April 23rd – How Pac-Man Eats



Thur, April 23rd | 4:00 – 6:00 PM | 126 Voorhies

In game studies, we often examine things such as rules, depictions of worlds, patterns of player behavior. But these rest on a largely-unexamined foundation of operational logics. These logics fundamentally combine abstract processes and communicative goals, functioning both for game creators and game players. This talk examines a particular logic — collision detection — and discusses its invention, expansion, and current broad use in indie games, alt games, political comment games, and more.

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is an Associate Professor of Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, one of the world’s largest technical research groups focused on games. He also directs the Playable Media group in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media program. He has authored or co-edited five books on games and digital media for the MIT Press, including The New Media Reader (2003), a book influential in the development of interdisciplinary digital media curricula. His most recent book, Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies was published by MIT in 2009. Noah’s collaborative playable media projects, including Screen and Talking Cure, have been presented by the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Krannert Art Museum, Hammer Museum, and a wide variety of festivals and conferences. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization. Noah holds both a PhD (2006) and an MFA (2003) from Brown University.