Tiltfactor instigates, provokes, and inspires change. Our lab is home to many research projects which creatively disrupt the norm by using an approach we call “critical play.” Our mission is to research and develop software, events, experiences, and artifacts that create rewarding, compelling interactions. In most of our works, we invite public participation. Often, these situations involve play and games. With a multidimensional focus on inventive game design for social change, human values in the design process, and sustainability, our team seeks to create imaginative interventions for critical thinking and social change. Our ultimate goals are to bring dialogue and action to the forefront and to help people explore what is possible for themselves and their communities. (See our list of publications)
Tiltfactor’s Bias project
(Transforming STEM For Women and Girls: Reworking Stereotypes & Bias)
, is based on recent research which reveals the measures people and institutions can take to alter unconscious societal biases regarding girls’ achievements and interest in pursuing STEM-related careers. Our task is to design, build, and research a collection of novel games drawing on what psychologists have discovered about implicit bias and stereotype threat in order to reduce stereotype threat and implicit bias toward women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Analog, Digital, Fiction. This research explores the unique affordances of analog and digital game experiences. Our current research studies also investigate the role of ‘experience taking’ in fiction as a means to increase tolerance and diversity.
is a software development project in which we research and create an open source game system that utilizes the idea of crowd-sourcing. Groups of people compete against one another to tag data for archives, libraries, and repositories. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Our Interrupt! Wellness Games
advance effectiveness of on and off-screen play for health. We are particularly interested in how the design, quality, and innovation in health games can promote significantly better health outcomes. We are collaborating with The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science
and the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation
on our RePlay Health project
. Our games aim to improve physical activities and promote self-care. We work with immunization, HIV/AIDS education, mental health, disease prevention, and more. An example of one of our health games is POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE
, a board game and iPad app that helps players understand group immunity and disease spread.
Our Dartmouth branch of the Games for Learning Institute
research consortium is geared toward investigating Design for Learning: the specific design aspects of games and learning which allow for good learning in games. Our research focuses on immersive qualities of games as well as the affordances that games offer that are unique to learning with the medium.
Funded by Microsoft; Partner with NYU, Columbia, RIT, Parsons, Brookyn Polytechnic, and CUNY.
Our Massively Multiplayer Urban Games
focus on issues such as diversity, literacy, and community. In our multiplayer, street-based games, we strive to create entertaining experiences that also foster community values. Our games are set in both vibrant cities and smaller urban centers to bring community members into dialogue. Massively Multiplayer Soba™
celebrates diversity in language and culture; Massively Multiplayer Babble™ crosses generations and languages to help the community play bilingually.
Games, Gender and Science is an area in which Tiltfactor researchers have paved the way since the 1990s. What are effective ways in which certain science topics might best be modeled in an interactive, social play environment? Interesting strategies have recently linked the development of fictional worlds to ‘hard science’ teaching.
Thinktanks and Salon: Tiltfactor regularly takes part in, and is home to, research thinktanks for digital culture. In addition, Tiltfactor hosts a weekly digital salon, variable_d. Variable_d is a weekly informal gathering that is also part of the Computation and Culture initiative at Dartmouth College.
Tiltfactor makes games, but we also study and theorize about them. We publish our thinking in scientific journals, books, humanities journals and proceedings, education conferences, and more.
Kaufman, Geoff and Flanagan, M. “Lost in Translation: Comparing the Impact of an Analog and Digital Version of a Public Health Game on Players’ Perceptions, Attitudes, and Cognitions.” International Journal of Games and Computer Mediated Simulations 5(3) 2013, 1-9.
Flanagan, M., Punjasthitkul, S., Seidman, M., Kaufman, G. and Carini, P. “Citizen Archivists at Play: Game Design for Gathering Metadata for Cultural Heritage Institutions.” Proceedings of DiGRA 2013, Atlanta, Georgia, August 2013.
Flanagan, M. & Carini, P. (2012). “How games can help us access and understand cultural artifacts.” American Archivist
75(2), pp 514-537.
Kaufman, G. and Libby, L. Changing Beliefs and Behavior Through Experience-Taking Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 26, 2012.
Flanagan, M., Seidman, M., Belman, J., Punjasthitkul, S., Downs, Z., Ayoob, M., Driscoll, A., and Downs, M. Preventing a POX Among the People? A Design Case Study of a Public Health Game
Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play
, Hilversum, Netherlands.
Belman, J., Nissenbaum, H., Flanagan, M., and Diamond, J. Grow-A-Game: A Tool for Values Conscious Design and Analysis of Digital Games Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play, Hilversum, Netherlands.
Belman, J., Flanagan M., and Nissenbaum, H. Instructional Methods and Curricula for Values Conscious Design.
Loading: The Official Journal of the Canadian Games Studies Association, 3(4).
Flanagan, M. and Lotko, A. Anxiety, Openness, and Activist Games: A Case Study for Critical Play. Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Association, Uxbridge UK, 2009.
