MCC hosts guest speakers on learning impact of video games

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Mesa Community College is exploring how the virtual playground can enhance student learning in “Video Games as a Force and Art Form:  Teaching, Learning, and the Creative Economy,” a new series of free guest lectures starting this month and running into next year:

– It gets started next week with Richard Rouse III, designer of Midway’s psychological horror game The Suffering and author of the textbook Game Design: Theory & Practice. Rouse will speak 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Navajo Room at MCC’s Kirk Student Center, Southern Avenue and Dobson Road.

– That’s followed Jan. 25 by Chris Crawford, founding member of the International Game Developers Association and founder of The Journal of Computer Game Design who will talk about his Storytron project, an engine for interactive storytelling.

– Sometime in late February brings Karl Stewart on the evolution and branding of Lara Croft, the busty and brilliant British archaeologist from Tomb Raider.

– Early March (exact date TBA) will see Ken Levine, creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games, talking about the making of Bioshock II, and March 27 will see author, USC interactive media professor and Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab director Tracy Fullerton discussing “the playcentric game design process.”

But it’s not all talk — in the hour preceding each lecture, MCC humanities students will display games they have put together over the semester as well as the creations of local developers, while a panel of experts including the current speaker critique their work.

According to MCC, the school’s game development classes taught by Burton Borlongan fill up to capacity each semester, and ASU has hired at least five faculty members in the last few years whose entire teaching schedule comprises games and learning.

The speaker series is funded by a collaboration of the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction and ASU West.

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