Journal of Obesity, and Social Psychological and Personality Science, among others.  Dr. Moller was a full time faculty member in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University from 2009 through 2012 and maintains a secondary faculty appointment there.

WhitneyPowWhitney Pow, Ph.D. Student, Screen Cultures
Northwestern University

Whitney Pow is a graduate student in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University, where she studies belonging, estrangement, archives, and memories as they manifest in video games and new media technologies. She served as a 2014-2015 fellow at the University of Chicago’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab. As project lead and artist, she oversaw the development of The Doctor Will See You Now (2015), a game about the experiences queer people have navigating institutional healthcare. The game, developed in Unity, was featured in the 2015 Different Games Showcase. She has spoken at events including the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and panels at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has extensive experience as a freelance writer and graphic designer.

DorisRuschDoris Rusch, Assistant Professor of Development
DePaul University

Doris Rusch designs games that model abstract concepts, tackling subjects like love, addiction, and trust through playful interfaces. She is particularly interested in the way that games can serve as conceptual tools for understanding human experience. She has worked on projects including Akrasia, a game about addiction, which was featured at the IndieCade Festival. Her 2010 game on depression, Elude, was named “most meaningful game” and was runner-up for the ‘people’s choice’ award at the 2010 ‘Meaningful Play’ conference. Before joining the faculty at DePaul, Rusch completed postdoctoral work at GAMBIT Game Lab, MIT, co-founded the Austrian game prototyping company Game Gestalt – Play for Change, acted as interim head of the Applied Game Studies Department at Danube University and taught several game related courses at University of Technology, Vienna and Vienna University.

AshlynSparrow Ashlyn Sparrow, Lab Director, Game Changer Chicago Design Lab
University of Chicago

Ashlyn Sparrow designs games and experiences that tell meaningful stories about the human condition through interactive worlds. She first joined Game Changer Chicago as a Learning Design Specialist in 2013, serving as lead designer and programs manager for summer projects. Now, as lab director at Game Changer Chicago, she both develops games and oversees the work of design teams that include faculty as well as graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. Her recent projects include a suite of board games addressing environmental, economic, and epidemiological issues in Chicago, called Hexacago, for which she serves as project manager and lead game designer; the alternate reality game The Source, which engaged students in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) challenges across the city, for which served as project manager and lead game designer; and Econ-Marino: Clean Ocean, produced for the Madeira Whale Museum, for which she served as lead designer.


Stephanie Vie, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
University of Central Florida

Stephanie Vie is an expert on communication and writing through social networks. She is currently at work on a monograph about composing practices in social networking technologies, tentatively titled Literate Acts in Social Networking Sites. Her research has appeared in First Monday; Computers and Composition; Computers and Composition Online; Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy; and The Community Literacy Journal, among others. Her textbook E-Dentity (Fountainhead Press, 2011) examines the impact of social media on twenty-first century literacies and has been adopted nationally by over fifty different institutions. She is a Reviews Section Co-editor with Kairos; a Project Director with the Computers and Composition Digital Press; and an editorial board member of the undergraduate research journal Young Scholars in Writing.

TalmadgeWrightJ. Talmadge Wright, Associate Professor of Sociology
Loyola University Chicago

J. Talmadge Wright investigates the ritualistic and social nature of digital gaming. He is particularly interested in players of online first person shooter (FPS) games like Counter-Strike and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft. In his research, he interrogates what gaming means for players, the complex and varied social relationships players develop in and around these games, and the intersections of gaming culture and contemporary labor. He is one of the editors of Social Exclusion, Power, and Video Game Play (Lexington Books, 2012) and of Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play (Lexington Books, 2010). His work has appeared in journals such as Game StudiesContemporary Sociology, and Researching Urban Sociology.



Additional information regarding the event schedule will be posted when finalized.

All events to be held in the Cherry Room, located in Galvin Library.

9:30-10:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee

10:00-10:15 a.m. Welcome Address

10:15-12:00 p.m. First Panel

  • “Hold My Hand: Japanese Amae, Omoiyari, and Empathy Building in Games,” Jennifer deWinter
  • “All the Feels: Confronting Toxic Gamer Culture and What it Means to ‘Play’ a ‘Game,'” Adrienne Massanari
  • “‘I’m sure your woman-arms will be able to lift it:’ Queer Interface and the Legibility of Power and Privilege in Anna Anthropy’s Realistic Female First-Person Shooter,” Whitney Pow
  • “Navigating Failed Performances in Digital Play Spaces: The Emotional Cost of Conflict,” J. Talmadge Wright

12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch Break

1:00-2:45 p.m. Second Panel

  • “Beyond Screens and Spectacle: Ethnographic Reflections on Game Culture,” Florence Chee
  • “Time Out: Affectivity & Temporal Manipulation in Games,” Chris Hanson
  • “Experimental Games: Affect Theory and Non-Sovereign Play,” Patrick Jagoda
  • “‘People Add Stress in My Games’: How Emotions in Socially Networked Games Drive Gameplay Decisions,” Stephanie Vie

2:45-3:15 Coffee Break

3:15-5:00 p.m. Game Design Roundtable


  • Janell Baxter
  • Bill Guschwan
  • Arlen Moller
  • Doris C. Rusch
  • Ashlyn Sparrow

Post-conference Informal Gathering at Turtle’s Bar & Grill

Logistics for Visiting Illinois Tech

The Illinois Institute of Technology is located just south of downtown Chicago in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Illinois Tech is readily accessible via the CTA’s red or green lines and by Metra. Visitor parking is available for $12 a day at several lots on campus.

Galvin Library is located at 35 W. 33rd Street. All conference events are scheduled for the Cherry Room (in red on this map) in Galvin.

On-campus dining is available at the Commons, Center Court, and the Pritzker Club, all located in the McCormick Tribune Campus Center. There are also several restaurants and fast food options available near campus.