Events listed below are open to all members of the Duke community. All lab events are free and take place in the Game Lab (Link Classroom 6) unless otherwise noted. Please check back regularly for updates.

Fall 2019 Events

[Game Night: Gaming  & Empire]

Friday, October 11th, 2019
6:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Link Classrooms 5 and 6

From Risk to Civilization, many extremely popular and long-running games have focused on the questions of an empire. Even games that do not revolve around a military force, such as Settlers of Catan, take up settler colonialism in a scramble for land. While many of these games are about building and maintaining an empire
— both through martial and cultural means — there have been recent attempts
from creators to push back on the straightforward narratives like those of Risk,
Civilization, and Catan. Games such as Spirit Island or Root, in fact, could be
characterized as anti-colonial, but do these games do enough work?

  • What can we learn from playing games that — at least on the surface —
    reinforce imperialism?
  • Why are these narratives so popular?
  • What does it mean to play at building an empire?

Come play games that think about civilization, settler colonialism, military
strategy, and other representations of an empire.

Food & Drinks will be served in Link 5.


[Gamefulness: A Framework for Language Learning & Teaching with Jonathon Reinhardt]

Friday, October 25th 2019
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Link Classroom 6

As language teachers increasingly recognize that digital games motivate learners, scholars argue that some games incorporate mechanics that offer noteworthy affordances, or opportunities, for language learning (Gee, 2007; Sykes & Reinhardt, 2012; Reinhardt, 2019). However, not all games are designed equally, and employing games in the language classroom effectively requires knowing which ones might be well-suited and why, how they might be adapted and supplemented for formal instruction, and how learner gaming experiences and dispositions towards “gameful” learning play a role in their reception. How can digital games be used for the very serious activity of language learning? Insight comes from research on gameful teaching and learning as well as from analysis of “learnable” L2 gaming practices in the Internet wilds. Grounded in these insights, this talk will present a framework of “gamefulness” for the design, evaluation, and implementation of digital games for language learning and teaching.

Jonathon Reinhardt, Ph.D. (Penn State) is Associate Professor of English, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona. His research centers on the relationships between the theories and practices of technology and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and teaching, especially with emergent technologies like social media and digital gaming. He is the author of “Gameful Second and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning” (2019, Palgrave-Macmillan) and is the current president of CALICO, Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium.


[Serious Play: Assessing Student Learning with Games]

Friday, November 1st, 2019
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Link Classroom 6

Dr. Crider will talk about assessing student learning with games. He will discuss examples of student work, related education research, and the potential for each to be used in the experiential assessment. He will also speak about in-class role-playing and “epic finales,” which are designed to provide a closing experience in lieu of typical final exams. Some of these projects will include his ideas on the use of
virtual reality in the classroom.

Tony Crider is an Associate Professor of Physics at Elon University in North Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in space physics and astronomy from Rice University in 1999 and continued his research of gamma-ray bursts as a National Research Council Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory.


[Game Design Workshop Series: Want to Learn Game Design?]

Do you have a great idea for a game but don’t know where to get started? Do you want to get together and create with like-minded gamers at Duke? Do you want to prepare for the Global Game Jam? The Duke Game Lab is hosting a series of design workshops to do just that! You are welcome to attend just one or all, each workshop stands alone but will allow you to practice skills gained from previous experience. So come learn game design with us!

The workshop will take place during the first two hours followed by 1 hour of lab time for students that wish to consult with instructors or continue working on a project. The link to register can also be found here.

Principles of Game Design- 10/24 4-7 pm
Create and playtest simple games with game dev. + host of the 200 word RPG Challenge, Dr. Marshall Miller!

Introduction to Twine- 11/12 11:30-2:30 pm
Use free and open-source software to create video games. Outline and test more complex designs too!

Table Top RPG Narrative Design -11/21 4-7 pm
Build compelling story arcs for games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder with an experienced DM!

Upcoming Game Nights

Friday Oct 11, 2019: Games & Empire
Friday Nov 15, 2019: Games & Cultures
Thurs Dec 5, 2019: Games & Science presented by the NC Museum of Life and Science

All members of the community are invited to join us on the Duke Gamification Slack channel.

Past Events

WORKSHOP: Enrique Cachafeiro and Luis Navarro]
September 26th, 2019
Link Classroom 6

A workshop on gamification theory and practical applications of incorporating digital and analogue games into your courses.
For more information, contact Eileen Anderson
To register:


September 13th, 2019
6:00pm- 11:30pm
Link Classrooms 5 & 6

In collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Affairs, Asian American Studies, & Rubenstein Libraries.

Let’s Play with Power & Games!
Come play games with your favorite heroes, villains, vixens, and sidekicks, to diverse cultural representations good, bad, and the weird.
Updates on exciting programs and opportunities. Bring your own games that play with power and get under your skin(s). Cosplay welcome!
***Food & Drinks will be served in Link 5***


[Games Design Camp]
June 14th – 28th, 2019
8:00am – 5:00pm
Link Classrooms 6

Participants in this camp will learn basic coding skills to design video games using Maya and 3ds Max software. In addition, campers will learn how Maya software can be used to enhance their presentation skills for class projects. Working independently and in teams, campers will sharpen their skills in planning, problem- solving, collaboration and programming. On the final day of camp, campers will share their final project with the class.


[GAME NIGHT: War, Peace, & Strategy Games ]
April 19, 2019
6:00pm – 11:00pm 
Link Classrooms 5 and 6

Come join us at our last Game Night for the Spring Semester, as we play and explore exciting games!!!

War Games: Moral Conflict, Paths of Glory, A Game of Thrones, Risk, and, Small World.
Abstract Strategy Games: Chess, Checkers, Go, Tak, Chinese Checkers, and Mahjong.
Negotiation Games: Diplomacy and Intrigue.

