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

Bonnie Ruberg at Playthink: 9/10/19

Come join us for this special Playthink session with Bonnie Ruberg, Ph.D.!! Bonnie is an assistant professor in the Department of Informatics and the Program in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Their research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures with a focus on queerness and video games. , where we’re changing up the format! Bonnie will talk about their new book: "Video Games Have Always Been Queer" talk at 5:30PM in SCB 104 (just next door in the Animation building). If you are in the neighborhood, please come to the talk and, if you can’t make it in person, look for our follow up interview here on the Playthink podcast!

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Liz Ryerson at Playthink: 4/23/19

Liz Ryerson is a composer, critic, and occasional game designer and podcaster. She is an avowed leftist and a co-founder of Game Workers Unite. She believes strongly that the power of action of people, both collectively and by individuals, against large corporate conglomerates is crucial to preserving and forwarding digital culture for the better of humanity. Join us at Playthink for a conversation between Liz and Jane Pinckard at 5:30PM in the SCI Think Tank.

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Tracy FullertonUSC Games
Paul Slocum at Playthink: 3/26/19

Paul Slocum is an artist, software developer, curator, and musician based in Pasadena, California. He is director of a new media art gallery called And/Or Gallery that exhibits digital art and develops software for digital art displays and music. Join us at Playthink for a conversation between Slocum and Tracy Fullerton about art games, curating digital art and art in the age of play. March 26, 2019 at 5:30PM in the SCI Think Tank.

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Tracy Fullerton
Magalis Videaux-Martinez at Playthink: 2/26/19

Videaux-Martinez’s work lives at the intersection of experience design, immersive storytelling and experiential learning. Join us for a conversation about design, learning and play with Videaux-Martinex and Jeff Watson in the SCI Think Tank on February 26 at 5:30PM to kick off a new semester of Playthink!

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Tracy Fullerton
Capital W at Playthink: 11/20/18

Capital W is the joint venture of longtime collaborators Lauren Ludwig (Director/Writer) and Monica Miklas (Producer). Join Ludwig, Miklas and Jane Pinckard, Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts in Interactive Media & Games on November 20th, 2018 fro 5:30-6:30PM in the SCI 201 Think Tank as we discuss immersive theatre and participatory play. All are welcome!

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Tracy Fullerton
Brian Upton at Playthink: 10/16/18

Brian Upton is an internationally-known game designer and game theorist with over 20 years of professional experience in the game industry.  In this conversation with Tracy Fullerton, Brian discusses his book Situational Play and how it can help us to design games that forefront the player experience.

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Tracy Fullerton
Adam Badawy at Playthink: 9/18/18

Adam Badawy is a computational social scientist and a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department and Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California (USC). Join us at Playthink for a conversation between Adam Badawy and Jeff Watson, Assistant Professor of Cinematic Arts in Interactive Media & Games on September 18, 2018 fro 5:30-6:30PM in the SCI 201 Think Tank.

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Tracy Fullerton