Academic Metagames

Academics love to reflect on ourselves and our discipline. It’s no surprise that the academic novel is alive and well, and the confessional academic blog past has practically become its own genre. I’m interested in exploring another genre: the academic metagame, or games which explore some of the actions and traditions of higher education through their play. Over the past year, a group of game-inclined academics (including myself) have made a number of academic metagames as part of an ongoing game-a-week-ish challenge. Here’s some of the games we’ve come up with looking at everything from IRB review to work-life balance:

Academia seems to lend itself to exploration through the procedural rhetoric of games (Lee Skallerup Bessette’s “Adjunct Run” is a great example.) I think this ease emerges from the same similarities that made the concept of gamification such a hit in higher education–putting academia (and its oddities) into game form makes us more aware of how much of a game it was in the first place.

I’d love to work with others interested in higher education on brainstorming / dissecting / making / critiquing academic metagames, and see what else we can do with this as a genre.

About Anastasia

Anastasia Salter is an assistant professor of digital media at the University of Central Florida. She has two books forthcoming in 2014: What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books from the University of Iowa Press and, co-authored with John Murray, Flash: Building the Interactive Web from MIT Press.
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