Director, MIT Game Lab
Professor of Comparative Media Studies
T.L. Taylor is Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Director of the MIT GameLab. She is a qualitative sociologist who focuses on the interrelations between culture and technology in online environments.
Her book about game live streaming, Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming (Princeton University Press, 2018), is the first of its kind to chronicle the emerging media space of online game broadcasting and won the American Sociological Association’s CITAMS book award. She is also the author of Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) which explores the rise of esports and Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006), an ethnography of the massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. In 2012 Princeton University published her co-authored book on conducting ethnographic research in online multi-user worlds, Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method.
She serves as a member of Twitch’s Safety Advisory Council, co-founded AnyKey, and was on the advisory board for Riot’s Scholastic Association of America. She also serves on the editorial boards of Social Media & Society, Games and Culture, American Journal of Play, and ROMChip.
More information about her work can be found at her website.
Associate Director, MIT Game Lab
Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade
Eric Klopfer is Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT (link to CV). He is the Head of the department of Comparative Media Studies and Writing. He is also a co-faculty advisor for MIT’s J-WEL World Education Lab. His work uses a Design Based Research methodology to span the educational technology ecosystem, from design and development of new technologies to professional development and implementation. Much of Klopfer’s research has focused on computer games and simulations for building understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He is the co-author of the books, “Adventures in Modeling”, “The More We Know, and the recently released “Resonant Games”, as well as author of “Augmented Learning.” His lab has produced software (from casual mobile games to the MMO The Radix Endeavor) and platforms (including StarLogo Nova and Taleblazer) used by millions of people, as well as online courses that have reached hundreds of thousands. His work has been funded by federal agencies including NIH, NSF and the Department of Education, as well as the Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Tata Trusts. Klopfer is also the co-founder and past President of the non-profit Learning Games Network (www.learninggamesnetwork.org).
Courses: CMS.590/CMS.863/11.252 Design and Development of Games for Learning (Spring)
As Program Manager for the MIT Game Lab, Rik Eberhardt spends his days playing Tetris, aligning research projects with requisite staff, tasklists, equipment, money, and time. He is also an instructor for MIT Game Lab classes on game production, hosts game jams for students and community members, designer for learning games, and has served as a mentor and director for multiple game development projects including elude, an award-winning game for the friends and family of patients with depression, produced in the summer of 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary and a Serious Games MA Certificate from Michigan State University. He is a Certified Scrum Master and a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.
Specialties: production, management, postpunk, cats
Thanks to two wonderfully dedicated game-playing grandmothers, Andrew Grant started playing games before he could hold the cards. From there, he went on to explore board games, strategy games, role-playing games, and computer games. This exploration shows no signs of slowing down.
Andrew graduated from MIT in 1993 with Bachelor’s degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics (6 and 18, darnit) and a minor in Creative Writing. After 6 months in the real world, he discovered that someone would actually pay him to design and program computer games, so he returned to his gamer roots by joining Looking Glass Technologies, and then DreamWorks Interactive. Since then, Andrew has survived 10 years as a programmer-for-hire and independent developer in projects ranging from underwater robotics to yet more games.
Specialties: computer programming, computer game development, game design, tabletop role playing games
Mikael Jakobsson conducts research on the border between game design and game culture. With a foundation in interaction design, he investigates how gaming activities fit into social and cultural practices, and how this knowledge can be integrated into the development process. His work has been supported by research grants involving collaboration with several game companies. He has developed and taught courses on game design, game criticism, and interaction design, as well as supervised students at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. During his stay at MIT, he will serve as Project Manager for the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory.
Courses: CMS.300 Introduction to Videogame Theory and Analysis (Fall), CMS.301 Introduction to Game Design Methods (Spring)
Philip Tan is a research scientist at the MIT Game Lab. He teaches CMS.608 Game Design and CMS.611J/6.073J Creating Video Games at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For the past 6 years, he was the executive director for the US operations of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, a game research initiative.
He has served as a member of the steering committee of the Singapore chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and worked closely with Singapore game developers to launch industry-wide initiatives and administer content development grants as an assistant manager in the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore. Before 2005, he produced and designed PC online games at The Education Arcade, a research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that studied and created educational games. He complements a Master’s degree in Comparative Media Studies with work in Boston’s School of Museum of Fine Arts, the MIT Media Lab, WMBR 88.1FM and the MIT Assassins’ Guild, the latter awarding him the title of “Master Assassin” for his live-action roleplaying game designs. He also founded a DJ crew at MIT.
Specialties: digital, live-action and tabletop game design, production and management
Games: A Slower Speed of Light (2012), Shadowspect (2019), Aquapressure (2020), Cellverse (2020)
Sara Verrilli has spent her professional career in the videogame industry, starting with the day she walked out of MIT’s Course V graduate studies and into a position as QA Lead at Looking Glass Technologies for System Shock. However, her game organizing endeavors started much earlier; she helped found a role-playing club at her high school by disguising it as a bridge group.
Since then, she’s been a game designer, a product manager, a producer, and a QA manager, in no particular order. A veteran of both Looking Glass Technologies and Irrational Games, she’s worked on eight major published games, and several more that never made it out the door. As Development Director of the MIT Game Lab, she looks forward to corralling, encouraging, and exploring the creative chaos that goes into making great games, and figuring out just the right amount of order to inject into the process. And, while she still doesn’t understand bridge, she does enjoy whist.
Alison LanierAlison Lanier focuses on how rendered bodies are gendered in digital spaces, through a lens of queer theory and video game studies. She received her Masters from MIT CMS/W in 2022, after earning an MFA from UMass Boston and studying media at Wellesley College. She divides her time between the Game Lab and the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. She has almost definitely read more Batman comics than you.
Konstantin Mitgutsch‘s research focuses on learning processes in video games, empirical research on players’ experience, educational game design, and transformative learning in games. He worked in the fields of learning, media studies, computer games and age rating systems at the University of Vienna for several years. In 2010 he was Max Kade Postdoctoral Fellow at the Education Arcade at CMS. In his recent research project he investigates subversive multi-player serious games and different methodologies of game evaluation.
He studied Media Education and Philosophy of Education at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University Berlin and earned a MA in Education Science, Sociology, Media Studies and Philosophy (2003) and a Ph.D. in 2009. He is participating as an expert member for the Austrian Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Computer and Console Games and is on the expert council of the Pan European Game Information (PEGI). Since 2007 he organizes the annual Vienna Games Conference FROG.
His blog is at www.kmitgutsch.com.
Specialties: learning, serious games, game design