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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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Games that Care: Lessons from Teaching Grief Based Game Design

Sabine Harrer  (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Tampere)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 4:40 pm - 5:10 pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits - Get your pass now!

Topic: Educators Summit

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Besides teaching technical game development skills, game educators have to prepare students for the fact that there will be humans on the other side of their games. These humans have lived experiences which can both inspire and innovate design tools. This session discusses Jocoi, a project course in which a group of engineering students worked with grievers to create a game about pregnancy loss. The presentation introduces methods, risks, and outcomes of the development process, highlighting why care is an essential game design skill to be taught in contemporary classrooms. The talk shows how care-based design skills can especially add to computer science and engineering education by grounding technology in real life cases.


The audience will receive practical suggestions on how to include real-world experience into the game design classroom. They are given examples for how to facilitate a caring design process, structure contents for students, and engage them in participatory design exercises. Attendees are also informed how the method connects engineering with other domains like art therapy and activism.

Intended Audience

This presentation is primarily for games and media educators, especially those who are looking for ways to politicize games in the classroom. The session is also suited for professional game developers who wish to include real world experiences early on in the design process.