Making Games for Hard Conversations

Kathryn Hymes, Hakan Seyalioglu
  • Seminar
  • Topical
Date: Mar 31
7:10pm (duration 00:50)
Game design is a kind of conversation design. Play can help us talk about things that would be harder to do without the structure of a game. In this session, we'll talk about some of our experience designing games that help people talk about hard things together, be it exploring important ways they disagree or thinking through possible ways to collaborate.


Inside of games, Kathryn Hymes (she/her) and Hakan Seyalıoğlu (he/him) are the co-founders of Thorny Games, a game studio out of Washington D.C. Their work often deals with the intimate and epic stories behind the language we speak. They’ve won awards for their games like Dialect (Silver Ennie Game of the Year, Tabletop Game of the Year—Indiecade Europe) and Sign (Indiecade Finalist, Indie RPG award-winner). Upcoming is Xenolanguage, a soulful sci-fi game about alien language, and the Games to Bind Us Play Anthology. They regularly speak about games, language and technology at places like SXSW and GDC. They regularly partner with universities and non-profits to make games as a form of research by design. Outside of games, Kathryn is a computational linguist and plays the fiddle. Hakan is a trained cryptographer and loves breakfast.

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