Aperio: Games and Spaces

Research Group from the Georgia Tech Experimental Game Lab


“What Makes a Place Fun?”

A video conference presentation by David Thomas

March 30, 2010 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at 11AM

From Disneyland to your backyard, from a retired WW II submarine to stone castle in the mountains of Colorado, some places take us away from the ordinary. We seek out these playful places, turn them into destinations, retreats and sometimes, even into the places we live.

Architectural theory and history has long marginalized the notion of a fun place, exiling the concept from the cannon of serious architecture. When discussed at all in architectural discourse, fun places show up in dialog about the design of commercial leisure space, children’s playgrounds or the outsider world of the architectural folly.

In spite of this, the world is filled with fun, fanciful and playful architecture.

The current study of American fun houses looks to establish a framework for understanding the various roles of the fun in America, and then to propose a method for cortically engaging these places through the lens of the environmental language of fun found in videogames.

“Fanspace: Recreation of Game Settings in Fan Movies

Organized by Bobby Schweizer

March 9, 2010 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at 11AM

We’re doing something a little different this week by taking a look at the fan-made films of X-Strike Studios. Clips will be shown from River City Rumble (River City Ransom), Project Snake (Metal Gear Solid), Resident Horror (Resident Evil), and the web series Wasteland Survival Guide (Fallout 3).

We’ll discuss issues of the adaptation of space, setting, narrative, and mechanics, while taking into consideration the constraints of low budget production.

“The Judgement of Game Rhetoric”

Presented by Simon Ferrari

February 10, 2010 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at Noon

Join Simon Ferrari as he discusses his Masters thesis research which expands Ian Bogost’s explication of procedural rhetoric in Persuasive Games by taking roleplay and spatial structures into account.

Simon explores the rules of game space, invoking both Michel de Certeau’s description of space as “practiced place” and the level designer’s role in structuring play through geographic and architectural layout, mise-en-scene, and NPC scripting. Level design commonly serves to focus or amplify the rhetoric of mechanics, yet there are times that the very layout of a space, the objects found within it, and the particular behavior of NPCs also compose an expressive ruleset. His work seeks to understand the procedural rhetoric that game spaces contribute divorced from the common perception of space as simply what contextualizes interaction and embodies mechanics.


Presented by Evan Barba

January 27, 2010 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at Noon

Shipping containers are the backbone of commerce across the globe, yet
they usually go unnoticed. [inbox] is an interactive augmented reality experience designed by Evan Barba and Rebecca Rouse that takes place inside a shipping container. The work explores the persona of Malcom McLean, inventor of the shipping container, the effects of the container system on international trade, and the role of individual consumer choices.

“Making/Unmaking the Familiar”

A talk by Bobby Schweizer

December 3, 2009 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at 1:00pm

The Darkness is a Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 game primarily set in a handful of small intimate neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan. These spaces are connected by two subway stops that are used not only for travel, but as a safe hub for the player as the game’s protagonist Jackie Estacado. At the beginning of the game, Jackie becomes possessed by a demon curse that has resided in the Estacado bloodline. Jackie’s transformation is represented externally by the changing experience of space and architecture. Bobby will examine how the game establishes the familiar through place-making and plays with these notions during the game’s progression.

“Spatial Media: Theme Parks, Narrative Architecture, and Games”

A conversation with Celia Pearce

November 5, 2009 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at 1:00pm

Dr. Pearce will share current thoughts on here work-in-progress looking at the relationship between “narrative architecture,” that is, buildings whose main purpose is to tell a story, and games. In particular, she will discuss her ongoing study of the narrative conventions and crafts of theme park design, the field she worked in professionally for 20 years before going into academia. This will be an informal presentation, with lots of pictures and discussion, exploring the ways that stories can be expressed spatially, and the relationship (sometimes ignored) of these techniques to game design.

“Stage Spaces”

A conversation with Michael Nitsche

October 22nd, 2009 in the EGL (Skiles 354) at 1:00pm

There are two kinds of stages in the performative moment of a game: the game level rendered in polygons and your living room and its furniture. This talk is less of a presentation of finalized research but more a work in progress piece on the interplay between these two spaces. It will draw on Video Game Spaces [Nitsche 2009] but aims to digress into more performance related topics and look for interconnections between theatrical spaces and performative game spaces.

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