LCAD MFA Art of Game Design presents 2nd Annual Game Lecture Evening

Laguna College of Art + Design’s MFA Program in Art of Game Design presents

Game Lecture Evening with special guest speakers, Alexander Zook, Nele Van de Mosselaer, and Professor Gordon Calleja (pictured from left to right above)


Friday, June 29th5:30-8:30 p.m.

Laguna College of Art + Design

Big Bend Campus, Studios 13+14 (BB13+BB14)

2825 Laguna Canyon Road

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Free Admission

Public Invited

Event Description

Attendees will engage with experts in the fields of game development, game design, and game culture. Each speaker will be given 25 minutes plus time for a Q&A.


Speaker 1: Alexander Zook 

How to Uncover the Meta & Balance Games: A Hearthstone Story

What strategies have players uncovered in your game? How can you understand those and respond to them? We’ll cover how Blizzard analyzes the “meta” in Hearthstone and how this informs design and influences features in the game.


Speaker 2: Nele Van de Mosselaer 

Player Motivation in Video Games: Fictional Desires in Fictional Worlds

The actions that players undertake in video games can be caused by many different desires: the player might want to save a character, solve a moral dilemma in the most satisfying way, achieve the highest score, or just beat the game. Within the philosophy of fiction, some philosophers have debated that there might be two different kinds of desires at work here: real desires towards real events, and imaginative desires towards fictional things. In this talk, we will look at how a distinction between real and imaginative desires can prove relevant in analyzing the video game experience, players’ immersion within the fictional game world, and the formation of specific desires players might never feel in real life.


Speaker 3: Professor Gordon Calleja 

Board Game Design Inspired Game Research Theory

There is a long-standing discussion about the utility of theoretical research in game design in general. As a humanistic researcher trained in critical theory Professor Gordon Calleja long has advocated for the importance of game research theory to inform design practices in the video game context. When it comes to board game design however, the practical application of a theoretical toolkit increases dramatically. In this talk Professor Calleja will outline several areas of board game design that have been greatly enhanced, if not completely informed by, his understanding of game theory both in its relation to formal properties of games and the experiential of players interactions with the game and each other. Professor Calleja will give practical examples from the three boardgames he has designed and published internationally: Posthuman, Vengeance, and Posthuman: Saga.


Speaker Bios

Alexander Zook is Senior Data Scientist at Blizzard Entertainment with a PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing. He researches technologies to improve game design and development and formally model game design through artificial intelligence and machine learning. At Blizzard Entertainment he has been using machine learning and simulations to understand and design for player behavior in games including Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm.


Nele Van de Mosselaer is a second-year PhD student at the Center for European Philosophy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. As a philosopher and video gamer, she wants to expand the research field of the philosophy of fiction, which traditionally focuses on literature, theatre, and film, and propose a new approach to imaginative participation in fiction in light of the video game experience. In her on-going thesis, titled ‘The Paradox of Interactive Fiction,” she investigates what the video game experience can tell us about the relation between fiction, imagination, emotion, and action.


Prof. Gordon Calleja is Associate Professor of Game Studies and the founding Director of the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta. His lecturing and research spans game narrative, game ontology, board game design and player experience with a particular focus on player involvement, immersion and presence. He is author of In-Game:From Immersion to Incorporation by MIT Press. Gordon is also game designer at Mighty Box, an indie video game studio and director and game designer at Mighty Boards, a board game studio. Gordon has published Will Love Tear Us Apart, a game adaptation of Joy Division’s track that was nominated for several international awards. He has also designed and published three board games: Posthuman, Vengeance, and Posthuman: Saga.