Sponsored By

USC Games - Statement of Community

An open letter about the nature of creative community, and an invitation to stand with us in upholding a zero tolerance for speech or actions that are hateful, threatening or violent, in any form or forum.

Tracy Fullerton, Blogger

November 12, 2014

3 Min Read

This letter (also published at games.usc.edu) is a statement and a promise to the players, makers, and thinkers of the games community at USC and beyond. We felt it important in these contentious times to put forth a clear statement of our values as a community for all involved in making, playing and study of games. This is for those who currently make and play with us, those who would like to do so, and anyone concerned with the aesthetic form of games and playful interactive media more broadly.

Our goal at USC Games has always been to push games outward from their status quo, with a spirit of adventure inspiring our experiments in the design, development and production of all kinds of games with all kinds of interfaces. We believe that a necessary part of this outward development is to encourage games that encompass new contexts, new audiences, and new creators.

These enthusiastic explorations are only possible in a community that welcomes diversity and thrives on our differences – one that is built on a foundation of humility and profound respect for what our fellow players, our fellow creators, and our varied experiences in the world can teach us. We have such a community here, and it has yielded beautiful results of which we are extremely proud.

However, we cannot ignore the long history of online and real-world harassment of women and minorities who develop, play and/or critique games. The recent intensification of this problem harshly reminds us that an environment of openness and trust is fragile – it requires careful and conscientious nurturing. Accordingly, our community does not accept speech or actions that are hateful, threatening or violent, in any form or forum.

We are adamant in upholding these values and we expect ourselves to have the moral courage to confront destructive behavior when and where it happens, and with an eye to addressing the source of the problem. We believe it is important to apply these principles not only to the academic study and commercial production of games, but to games as a part of our culture and media environment.

We encourage everyone who cares about games – players and makers, amateurs and professionals, aspiring and experienced, academic and informal, casual and hardcore, indie and triple-A – to stand alongside us in maintaining these principles in our words and in our work.

As the hosts of countless game jams, we have found that that these events, with their atmosphere of excitement, collaboration, and fearless experimentation, are a powerful expression of our values. Our student organization, MEGA, wants to offer such a joyful, supportive experience to everyone through its upcoming Love Jam, November 14-15, which will include both in-person and virtual opportunities for collaboration. Please join us in a thanksgiving and celebration of diversity and creativity in games.

Game on,

The Faculty of USC Games

Tracy Fullerton, Director, USC Games

Margaret Moser, Assistant Professor of Practice, Interactive Media & Games

Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Michael Renov, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Cinematic Arts

Heather Desurvire, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Laird Malamed, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Jeff Watson, Assistant Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Peter Brinson, Assistant Professor of Practice, Interactive Media & Games

Sanjay Madhav, Lecturer, Information Technology Program

Alex McDowell, Professor of Practice, Media Arts and Practice

Dennis Wixon, Associate Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Danny Bilson, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games, Screenwriting

Tom Sloper, Senior Lecturer, Information Technology Program

Trina Gregory, Senior Lecturer, Information Technology Program

Michael Crowley, Director, Information Technology Program

Robert Nashak, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Sam Roberts, Assistant Director, Interactive Media & Games

Elizabeth Swensen, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab

Peggy Weil, Adjunct Professor, School of Cinematic Arts

Rob Manuel, Program Coordinator, Interactive Media & Games

Sean Bouchard, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab

Jesse Vigil, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab

Chanel Summers, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Vincent Diamante, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Michael John, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Tracy Fullerton


Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A. is an experimental game designer, professor and director emeritus of the USC Games program. Her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola and Walden, a game, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond which was named “Game of the Year” at Games for Change 2017 and “Developer Choice” at IndieCade 2017. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.

Prior to joining the USC faculty, she was president and founder of the interactive television game developer, Spiderdance, Inc. Spiderdance’s games included NBC’s Weakest Link, MTV’s webRIOT, The WB’s No Boundaries, History Channel’s History IQ, Sony Game Show Network’s Inquizition and TBS’s Cyber Bond. Before starting Spiderdance, Tracy was a founding member of the New York design firm R/GA Interactive. As a producer and creative director she created games and interactive products for clients including Sony, Intel, Microsoft, AdAge, Ticketmaster, Compaq, and Warner Bros. among many others. Notable projects include Sony’s Multiplayer Jeopardy! and Multiplayer Wheel of Fortune and MSN’s NetWits, the first multiplayer casual game. Additionally, Tracy was Creative Director at the interactive film studio Interfilm, where she wrote and co-directed the “cinematic game” Ride for Your Life, starring Adam West and Matthew Lillard. She began her career as a designer at Bob Abel’s company Synapse, where she worked on the interactive documentary Columbus: Encounter, Discovery and Beyond and other early interactive projects.

Tracy’s work has received numerous industry honors including an Emmy nomination for interactive television, best Family/Board Game from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, most “sublime experience,” the “Impact” and “Trailblazer” awards from the Indiecade Festival, ID Magazine’s Interactive Design Review, Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual, several New Media Invision awards, iMix Best of Show, the Digital Coast Innovation Award, IBC’s Nombre D’Or, Time Magazine’s Best of the Web and the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like