Glass Lab’s Erin Hoffman and Experience Design Visionary Jan Sircus to Keynote Meaningful Play

Be sure to come to Meaningful Play October 16-18 to enjoy our delicious keynotes this October! The two final two were announced today.

Erin HoffmanErin Hoffman is an author and video game designer. Erin Hoffman was born in San Diego and now lives in northern California, where she works as Game Design Lead at the Institute of Play’s GlassLab, a Bill and Melinda Gates and Macarthur Foundation supported three-year initiative to establish integrated formative assessment educational games. She is the author of the Chaos Knight series from Pyr books, beginning with Sword of Fire and Sea, followed by Lance of Earth and Sky in April 2012 and concluding with Shield of Sea and Space in 2013.

Her video game credits include DragonRealms, Shadowbane: The Lost Kingdom, GoPets: Vacation Island, Kung Fu Panda World, and FrontierVille. She writes for the award-winning online magazine The Escapist, and has had fiction and poetry in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more. In 2004 her blog on game industry working conditions, “ea_spouse”, was covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and LA Times, and is now referenced in numerous game history and corporate history studies.

Erin’s games have won multiple awards and have been played by millions of kids and adults worldwide. She is multiethnic, with family names including Lee, Asakawa (yonsei), and Drake in addition to Hoffman.

Jan SircusJan Sircus is Past-President of the Themed Attraction Association, Canada, and Principal of Studio Sircus, a creative consultancy for innovative media projects and story place making. Prior to Studio Sircus, Jan was co-founder and Managing Director Creative of Maple Leaf Studios (MLS), Vancouver. At MLS, Jan led master planning and design for the successful Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Bid Resort and Village in Sochi, Russia. He was also creative lead for final round competition concept bids for BC Canada Place at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and for the ‘City Being’ main theme pavilion and the GM-SAIC pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Shortly thereafter, Jan was Creative Director for Aldrich Pears Associates for the site wide interpretive exhibits design of the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in Abu Dhabi. Recently, Jan provided creative concept and design consulting for Soaring Attractions and their ‘Flyover Canada’, an OmniMax-scale ‘immersive film simulator ride’ at Canada Place, Vancouver. He is currently providing similar consultation to a major museum in the US whilst pursuing ‘Arts Vista’, a city-based arts event preview site that he founded and launched earlier this year –

Before MLS, Jan led Lunny International’s planning, design, and content development for numerous high-profile projects, including master planning for the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede in Alberta, Canada, the ‘Ancient Worlds’ resort and theme park in Dubailand, Dubai, and the China Western Movie Resort and Theme Park in Xian, China. Jan was creative director for the BC Canada Place in Torino, Italy, for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and co-creative director for the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan.

During 25 years in Los Angeles, Jan was a Senior VP, Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, leading major international Theme Park projects and heading up Location-Based Entertainment (LBE) design. Jan had Executive Producer and/or Creative Director roles on such major themed attractions as Disney Studios Paris, and Disneyland Hong Kong. His LBE concepts included DisneyQuest, Club Disney, and Flagship Stores for Las Vegas and New York’s 5th Avenue.

Jan was on the Piano + Rogers architectural design team of the Centre Pompidou. As an early adopter of interactive media, Jan created pioneering and award-winning media projects for the J. Paul Getty Museum and NASA. He also worked with the Warner Brothers Record Group, developing pilot programs for the CD-I platform. Originally from the UK, Jan holds a Master’s degree in Architecture and has taught design at UCLA and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Submissions close July 1. Propose and present your own meaningful game or presentation on Meaningful Play and join the conversation.


Jesse Schell and Mia Consalvo to Keynote Meaningful Play 2014

Meaningful Play 2014 is pleased to announce two more incredible keynotes: Jesse Schell and Mia Consalvo


Jesse Schell

Jesse Schell is a brilliant game designer, awesome teacher, and great speaker. Jesse is well known for his many talks on game design, but best known for his DICE 2010 talk, “Beyond Facebook”, which was adopted as a TED “Best of the Web” talk.

Under Schell’s leadership, Schell Games has produced an amazing array of innovative, family-friendly entertainment experiences including the Disney Fairies MMO, Pixie Hollow, the award-winning Toy Story Mania TV Game, and some of the most popular interactive theme park attractions in the world.

Jesse also currently holds a faculty position as Professor at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches classes in Game Design and serves as advisor on a multitude of innovative projects. Since 2006, Professor Schell has taught the Building Virtual Worlds class, created by ETC Co-Founder and The Last Lecture author, Randy Pausch.
Jesse authored the critically acclaimed book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses.
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Serious Game Alumni Interview #6: Becky Palmer-Scott


Last Wednesday, Becky Palmer-Scott joined TC830, Foundations of Serious Games as a serious game professional to critique student serious game pitches. Having graduated in 2011, Palmer-Scott remembers the course fondly, but has also grown immensely since her time as a student. However, she wasn’t always in the serious game design track. Becky has a degree in journalism from MSU, a minor in English literature, and a background in music, and for several years, she worked as a technical writer. After recognizing the need for learning games in schools, Palmer-Scott returned to graduate school to study serious games.

Back at MSU, Palmer-Scott made several serious games. In Search for Samhain, players learn about the beginnings and history of Halloween through a series of mini-games. Later, she created a board game, Roots of Power, to help players increase their vocabulary by learning about suffixes and prefixes, with a Greek twist. Palmer-Scott really enjoyed making games as a team, and once graduated, helped found a non-profit to develop, study, and encourage use of games for learning.
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