Summer School on Experimental Play

SIGCHI Sponsored summer school
Centre for Game Design Research, RMIT University, Australia

Dates: Nov 1-4, 2018

Prof. Regan Mandryk

University of Saskatchewan, Canada


Fun Science: The Paradox of Experimental Play

Games have long been used to support social interaction and create shared experiences that draw us closer together. Digital games are increasingly being used to form and maintain relationships and researchers have been investigating the role that social games play in satisfying our need for relating to others. However, games researchers must balance the tradeoff between using experimental rigor to control the environment for internal validity with the external validity of having participants feel like they are engaging in play with friends under their own volition, rather than participating in an experiment. In this talk, Mandryk will present her perspective on trying to reconcile the fundamental incompatibility of doing controlled scientific experiments in the context of social play. Drawing from 15 years of experience, she will share what works, what doesn’t, and what she hopes to see in the future.

Short bio:

Regan Mandryk is a professor in Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan; she pioneered the area of physiological evaluation for computer games in her award-winning Ph.D. research at Simon Fraser University with support from Electronic Arts. With over 200 publications that have been cited thousands of times (including one of Google Scholar’s 10 classic papers in HCI from 2006), she continues to investigate novel ways of understanding players and their experiences, but also develops and evaluates games for health and wellbeing, and games that foster interpersonal relationships. Regan has been the invited keynote speaker at several international game conferences, led Games research in the Canadian GRAND Network, organizes international conferences including the inaugural CHI PLAY, the inaugural CHI Games Subcommittee, and CHI 2018, and leads the first ever Canadian graduate training program on games user research ( with $2.5 million of support from NSERC. She was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in 2014, received the University of Saskatchewan New Researcher Award in 2015, the Canadian Association for Computer Science’s Outstanding Young Canadian Computer Science Researcher Prize in 2016, and the prestigious E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship in 2018.

Back to Summer School 2018 ↩

Slides of the talk coming soon.

Video recording of the talk