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11/9/09: Jesper Juul leads A Casual Revolution

A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players
Monday, November 9, 2009
5-6 PM at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

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Spending the winter of 2006-07 in New York City, I was beginning to lose count of the times I had heard the same story: somebody had taken the new Nintendo Wii video game system home to parents, grandparents, partner, none of whom had ever expressed any interest whatsoever in video games, and these non-players of video games had been enthralled by the physical activity of the simple sports games, had enjoyed themselves, and had even asked that the video game be brought along for the next gathering. What was going on?

Jesper Juul chronicles the rise of the casual games: puzzle games, the Nintendo Wii, and music games. These are video games that reach beyond the traditional video game audience; games that redefine what a video game can be, and who can be a video game player.

Just published by MIT Press, A Casual Revolution is Jesper's take on what is happening with video games right now:

  • Why is the Nintendo Wii more successful than the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3?
  • Why is the audience for video games expanding?
  • Who plays Bejeweled, and why?
  • What is a casual player? What is casual game design?
  • Are casual games a return to the arcade game, or are they something new?
  • How did Solitaire become one of the most popular video games?
  • What is the secret behind the success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band?
  • Why is Parcheesi/Ludo a social game? Why is Animal Crossing?
  • Does the rise of casual games mean the downfall of hardcore games?
  • ... and more!

Jesper Juul has been working with the development of video game theory since the late 1990's. He is a visiting arts professor at the NYU Game Center, but has previously worked at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Lab at MIT and at the IT University of Copenhagen. His book Half-Real on video game theory was published by MIT press in 2005. His recently published book, A Casual Revolution, examines how puzzle games, music games, and the Nintendo Wii are bringing video games to a new audience. He maintains the blog The Ludologist on "game research and other important things".

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