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We are an interdisciplinary group of artists and technologists, exploring the future of interactive, expressive, experimental games... together.

Our diverse, interdisciplinary faculty is drawn from Art, Computational Media, Film & Digital Media, Computer Science, Theater and Music. Researchers include Michael Mateas, Robin Hunicke, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Katherine Isbister, Jim Whitehead, Marilyn Walker,  Arnav Jhala, Susana Ruiz, Sri Kurniawan, Warren Sack, Soraya Murray, John Funge, Kimberly Lau, and Daniel Friedman.

Our faculty currently has more than 20 active research grants on games, and several labs exclusively dedicated to researching games, play and digital expression:

  • LudoLab: Game designer, CEO and Professor, Robin Hunicke is a long-time advocate of concrete efforts to expand diversity of participation in games and technology. Her new lab aims to explore the boundaries of experimental gameplay, while providing unique opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities to engage in playful and expressive technological practices.

  • Expressive Intelligence Studio: Founded by Michael Mateas, current Chair of the Computational Media department, and designer of the interactive fiction game, Façade.  Michael’s groundbreaking work in experimental game narrative has led to a plethora of games research projects. The driving force behind UC Santa Cruz's Center for Games & Playable media, Michael's lab is focused on building tools and experiences that broaden our understanding of what games can do.

  • Wellness Lab: Our newest recruit to the Computational Media program, Katherine Isbister comes to UC Santa Cruz via NYU Game Center where she ran the Game Innovation Lab. Author of “Better Game Characters by Design”, Katherine explores how interface designs influence gameplay experience, and has begun to focus on how playful interfaces can improve our experience of wellness-enhancing technologies such as the FitBit.