Megan Gaiser’s Vision For Contagious Creativity to be Presented at Meaningful Play

Megan Gaiser

Meaningful Play 2014 is excited to announce as a speaker Megan Gaiser, one of the first female CEO’s in the gaming industry. She will talk about the most important lessons learned as CEO and will explore the critical role of creativity and the need to establish more humanistic values in leadership.

As one of the first non-traditional CEO’s, Megan’s unique vantage point enabled her to identify and sidestep the outdated habits of the game industry. Forging her own path enabled Megan and her team to co-create and capture the markets that had been left behind. Megan is a creative and inclusive leader who gained a reputation for engaging unproven markets, inspiring collaboration and a commitment to the highest artistic and aesthetic qualities. She was responsible for breathing new life into an unprofitable company by bucking the status quo and creating “unpink” games for girls and women. Dubbed by the NYT as the ‘UnBarbie’ game maker, Gaiser grew the company to $8.5M in revenues with sales of over nine million units with the award-winning Nancy Drew game franchise. Prior to that, she spent eleven years as a documentary and educational film Producer and Editor.

She recently formed Contagious Creativity to foster more diversity in both the content and leadership of the entertainment gaming industry. Her reputation led to her being named among “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” by Next Generation;  “Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Decade” by Gaming Angels;”  “2011 Indie Cade Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement”; 15 Cine Golden Eagle awards, three New York festival awards, and the International Documentary Milano Award.

Meaningful Play 2014 takes place October 16-18. The call for submission of research, presentations, and games ends July 1. Join us!

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.


Awesome Serious Game Grad Certificate Students Enrich Learning for All

My job as an instructor and coordinator of Michigan State University’s fully online graduate certificate in serious games is to create a course structure and community of learners that leverages the unique expertise and interests of each student to enrich learning for all.

Those who were available joined the end of semester online meetup for the fully online section of TC830: Foundations of Serious Games

Those who were available joined the end of semester online meetup for the fully online section of TC830: Foundations of Serious Games

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