Theresa Jean Tanenbaum

Theresa Jean Tanenbaum
University of California, Irvine | UCI · Department of Informatics

PhD in Interactive Arts + Technology, Simon Fraser University

About

88
Publications
58,950
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Introduction
I am an associate professor at University of California, Irvine in the Department of Informatics. I am also completing my PhD at SFU's School of Interactive Arts + Technology. My primary research is in game studies, where I draw on theories from the performing arts to explore how games can create a sense of empathy and transformation for their players. I also study Maker Culture, and DIY practice from an HCI perspective, with a particular interest in Steampunk subcultures and Design Fiction.
Additional affiliations
August 2006 - present
Simon Fraser University

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Full-text available
While much of the scholarship around games focuses on either communities of play, or the content of the games and gameplay themselves, comparatively little attention has been paid to the infrastructures that players must negotiate to gain access to the gameplay experience. In this paper we focus on the interfaces on the periphery of gameplay. These...
Article
Full-text available
Since the publication of this article [Tanenbaum J. Hermeneutic Inquiry for Digital Games Research, Comput Game J (2015) 4:59 -80, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40869-015-0005-9, the author Joshua Tanenbaum has now become known by the new legal name Theresa Jean Tanenbaum.
Article
Full-text available
Since the publication of this article [Tanenbaum, K., Hatala, M., Tanenbaum, J. et al. A case study of intended versus actual experience of adaptivity in a tangible storytelling system.
Article
Prohibiting changes to author names on published works can harm vulnerable people. Prohibiting changes to author names on published works can harm vulnerable people. “In changing my name, I was faced with what felt like an impossible choice.”
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With idle games, active withdrawal from the game comprises an essential part of gameplay as players wait for the game state to change over time. This mode of interaction is paradigmatic for the change of roles technologies have in our lives. However, the design elements of idle games are less well understood, particularly from the perspectives of d...
Conference Paper
Deployment of wearables for games has attracted the interest of designers and researchers both in academia and industry. However, few of these projects treat wearables as an integral part of the gameplay, often considering them as an extension of the central on-screen experience. While preliminary forays into wearable play show promise, we see a ne...
Conference Paper
The experience of agency has been centralized in interactive digital storytelling research. Current approaches to agency place the actions of a reader into direct conflict with the authorial intentions of an interactive storyteller by privileging the authorial pleasures that come by interacting with the story's plot. In this paper we present the de...
Conference Paper
Shiva's Rangoli is a tangible interactive storytelling installation that allows readers to shape the emotional tone of a narrative by sculpting the ambience of their space. The system is designed to support meaningful interactions with the narrative that are decoupled from plot outcomes. This work is culturally rooted in Indian mythology and the tr...
Conference Paper
Embodied design methods are gaining popularity among design researchers. They leverage the physical and situated experience of designers to access and better understand present and future situations, humans, and design opportunities. Here, we propose a workshop to learn about, engage with, and discuss larping (live action role playing) as an embodi...
Conference Paper
This paper describes the underlying motivation, creation process, and evaluation outcomes of Shiva's Rangoli, a tangible storytelling installation that allows readers to impact the emotional tone of a narrative by sculpting the ambience of their space. Readers interact with a tangible interface that acts as a boundary object between the reader and...
Chapter
In this chapter we describe a trend we have observed in 3rd-wave HCI research, which we are calling “peripheral practices research”. This form of research consists of primarily qualitative studies of niche, unusual, marginalized and/or highly specialized communities of practice that result in implications for HCI outside of that community. We descr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Idle games are a recent minimalist gaming phenomenon in which the game is left running with little player interaction. We deepen understanding of idle games and their characteristics by developing a taxonomy and identifying game features. This paper examines 66 idle games using a grounded theory approach to analyze play, game mechanics, rewards, in...
Conference Paper
While much popular discussion of representation in games exists, there is very little rigorously collected data available from which to draw direct conclusions. In this study, we set out to address this gap by performing a census of playable characters across a large sample of contemporary games. We gathered data from 200 games including independen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This workshop focuses on the design of digital interactive technology for promoting sexual wellbeing as a fundamental human rights issue and social justice concern in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Sexuality related topics have garnered much interest in recent years and there is a need to explicitly engage with the intersections of...
Book
Full-text available
In this book, we explore the pleasure of playing less through a collective experience of playing the Kittens Game – a self-described “Dark Souls of incremental gaming”. We draw on techniques of close reading and hermeneutics to ground our analysis and supplement our individual reflections on how these games incentivize players to play less and plan...
Conference Paper
This work-in-progress paper presents a first look at Magia Transformo: a mixed reality game for transformative play. Drawing on techniques of backleading and outside->in transformation from theater practice, Magia Transformo uses costumes, props, sets, narration, and physical enactment to transform the bodies and environment of its players. We argu...
Conference Paper
Pervasive games have some unique properties that make them difficult to teach and challenging to design. The best examples of pervasive games are all now unplayable, having been specifically situated in both space and time. Pervasive games can be big, comprised of large player communities and covering sizable geographies. They can take a long time...
Conference Paper
Personal fabrication is on the rise as small scale manufacturing technology becomes more accessible. However, current uses of the technology are typically utilitarian, with little consideration given to the potential of fabrication systems to support more playful and creative experiences. In this paper, we argue that these new technologies can be u...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This workshop gathers researchers and practitioners interested in augmented tabletop games: physical games that include digital augmentation. Participants will compile ways of knowing for this unique research space and share their methods of research, demonstrating, where possible, through a research gaming and prototyping session. Post-workshop, w...
Article
Pervasive games represent a unique challenge for teachers and designers. By definition they escape the traditional temporal, spatial, and social boundaries that often contain play,1 often taking place over large public geographies with big player communities, and ill-defined play sessions. This makes them difficult to playtest and iterate for desig...
