Game Innovation Lab
Collaboration is our game.


Game salon

Playthink is a USC-based salon about games, interactivity, art and culture. Since 2013, we have held a regular series of discussions at the USC Game Innovation Lab that are dedicated to drawing out provocative ideas around play, games, art and interactivity. This year, in 2018, we have added a podcast component to our salon. Now you can listen to Playthink episodes on this page, below, or by subscribing to our feed on iTunes or Google Play.

Organizers Emeritus

  • Steve Anderson

  • Raghav Bashyal

  • Lucas Peterson

  • Bonnie Ruberg

  • Elizabeth Swensen

  • Akira Thompson

  • Simon Wiscombe

  • Kevin Wong

Upcoming and past salons

February 2018 Playthink - Play for Justice

Join us at 6:00pm on Tuesday, February 6th, in SCI 201 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a discussion about games and play as art and culture. The theme for this Playthink salon is “Play for Justice.” We’ll be thinking of ways that play can intervene and intersect with themes of resistance, social justice, and equality!

UPDATE: Please note Speaker Emma Bobell is no longer able to present, so we will extend the discussion time!


Playthink is asking for presentations, talks, demos, panels, etc. around the theme of PLAY FOR JUSTICE! Works in progress for which you want feedback are especially welcome. We also invite projects that can be demoed and will organize exhibition space if we have enough submissions of that nature.

The session will take place Tuesday, January 23rd, from 6-9PM in SCI 201, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 3470 McClintock Ave Los Angeles, CA 90089. Refreshments will be served!

Examples of submissions could be:

A demo of a game with justice themes you’re working on.

Your research on how play subverts power structures.

A history or review of ways play has challenged oppression.

A panel discussion on protest games.

An investigation into trolling behaviors on social media as a form of harmful play.

These are just examples! If you have a question about whether something you’re working on is a fit, just ask!

Submission Guidelines:

The deadline to submit is December 15th. Email your submission to Jane Pinckard [].

Please submit an abstract or an explanation of what you will present. This should be between 250 and 1000 words long. Make sure you explain how your content fits the theme. If you already have slides or a paper, you may submit them along with the abstract.

The format is flexible! Please specify what format your presentation is in. You can aim for 10-20 minutes, or a microtalk/Pecha Kucha style of 5 minutes.

Please include a brief Bio of yourself (and any co-presenters, if you are presenting as a group). (Bios do not count towards the word count.)

All are welcome to submit!

Any questions? Please contact Jane Pinckard: pinckard@ Thank you!

Tracy Fullerton