Recovering Histories of Play (Fall 2023-Present)

Recovering Histories of Play is a project directed by The Studio for Mediating Play to investigate and foreground play technologies, gaming platforms, game design frameworks, play communities, and play practices often overlooked by or written out of dominant historical narratives of games and play. This project engages with historical approaches, archives, and conversations that push beyond dominant and conventional understandings of play and games–such as those that conceive of play as merely leisurely fun or understand games primarily as a simple chronicle of technological development. In particular, Recovering Histories of Play considers how the crafting and dissemination of histories of games–popular and academic–are situated within cultural politics, struggles over legitimacy and power, and socioeconomic and material conditions. And by centering experiences and accounts of historically marginalized classes of players, types of technologies, regions of play, and ways to play, this project orients toward what more just futures of play could be.

AY 2023-2024 Online Scholar/Designer Conversations

“The Privilege of Play: Connecting Games and Race in the 20th Century”
Aaron Trammell, University of California, Irvine (

“World Exploration with Astrology”
Alice Sparkly Kat (

“Performative Pasts and Speculative Histories: Playing in and with the Digital West in Red Dead Redemption
Ashlee Bird, University of Notre Dame (

“Divide and Conquer: Game Engines and the Division of Labor”
Laine Nooney, New York University (