The Critical Games lab or group encompasses a number of projects, interventions and initiatives relating to the social, political, economic and ethical implications of digital games technologies, texts, cultures and industries. The lab is focused on fostering collaboration and providing opportunities for people interested in thinking critically about digital games and other play technologies. We host Critical Game Nights, a series of events focused on a single game or genre, that combines a formal talk or roundtable with an informal play session. We are home to the Accessibility Arcade, a usable showcase of adaptive controllers, set-ups and gaming accessories designed by AbleGamers.
Research initiatives include the Playing at Making Project, a three-year study of the emergence of user-generated content or “UGC” games designed and targeted to children under the age of 13 years: games that provide tools, templates and support systems that enable users to create and share their own games, content and levels with other users through networked systems and/or online. Playing at Making examines how existing commercial tools and practices aimed at facilitating children’s engagement in UGC and DIY game design work to both accommodate and exclude children from groups and backgrounds that are traditionally overlooked within “web 2.0” discourses, especially children with physical disabilities.
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