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Game Design and Theater feat. Jessica Creane – 92

Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics and Interviews
    • Board Gaming with Education Updates- Patreon – 00:20
    • Who is Jessica Creane? – 2:12
    • Family Dynamics in Games – 6:40
    • What Her Students Teach Jessica – 7:15
    • Theater + Game Design – 9:25
    • IKANTKOAN Games – 12:28
    • Chaos Theory – 13:36
    • The Heart of the Game – 17:20
    • Finding the Fun and Designing for Learning – 19:35
    • Last Words of Advice: Finding Passion – 25:20
    • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round & Desert Island Questionaire – 31:58

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin has a conversation about game design, theater, and designing for fun and learning with Jessica Creane from IKANTKOAN Games. Jessica is an immersive experience designer dedicated to crafting playful, transformative experiences that bring people together. She shares several insights on designing for experience, teaching game design, and finding the fun in games.

Website: https://www.ikantkoan.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ikantkoan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IKantKoan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IKantKoan/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-creane/

Tedx: https://www.ted.com/talks/jessica_creane_gamifying_chaos_embracing_uncertainty_through_play

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contributions of their songs “Retro Gamer” and “Mumbai Mood” for our Interview Segment Segment and Desert Island Questionnaire Segment. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round.

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Updates from Board Gaming with Education – 0:30

Were are starting a game-based lesson library on Patreon! You can get access to that library and future lessons for only $1/month.

Who is Jessica Creane? – 2:12

We learn about Jessica and her experience giving a talk in Saudia Arabia. In her talk, she shares a story of how she wanted to be a tight-rope walker as a child. As a child, she was a risk-taker, and this is was the formation of her roots as an adult game designer.

Jessica is an immersive experience designer dedicated to crafting playful, transformative experiences that bring people together. She is the founder of IKantKoan Games and Immersive, a production company focused on playfully exploring complex subject matter like climate change, ethics, chaos, and love. Jessica is a climate change game designer with The National Parks Service, a 2020 Arctic Circle Artist-in-Residence, a Tribe12 Fellow, and she recently gave a TEDx talk about embracing uncertainty through play. She is a Professor of Game Design at Drexel University and CUNY City Tech, and she is a graduate of The Pig Iron School of Advanced Performance Training. Her work has been presented at The World Economic Forum, PAX East, PAX Unplugged, The Franklin Institute, IndieCade, Bandwi/d/th International, Tanween Creativity Festival in Ithra, Saudi Arabia, HERE Arts, FringeNYC, BostonFIG, and on KQED San Fransisco. Her New York Times recommended show, CHAOS THEORY, recently won the Best Social Immersion Award from Immersion Nation and is currently running at Caveat Theater, NYC. 

Family Dynamics in Games – 6:40

Jessica shares a story about family dynamics. Her father had to win Trivial Pursuit because she saw it as something instilled in who he was as a person. She and her sister beat her father in a game of Trivial Pursuit and he refused to talk to them. This experience led to her understanding of the consequences that play can have.

What her Students Teach Jessica – 7:15

She talks about her students’ games and their persistence. She gives an example of a game her students created about Alzheimer’s and how they had to iterate several times on the experience. She also shares her opinions on how her students are overworked which hinders their creative spirits. To combat this, she accommodates her students in her class to allow them to explore their creative and artistic game design endeavors.

Theater + Game Design – 9:25

Jessica talks about her background in theater. She loved making theater and wanted to create theatrical experiences that are just as fun to experience as they are to make. When she went back to grad school she took the course “The History of Games” that completely changed her life. It opened up a lot more avenues for her creative spirits and allowed her to experiment with both game design and theater.

IKANTKOAN Games – 12:28

Jessica shares her company’s pun on Kant’s philosophy and Japanese Koans. Her company is founded on the idea of helping others experience agency through play in complex systems that may originally make us feel unempowered. Some topics her company has addressed include Choas Theory, climate change, and other philosophical ideas.

Chaos Theory – 13:36

Jessica talks about her show “Chaos Theory,” a playable theater experience. The piece talks about how chaos theory can be discomforting, but we can find a way to make it work for us. If you attend the theatrical experience you can expect to be involved in the piece in a very meaningful way that may leave you with a lasting impact on your life. Jessica shares how some participants left the piece with meaningful changes to their lives. One participant opened his own theater company, another adopted a pet, and yet another fell in love.

The Heart of the Game – 17:20

Jessica talks about following the heart of the game or experience. She talks about how essential it is to have a true north as you design and to remember the reason why you are making the game, piece, or lesson.

Finding the Fun and Designing for Learning – 19:35

Leading with fun is a great way to start with game design and lesson design. Jessica talks about comedy in game design and doing things to make your players comfortable as they play. She also talks about modeling behavior and how important that is when introducing games to an audience. Finally, she shares the importance of looking at non-ed games and how those can help to inspire us in our game design for learning. Some of these games are great because they have already “found the fun” and all we need to do as an educator is look at what we can layer on top of it to dig into the learning.

Last Words of Advice: Finding Passion – 25:20

Find passion in things you are not necessarily passionate about. Jessica talks about this sense of finding passion in the things you may not normally be passionate about.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round & Desert Island Questionnaire – 31:58

Jessica shares her desert island games and Dustin challenges Jessica with some rapid-fire statements to see their unsolicited opinions on them. Be sure to tune in to hear his answers!

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