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

November 2015 Playthink - Identity

Please join us 6:00pm on Monday, November 9th, in SCI 201 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a discussion about games and play as art and culture. In this meeting we will explore the complex ways games can construct and inform us about identity.

Features speakers include:

Aaron Trammell is a PhD Candidate at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. He is also a blogger, board game designer, and musician. He is the multimedia editor of the Sound Studies blog Sounding Out! For his dissertation he is investigating the ways that fan subcultures in the 1960s created the game Dungeons and Dragons. In particular, the importance of affective bonds to their work, and the influence of Cold War motifs on their writing.

Bonnie Ruberg is a postdoctoral scholar in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in New Media and Gender & Women’s Studies. Bonnie researches, teaches, and organizes community events around issues of gender and sexuality in video games. She is the co-founder and lead organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference, a one-of-a-kind event where industry members and academics meet to explore the intersection of LGBTQ issues and games. Along with Adrienne Shaw, she is also the co-editor of the forthcoming book Queer Game Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and a Queer Approach to Game Studies. From 2005 – 2010, Bonnie worked as a games journalist for publications like The Village VoiceForbesThe EconomistWired, Gamasutra, and Joystiq.

Steve Cha, MFA candidate in USC’s Interactive Media and Games Division, aspires to create compelling interactive narrative experiences. His interests include vignette games, political narratives, and revisionist works. His thesis work centers on a semi-autobiographical series of vignettes, which explore aspects of life regarding coming out, immigration, family, and the pursuit of happiness.

N.B. There will be one last Playthink on Monday, November 30th!

Tracy Fullerton