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

March 2016 Playthink - Dress Rehearsal

Please join us 6:00pm on Monday, March 7th 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 “Dress Rehearsal.”

Featured guests include:

Katie Salen is an active game designer, one of the founders of the Institute of Play, and a pioneer in applying game design principles to challenges outside the field of commercial game development. Katie is a Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. She lectures widely and writes extensively on game design, design education and gamer culture. She has co-authored or edited several books, including Rules of Play, a textbook on game design, The Game Design Reader and The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning.

Miguel Sicart is a play and games scholar based at the IT University in Copenhagen. He has conducted research on the ethical role of videogames in culture, publishing two books on the topic: The Ethics of Computer Games (The MIT Press, 2009) and Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay (The MIT Press, 2013). His most recent work situates play at the core of contemporary aesthetics and design practices, a program he presented in Play Matters (The MIT Press, 2014), a manifesto for studying play beyond games.

Margaret Moser is an experienced technical director and game designer with a background in mobile as well as experimental designs, including projects with the New York based development studios Playmatics and Leisure Collective.

Jane Pinckard: Formerly Associate Director at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media, Jane Pinckard has a long history in the games industry, including Business Development Analyst at Foundation 9 Entertainment and Founder of GameGirlAdvance.

Bonnie Ruberg is a postdoctoral scholar in the Interactive Media and Games Division at USC, where her research and teaching address gender, sexuality, and identity in video games. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming volume Queer Game Studies, the lead organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference, the author of a number of publications on gender and sexuality in digital media, and a former technology journalist. Bonnie received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.

Tracy Fullerton