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DIGM Colloquium Series - Dr. Peter McDonald

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

1:00 PM-2:30 PM

Join the Digital Media community for an engaging lecture and Q&A with Assistant Professor of Design, Informal, and Creative Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Peter McDonald.

His work focuses on the intersection of interpretation and games, and tracks the rise of play as an aesthetic category in the late 20th century. His recent book, Run and Jump, uses a structuralist lens to examine the formal elements of 2D platforming games.
Talk Abstract:

Core mechanics, or verbs, like 'jumping' offer game designers allow game designers to operationalize the player's vague identification with an avatar. They sit between the machine's calculations and the player's gesturing fingers, and translate both into the metaphoric terms that bring game worlds to life. Players come to that understanding through countless small repetitions of an action, which vary in countless ways. In this talk, Peter McDonald isolates and anatomizes a few specific jumps from a YouTube long-play of Hollow Knight (2017) to show the layers of subtle meaning that a player needs to master to speak the language of a game. These iterations of the same movement echo at different scales of repetition throughout the game, in particular for the level design of Hollow Knight.

Contact Information

Frank Lee

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ExCite Center, Suite 100
3401 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


  • Everyone
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Graduate Students
  • Senior Class
  • Prospective Students
  • International Students
  • LGBTQA Community
  • Faculty
  • Staff
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  • Parents & Families