Playing with Avant-Garde Videogames

Today in class we did an exercise where I asked each student to play an independent game. The students then came in and drew on the board Brian Schrank’s diagram defining the different types of avant-garde games and then each one wrote the name of the game they played on a Post-It and positioned it on the diagram, explaining why they thought it went there. We discussed each game, moved them around and even came up with a way of visualizing games that seemed to span multiple areas on the board. The result:


After they finished, someone suggested we do this exercise with their final project ideas, which are in-progress. That looked like this:


I was really excited by how energized the students were about this exercise, and also the fact that they initiated the second part of analyzing their own games.

Super fun and useful for anyone teaching about artgames using Brian’s book.

PlayArt Web Site

Hi all:

Bernie DeKoven, author of The Well-Played Game, and my personal play guru, posted this article about a web site devoted to art that engages with play. Many of the artists and movements featured in this class can be seen here.

Welcome to Experimental Game Design

Welcome to the blog for Celia Pearce’s Northeastern University course, Experimental Game Design. This blog is for students to post projects, as well as additional research and content related to the class. The Course Description can be found below:


An experiential learning course which focuses on the experimental uses of games in fine arts and activist practice, exploring how games created in such contexts interrogate traditional assumptions about both art and games to produce cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation.

The course will look at the historical subversive, activist, experimental and avant garde uses of both analog and digital games. Twentieth Century practices of games as fine art and activist media will be explored, and their connection to other related practices, such as scores, procedurality, performances, tactical media and public interventions, as well as art movements that explicitly included games as part of their oevre, such as Dada, Surrealism and Fluxus.

The course will include readings on the history of games in these alternative contexts, as well as a series of art-based studio assignments where students will engage practices of game-making in both analog, digital and hybrid forms. The course itself is experimental, and will include field trips, and innovative indoor and outdoor alternative play and game design exercises. Students will produce four completed art projects suitable for portfolios or public exhibition, and will be encouraged to submit their projects to festival and exhibition calls.

The Course Syllabus Can be Found Here: GAME1850_s2016_v3