Whether designed to entertain or to achieve more “serious” purposes, games, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality have the potential to impact players’ beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior. Meaningful Play 2018 was a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices. Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.
The conference included thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry discussions), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes. These proceedings contain the full papers and extended abstracts presented as part of this event.
The Meaningful Play conference (http://meaningfulplay.msu.edu) has been held every two years at Michigan State University since 2008. The conference is primarily designed for industry and academic game researchers, industry and academic game designers and developers, game educators, students, and government and NGOs interested in games
The three primary themes of the 2018 conference were: 1) exploring meaningful applications of games; 2) issues in designing meaningful play; and 3) learning, education & games.
The first theme includes an examination of games (of all types) from primarily an academic research perspective. The second theme focuses on much more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development, and use of games, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality experiences for meaningful purposes. The third theme was developed in partnership with the IGDA Learning, Education & Games Special Interest Group.
The conference was a great success, with 250 attendees from 12 countries and 30 U.S. States. Information about awards given for top games/papers as well as on past and future Meaningful Play conferences can be found at http://meaningfulplay.msu.edu.