Brenda Laurel On Games For Girls

Susan notes: Thanks to TED for making its Talks and related information available for downloading and embedding. I've just watched this talk for the second time, and, although it's more than 10 years old, I'm still captivated by Laurel's insights and comments. I particularly liked the interviews with REAL little girls.

I was also touched by Laurel's closing in which she said:

... we're incorporating what we've learned about girls -- their desires to experience greater emotional flexibility,  and to play around with the social complexity of their lives...what we're giving girls, I think, through this effort, is a kind of validation, a sense of being seen.  And a sense of the choices that are available in their lives. We love them.  We see them.  We're not trying to tell them who they ought to be.  But, we're really, really happy about who they are.  It turns out they're really great. 

brenda_laurel.jpgA TED archive gem. At TED in 1998, Brenda Laurel asked: Why are all the top-selling videogames aimed at little boys? She spent two years researching the world of girls (and shares amazing interviews and photos) to create a game that girls would love.

Brenda Laurel has been part of several major revolutions in the way humans use computers: virtual reality, interactive narratives and some fresh approaches to gaming.

With a PhD in theater and a focus on interactive narratives, Brenda Laurel landed in Silicon Valley at the perfect moment -- at a time when theorists and technologists were exploring new ways that our expanded computing power could link us and entertain us in ways we couldn't yet imagine. She worked as a software designer and researcher for Atari and Activision, and co-founded a telepresence company in 1990.

Laurel is the chair of the Graduate Program in Design at California College of the Arts. Her latest paper, "Designed Animism: Poetics for a New World," looks at the new field of distributed sensing and how it can help us discover patterns in nature.

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