The Resilience of Game Design Education

Tom Penney, Christian McCrea, Jennifer Lade and Kate Inabinet (RMIT University)
2020 Conference

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated calls for digital skilling and literacy in the arts sector. The authors reflect on their experiences with games education during this period and offer insight into how game design as a creative process, rather than the consumption of games, offers a model for resilience in education. We present how games learning and industry practices, particularly from the independent and art-games sectors offer a de-siloing between traditional approaches and inclusivity towards digital practices. The de-formalising of games has granted more creators to access the means of production to create digital interactive experiences. We discuss how games design offers collaborative thinking between creative artists and technical systems experts, which offers a timely challenge to the individual centricity of practices in traditional or establishment arts. Additionally, the producers of games are leaders in the discourses of gender diversity, non-binary representation and support for neurodiversity, despite perceptions of the field being to the contrary. Ultimately, a shift in the perception of games and gamers has opened the doors to creatives institutionally and otherwise towards adopting such practices and experimenting in the media of games.

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About the author

Tom Penney
Dr Tom Penney is the program lead of the Bachelor of Design (Games) at RMIT University and a digital artist and play philosopher working in game engines. He has over 10 years’ experience educating young artists and designers in digital technologies.


Christian McCrea
Christian McCrea is a lecturer in the School of Design at RMIT University. He is a researcher writing on science fiction, film, videogames, animation, and the popular digital arts.


Jennifer Lade
Dr Jennifer Lade is a games lecturer who established the RMIT University Games programs 15 years ago. Jennifer advocates for gender equality, diversity, and inclusivity in the field, for which she was recognized in 2018 in the international 50 over 50 games advocacy listing.


Katherine Inabinet
Katherine Inabinet is an Industry Fellow in the School of Design at RMIT University. She has over 15 years’ professional experience as a technical animator, is an active mentor for women and underrepresented communities in the games industry and has lectured in digital technology since 2009.