About Values at Play
Values at Play investigates how designers can be more intentional about the ways in which they integrate human values into their game-based systems.
Since 2005, our team has tested and created a values based, human centered designed college curriculum that is openly available on this site. We also develop novel games which integrate values and tools for other designers and learners. The team’s digital game LAYOFF attracted over 1 million players in its first week of release and educated players about the financial crisis. Our board game VEXATA helps middle school students learn to “read” game mechanics and develop a game literacy with values in mind. Finally, the urban games PHOTOPOLIS and the Massively Multiplayer series explore how players can envision human values as they manifest in everyday life across cultures, and was launched with players in New York, Beijing, and Shanghai.
Our Grow-a-Game Card set, featured in several research studies, is available for purchase!
- Flanagan and Nissenbaum, Values at Play in Digital Games. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014.
- Belman, Jonathan, Flanagan, Mary, Nissenbaum, Helen, and Diamond, Jim. “Grow-A-Game: A Tool for Values Conscious Design and Analysis of Digital Games.” Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. Hilversum: The Netherlands, 14-17 2011.
- Belman, J., Flanagan, M., and Nissenbaum, H. “Exploring the Creative Potential of Values Conscious Design: Students’ Experiences with the VAP Curriculum.” Eludamos: The Journal for Computer Game Culture 4(1) 2010.
- Belman, J. & Flanagan, M. “Designing Games to Foster Empathy.” Cognitive Technology 14(2), 2009, pp. 5-15.
- Belman, J., Flanagan, M., & Nissenbaum H. “Instructional Methods and Curricula for Values Conscious Design.” Loading: The Official Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, 3(4) 2009.
- Flanagan, Mary + 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., + Nissenbaum, H. “Embodying Values in Technology: Theory and Practice.” In Information Technology and Moral Philosophy. Jeroen van den Hoven + John Weckert (eds.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 322-353.
- Flanagan, Mary. “Locating Play and Politics: Real World Games & Activism,” Leonardo Electronic Almanac Special Issue from perthDAC: Social Media: Narrative and Literacy in Digital Culture, 2009.
- Flanagan, Mary. “Making Games for Social Change.” AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centered Systems. Springer London: Springer, 20(4), January 2006, 493 – 505.
Our ambition is to harness the power of games in the service of humanistic principles. Aware of the tremendous and wide-ranging impact games have in our world, the Values at Play™ (VAP) research project seeks to assist and encourage designers in creating games that further the understanding and appreciation of such values as equality, diversity, creativity, and many more–and how we experience values through play.