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INconversation with Tracy Fullerton

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The Iron Yard

475 E Market St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Since this line was first written by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau in 1854, it’s inspired thinkers, writers, artists and naturalists. But only recently did someone decide Thoreau’s short memoir was the perfect blueprint for an online game.

Walden, a game, to be released this summer, is a first-person simulation of Thoreau’s life during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. It’s been generating tons of buzz, including in The New York Times and at Davos, for its creativity, its beauty and its sheer unlikeliness. Join us as we welcome lead designer Tracy Fullerton, director of the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, to talk about “the world’s most improbable video game.”

In the game, as in life, the goal is to achieve balance between the quotidian (growing or hunting food, chopping wood) and the sublime (walking in the woods, reading, talking with visitors). It’s a singular example of how digital technologies, guided by a startlingly creative mind, can make the humanities accessible, fun and participatory in a whole new way.

Listen in as Tracy shares how—and why—she turned a 19th-century memoir into a 21st-century digital game while sipping on Sun King's Dragon’s Delight beer and gamer snacks. We’ll get a peek at the game itself and learn about the delightful challenges of its creation, from scouring Thoreau’s original surveys of Walden Pond to create the game’s landscape and establishing rules and choices for the first-person player, to designing a color scheme and soundtrack that subtly cue the players to their success or failure in “living deliberately.” And we’ll think together about the remarkable possibilities of games and their ability to help us navigate our complicated, ever-changing world.

This special INconversation is proudly presented in partnership with GenCon.

About INconversation
INconversation engages an intimate group in interesting and insightful conversations with some of the nation's most intriguing thought-leaders. This highly participatory question-and-answer style discussion involves the thought leader, a moderator and the audience. INconversation is a signature program of Indiana Humanities.

About Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap explores and celebrates the spirit of possibility and problem-solving that occurs when we bridge the humanities with science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. www.IndianaHumanities.org/QuantumLeap

About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. www.IndianaHumanities.org

About GenCon
Gen Con is the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world! Featuring 500+ exhibiting companies from the game industry, award-winning authors and artists, costumed attendees, more than 16,500 events, a Family Fun Pavilion, and the debut of exciting new games, Gen Con truly is The Best Four Days in Gaming™! www.gencon.com

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The Iron Yard

475 E Market St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

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