Flanagan, M. and Nissenbaum, H. Design Heuristics for Activist Games.
Beyond Barbie to Mortal Kombat. C. Heeter and Y. Kafai (eds). Cambridge: MIT Press 2008.
Flanagan, M., Howe, D., and Nissenbaum, H. Values in Design: Theory and Practice” (pdf) In Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, Jeroen van den Hoven and John Weckert (eds.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Flanagan, M. The Sims: Suburban Utopias
Borries, Friedrich von, Walz, Steffen P., Böttger, Matthias (eds.) Space Time Play. Synergies Between Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism, Birkhäuser Publishing, Basel Boston Berlin, 2007.
Plass, J. L, Goldman, R., Flanagan, M., Diamond, J., Dong, C., Looui, S., Hyuksoon Song, H., Rosalia, C., and Perlin, K. RAPUNSEL: How a computer game designed based on educational theory can improve girls’ self-efficacy and self-esteem.Proceedings of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, April 2007.
Flanagan, M. Locating Play and Politics: Real World Games and Political Action. Proceedings of the Digital Arts and Culture Conference, Perth Australia, Dec 2007.
Flanagan, M., Nissenbaum, H., Diamond, J., and Belman, J. A Method for Discovering Values in Digital Games.Full paper presented at Situated Play DiGRA ’07 (Tokyo, JP September 24-28, 2007).
Flanagan, M. and Nissenbaum, H. A Game Design Methodology to Incorporate Activist Themes.Proceedings of the CHI 2007 conference, 28 April – May 3, San Jose, California.Flanagan, M. and Nissenbaum, H. A Game Design Methodology to Incorporate Social Activist Themes.Proceedings of CHI 2007. New York, NY: ACM Press, 181 – 190.
Flanagan, M. and Looui, S. Rethinking the F Word: A Review of Activist Art on the Internet. National Women’s Studies Association Journal (Special Issue: Feminist Activist Art) 19:1, Spring 2007, 181-200.
Feminist Art Activist Roundtable National Women’s Studies Association Journal (Special Issue: Feminist Activist Art) 19:1, Spring 2007.
My Profile, Myself in Playculture.
Exploring Digital Artefacts . Johan Bornebusch and Patrik Hernwall, Editors. M3 Publication, 2006, 20-29.
Flanagan, M. Making Games for Social Change. AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centered Systems. Springer London: Springer, 20:1, January 2006.Flanagan, M. The ‘Nature’ of Networks: Space and Place in the Silicon Forest. Nature et progrès : interactions, exclusions, mutations. Ed. Pierre Lagayette. Paris : Presses de l’Université. Paris-Sorbonne, 2006.
Flanagan, M., Howe, D. C., and Nissenbaum, H. New Design Methods for Activist Gaming
Proceedings from DiGRA 2005, 16-20 June, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Flanagan, M. Troubling ‘Games for Girls’: Notes from the Edge of Game Design. Proceedings from DiGRA 2005, 16-20 June, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Flanagan, M., Howe, D.C., and Nissenbaum, H. Values at Play: Design Tradeoffs in Socially-Oriented Game Design Proceedings of the CHI 2005 conference on Human factors in computing systems. CHI 2005, 2-7 April, Portland, Oregon. New York: ACM Press.
Flanagan, M. Developing Virtual Performance Spaces. American Puppetry. Ed. Phyllis T. Dircks. New York: Theatre Library Association, 2004.
Flanagan, M. Une Maison de Poupee Virtuelle Capitaliste? The Sims: Domesticite, Consommation, et Feminite.
Consommations & Sociétés: Cahiers pluridisciplinaire sur la consommation et l’interculturel. Ed. Mélanie Roustan et Dominique Desjeux.
Flanagan, M. the bride stripped bare to her Data: information flow and digibodies. in Data Made Flesh, Thurtle et al. 2003.
Flanagan, M. Next Level: Women’s Digital Activism through Gaming. Digital Media Revisited. Edited by Andrew Morrison, Gunnar Liestøl & Terje Rasmussen. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003, 359 – 388.
Flanagan, M. Response to Celia Pearce: About Computer Gaming. First Person. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.
Flanagan, M. Hyperbodies, Hyperknowledge: Women in Games, Women in Cyberpunk, and Strategies of Resistance.
reload: rethinking women + cyberculture . Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002, 425-454.
Spatialized MagnoMemories. Culture Machine 3 – Virologies: Culture and Contamination. Eds. David Boothroyd and Gary Hall. 2001.
Flanagan, M. Mobile Identities, Digital Stars, & Post-Cinematic Selves.
Wide Angle: Issue on Digitality & the Memory of Cinema. 21:3, 1999.
Flanagan, M. Digital Stars Are Here to Stay. convergence: the journal of research into new media technologies. Eds. Julia Knight + Alexis Weedon, University of Luton.
Flanagan, M. Mobile Identities, Digital Stars, & Post-Cinematic Selves. Wide Angle: Issue on Digitality & the Memory of Cinema. 21:3, 1999.