Newman University Associate Professor of History Kelly McFall, Ph.D. is packing his bags for a trip to Michigan along with student Annie Dang and alumna Emily Simon '16 ... to play games.
The group will be participants in the annual "Reacting to the Past" (RTTP) Game Development Conference (GDC) that focuses on designing games for the pedagogical method "Reacting to the Past." This year's conference will take place from July 13-16 at Central Michigan University. Both Simon and Dang were students of the Newman University Honors Program.
RTTP has been implemented at more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. The initiative is sustained by the Reacting Consortium, an alliance of colleges and universities that promotes imagination, inquiry, and engagement as foundational features of teaching and learning in higher education.
Simon and McFall will playtest and present a 'micro-game' that was developed by Simon and co-authored by McFall about North Korea that puts students in the role of national leaders or leaders of relief organizations and asks them to try and wrestle with complicated issues of human rights, international diplomacy and military confrontations.
The game is set in a conference in 1997 where a variety of countries and NGOs come together to decide whether to offer food aid to North Korea - a serious famine in that year. The problem is that the totalitarian, repressive government of North Korea would probably take some of the aid and give it to the army that is repressing the people. In addition, there's a complicated political/diplomatic context involving military contests in East Asia.
The game was played for the first time in McFall's freshman honors seminar last fall, and now will be played by faculty members from across the country.
"If all goes well, it will be posted on the RTTP website for faculty to use in their own classes - and down the line, if things go really well, it might be published," McFall said.
McFall is a member of the Reacting Editorial Board and participates on the GDC planning committee. He will lead a roundtable at the conference on the topic of "game design." He is also an active game developer for RTTP, authoring three games with one in progress titled "Changing the Game: Title IX, Gender and Athletics in American Universities."
According to McFall, next year's conference will be held at Newman University.
View and download McFall's games from the RTTP website:
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