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City as a Playground

Frank Lee
Director of Entrepreneurial Game Studio
Drexel University

For the last several years, I’ve built public light installations in Philadelphia, “hacking” (with permission) the LED lights of the Cira Centre, a 29-story skyscraper, to create interactive games of Pong (2013) and Tetris (2014). In this talk, I will describe an aesthetic, which I call “a shared moment,” that I had hoped to achieve for Philadelphians with these installations. In addition, I will put forth my larger vision for using cities and the physical structures contained within as “game tokens” in citywide interactive games, exploring the intersection of public spaces and large-scale digital games, including the most recent project “War of the World: Philadelphia.”

Brief Bio:
Dr. Frank J. Lee is an Associate Professor of Digital Media at Drexel University with appointments in Psychology, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering. Lee received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2000 from Carnegie Mellon University, and his BA in Cognitive Science in 1994 from UC Berkeley. Lee co-founded Drexel’s Game Design Program in 2008, currently ranked as one of the Top Ten Best Game Design Programs in the US by The Princeton Review. He is also the founding director of the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at Drexel University, a unique university-wide initiative to teach students entrepreneurship by helping them to start their own game companies. His past projects have won national and international awards and recognitions and have received extensive media coverage. His installation project, Skyscraper Tetris in 2014, was mentions in over 1500 news stories worldwide with an estimated 2.2 Billion views. It was also recognized as a Guinness World Record as the Largest Architectural Videogame Display. He was selected as one of the 50 Most Admirable Gaming People by Polygon in 2014, Hacker of the Year by Geekadelphia in 2013, and one of the Smartest People in Philadelphia by Philadelphia Magazine in 2012.

Refreshments served

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Talks are jointly sponsored by the Brain Game Center, CHASS, Computer Science, Center for Ideas and Society, Media and Cultural Studies, Psychology, and Science Study funds.

Please contact the organizer for information on parking.