The League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. Tournament, will take place in Link Classroom 6.

Games will take place in both Link Classrooms 5 and 6.
***Food & Drinks will be served in Link 5***

[“Gamification for the Foreign Language Classroom,” with Enrique Cachafeiro, Luis Navarro, and Eileen Anderson]
April 6, 2019
10:00am – 1:00pm 
Languages 114

A workshop on gamification theory and practical applications of incorporating digital an analogue games into your courses.

[Design + Code + Culture = Play “BONNE CHANCE”]
March 28, 2019
4:00pm – 6:00pm 
Link Classroom 6

Learning languages through or with gaming are not new in and of itself. What makes the “Bonne Chance” project unique is that we are trying to teach French through designing a game instead of simply playing it. Through an interdisciplinary approach to modern software development, students from multiple academic backgrounds with varying experience levels are able to work together in a cross-functional community. Language and culture immersion is being explored in a new technological and educational realm by applying game-based learning mechanics to an elementary French language curriculum. (Click flyer to link to site).
Cary Staples, Sebastien Dubreil and their students from “The App Farm”will discuss the project of the game.

“On the surface, the union of the humanities and video games might seem odd, the former focused on thoughtful reflection, context and contingencies, and the latter on reflex, immediacy and instantaneous feedback. In practice, however, this union is increasingly proving to be an enormously profound one, with games providing a platform for more experiential ways of engaging history, literature, philosophy, and even religion.” (Humanities Arcade, 2016)

[I Am Game: The Mechanics of Undesirability in the Video-game Papers, Please ]
March 27, 2019
4:00pm – 5:30pm 
Rubinstein Library 349

Debuting to critical acclaim in 2013, the applied-puzzle video game Papers, Please stations its player as an immigration inspector at the border checkpoint of a fictional country. The anachronistic font and layout embrace a 1980s-style aesthetic, resonating with the setting’s uncanny invocation of the Soviet Bloc under the Cold War regime. Professor Shin will discuss how the social realism of Papers, Please portrays our current state of affairs wherein person-hood and empathy are rendered “undesired cosmetic disturbances” that undermine the “illusion of representative modeling”; representative as in high-fidelity adherence to the standards of desirability as conditions for survival within and beyond the game space.

[From Gamification to Gameful Learning ]
March 25, 2019
American Tobacco Campus Strickland Building, 3rd Floor

Dr. Rachel Niemer is Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan. She coordinates the Product Management, Public Engagement, and Behavioral Science teams in their work as thought-partners with faculty. Dr. Niemer helps establish the vision for designing new and engaging learning environments using best practices from industry paired with findings from the learning and motivational sciences. Prior to joining the Academic Innovation team, Rachel served as the Assistant Director at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at Michigan.


[GAME NIGHT: Sci-Fi Fantasy ]
March 22, 2019
6:00pm – 11:30pm 
Link Classrooms 4, 5, and 6

Come join us as we play and explore exciting games such as:

***Science Fiction Games***
***Super Smash Bros. Ultimate***
****League of Legends***

Games will take place in both Link 4, 5, and 6.


[Game Night]
February 22, 2019

This game night will feature a selection of cultural games from around the world curated by Duke faculty. Faculty members will be on-hand to share and teach the games of their home cultures. Join us as we traverse continents in the world of gaming. Dinner will be served.




[Public Lecture]
January 25, 2019
The Best and Worst Biology in Video Games (or at least the ones I’ve played)
Eric Spana, Duke University

Eric Spana explains the unusual and fantastic occurrences in science fiction, fantasy and video games using the biological mechanisms already identified on Earth while pointing out the really, really bad science, too.



[Public Lecture]
January 25, 2019
What Remains of Edith Finch: An Exploration of Walking Simulators

Jung Yeop Lee, Soonchunhyang University

Video games have coexisted with furious action, violence and thrill. It is not common to consider the aesthetics of contemplation of the sublime landscape of Los Santos of Grand Theft Auto V. However, the Walking Simulator genre simultaneously reduces the interaction between the player and the game, and limits the user’s intervention space to the epic selection, while simultaneously pursuing the aesthetics of the contemplation and the fun of the puzzle. Through the analysis of the award-winning game What Remains of Edith Finch this talk dives into the contemplative world of games and the aesthetics of the walking simulator. Dinner to follow.

[Public Lecture]
January 24, 2019
“Program and Control”? Netflix’s Bandersnatch and the Future of Choose Your Own Adventure
Anastasia Salter, UCF

Netflix’s new playable film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, has drawn renewed attention to the potential for mainstreaming interactive fiction. Taking place as it does among the dystopian, tech-wary episodic sequences of Black Mirror, the work is simultaneously an experiment to gauge audience acceptance and a commentary on the potential future of user-aware, data-gathering playable experiences as an accepted part of “watching”–and being watched. However, placing Bandersnatch into conversation with the history of games and interactive fiction is mostly a testament to how far we haven’t come: the combination of 80s nostalgia, trite “bad” endings, forced metafiction, and an elevation of the game designer as auteur is fundamentally disappointing. What can we learn from the responses of non-gamers and a broader community to Bandersnatch’s experiment, and where might interactive film go from here?


[Game Night]
November 30, 2018
Bostock 127


Take a break from studying and come join us as we play the newest addition to our game library to close out the semester.


[Game Night]
November 9, 2018
Bostock 127

Come join us as we play large-group games such as Welcome To, Two Rooms & a Boom, others! Invite your friends! Dinner will be served.





[Game Night]
October 19, 2018
Bostock 127

Duke Games and Culture, a Humanities Unbounded Collaborative Project in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, invites you to our inaugural game night and information session where all involved faculty will introduce the University community to the many opportunities to get involved with Games and Culture on campus!