FOXTALK Winter 2014 - page 24

24 Winter 2014
Play Innovation Lab
launches to explore play-
able media
launched in
Fall 2013, the Play Innovation
Lab is a new organization
on campus that consists of
a consortium of students,
faculty and staff. Housed in
the Lowell Thomas building
on the Poughkeepsie campus,
Play Innovation concentrates
on encapsulating playable me-
dia related to learning, social
change, civic engagement,
empathy and ethics. Dr. Karen
Schrier, assistant professor
of Media Arts and Director
of the Play Innovation Lab
said that the importance of
the group is for students to
step outside the boundaries
of the classroom and work
on real-world problems. She
came up with the idea of Play
Innovation to provide the stu-
dents with an opportunity to
get hands-on experience mak-
ing and experimenting with
playable media in new innova-
tive ways. This allows them to
teach, grow, heal and engage
in meaningful ways through
games, apps and websites.
Current projects include pro-
totyping a digital game, game
tutorials, and are designing a
game for an upcoming Marist
Game Society event. In addi-
tion, they are in the process
of helping an organization on
Marist campus redesign their
website and are conducting
some content analyses of cur-
rent games. The organization
is open to everyone interested
in playable media and convert-
ing that media into real-world
Schrier is extremely excited
about the Lab and its ability
to show us a new perspective
on games and other emerging
media. “When many people
think of games, they think
about its violent aspects,
or game addiction, because
those are the issues that the
news typically covers. But
what about the potential of
games to help us relive mo-
ments from history, to more
fully appreciate the natural
world, to connect with people
across the world or to reflect
on our personal values? The
Play Innovation Lab seeks to
explore these potentials,” she
The PlayLab also sponsors
an annual event called Field
Day@Marist, which is co-
sponsored with the Marist
Game Society
. The event
features popular outdoor
games such as “Capture the
Flag” and “Manhunt,” as well
as Marist student-designed
games like “Zombie Ball”
(designed by Brittany Jelinski,
Nick Homler ’13, and Sarah-
Kaitlin Perkins), “Diffuse the
Bomb” (designed by Daniel
Hunter), and “Stand Off”
(designed by Billy Hild). The
“Field Day@Marist” event
ran from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
on Saturday, Sept. 21, on the
campus green area next to the
Lowell Thomas Building on
Marist College campus.
Schrier teaches in the
Interactive Media/Game
Design concentration (IM/
GD), which is part of the new
B.A. in Media Studies and
Production. This new major
provides students with a foun-
dation in all media—from
film, video, and television,
to games, mobile, and the
web—and prepares students
for careers in a wide range of
media industries. The IM/
GD concentration includes
a number of courses, includ-
ing “Ethics and Games” and
“Participatory Media,” which
consider the humanistic, civic,
and social potentials of media.
“People often hear ‘games’
and they immediately consider
only the programming and
technical aspects—which are
important—but it’s also about
people. It’s about designing
for people, it’s about storytell-
ing, culture, expression and
identity, just like any other
medium or art form. In the
IM/GD concentration and
through the Play Innovation
Lab, we consider how to
design for human needs. After
all, play is such a natural and
human form of expression,”
Schrier said.
The PlayLab will be initiat-
ing a number of research and
game design projects, and
is open to working with any
individual, department, group,
or community organization to
prototype and create games
and other media. All inter-
ested students, faculty, staff
and other Marist community
members are welcome to join
the PlayLab, and there is no
experience or technical knowl-
edge necessary.
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