Article
Full-text available
There is unequivocal evidence that we are facing the greatest energy transition since the dawn of the industrial age. We need to urgently shift from a global fossil fuel and CO2-emitting energy system to 1) decrease our CO2 emissions and combat the effects of climate change and 2) face a future of depleting fossil fuel resources.Yet there is still...
Article
In this forum we highlight innovative thought, design, and research in the area of interaction design and sustainability, illustrating the diversity of approaches across HCI communities. --- Lisa Nathan and Samuel Mann, Editors
Conference Paper
In this work, we describe Phylactery, a hybrid physical/digital system for authoring interactive stories across collections of objects. Unlike many Interactive Digital Storytelling (IDS) systems, which are concerned with the representations of formal narrative structures within software, or with the simulation of high-fidelity narrative environment...
Conference Paper
In this paper we present GeoPoetry, a location-based work of electronic literature that generates poetic language and dynamic soundtracks for road-trips that reflect the mood of people in the surrounding area. GeoPoetry takes recent nearby geotagged Twitter data and generates strings of combinatorial poetry from them using simple Markov-chain text...
Conference Paper
In this paper we explore how design fiction -- an increasingly common and relevant strategy within HCI and the Digital Humanities -- can be used to get purchase on the future. In particular, we address how design fictional methods allow researchers to construct arguments about feared or dystopian futures within the context of collapse informatics....
Conference Paper
Traditional HCI goals like efficiency and ease-of-use, while important, are not sufficient for digital technology to function as an expressive medium. This digital craftsmanship also requires diversity, risk, personal taste, mastery, and respect for materials. We discuss how digital tools can support expressive practices and highlight multiple stra...
Conference Paper
In this work, we describe several themes that can be useful for designing tangible technology in the context of death and mourning. We explore the effectiveness of physical and digital artifacts in the process honoring a loved one who has passed away. We employ a speculative prototype called Penseive Box to explore the intersection of tangible digi...
Conference Paper
Smart devices are becoming increasingly commercially available. However, uptake of these devices has been slow and abandonment swift, which indicates that smart devices may not currently meet the needs of users. To advance an understanding of the ways users benefit from, are challenged by, and abandon smart devices, we asked a group of users to pur...
Article
Game Studies is a young research field compared to other media studies disciplines, such as literary theory and film studies. Games research has often struggled to balance the demands of modern constructivist perspectives on knowledge creation (Denzin and Lincoln in Handbook of qualitative research. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 1994) against t...
Conference Paper
There has been a significant increase in commercial interest in wearable technologies, spearheaded by Google's Glass project, and also by the success of a new generation of fitness oriented biosensors such as the Fitbit, the Bodymedia Fit, and the Misfit Shine. Concurrently, there has been a proliferation of embodied interfaces for digital games su...
Chapter
Making and Maker culture are growing at such prodigious speed that there are very few people whose lives aren’t touched by them, even if they don’t realize it. The scope of activities and practices that fit under the heading of Maker Culture is vast: woodworking, electronic prototyping, robotics, urban farming, software development, fire-art, weavi...
Article
In this workshop we propose to explore issues around big data, data privacy, visualization, sensing, surveillance, and counter-surveillance, through a team-based Critical Making hackathon.
Conference Paper
Design research and practice within HCI is inherently oriented toward the future. However, the vision of the future described by HCI researchers and practitioners is typically utility-driven and focuses on the short term. It rarely acknowledges the potentially complex social and psychological long-term consequences of the technology artefacts produ...
Chapter
Games for Change are digital games that purport to change people’s opinions, attitudes, or behaviors around specific issues. While thousands of games have been created, there is little evidence that such games do persuade or contribute to behavior change. To address this problem, address the research question: How do elements of the different model...
Book
Full-text available
Over the last 20 years there has been an expansion of network mediated social activities, and an accompanying explosion of research interest into the poetics of networked communication. Of particular interest is the rise of what have come to be known as “virtual worlds”: persistent graphical environments populated (and often partially authored) by...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an empirical study that provides sup-port for the use of enactment in storytelling systems. The overall goal of our research is to facilitate the authoring of stories by children, aged 8 to 10 years. Our findings show that story enactment results in posi-tive effects on the child's storytelling, but only through the mediation of...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents a case study of an adaptive, tangible storytelling system called “The Reading Glove”. The research addresses a gap in the field of adaptivity for ubiquitous systems by taking a critical look at the notion of “adaptivity” and how users experience it. The Reading Glove is an interactive storytelling system featuring a wearable,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper investigates the effects of physical objects as support for imagination in the context of enactive storytell- ing. More specifically, we target nine-year-old children because of their general disengagement from creative activ- ity, a phenomenon known as the Fourth-grade Slump that arises from a demotivational spiral brought on by social...
Article
The concept of diegetic prototypes, referenced by both Sterling and Bleecker, comes from film scholar David Kirby, who uses it to account for the ways in which cinematic depictions of future technologies demonstrate to large public audiences a technology's need, viability, and benevolence. They are often integrated into the process of designing and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Research into the effects of serious games often engages with interdisciplinary models of how human behaviors are shaped and changed over time. To better understand these different perspectives we articulate three cognitive models of behavior change and consider the potential of these models to support a deeper understanding of behavior change in s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
DIY, hacking, and craft have recently drawn attention in HCI and CSCW, largely as a collaborative and creative hobbyist practice. We shift the focus from the recreational elements of this practice to the ways in which it democratizes design and manufacturing. This democratized technological practice, we argue, unifies playfulness, utility, and expr...
Conference Paper
Much like books have “implied readers” and films have “implied viewers”, games have “implied players”. The ways in which these implied players are constructed have material implications for how games are designed and studied. In this paper I explore a pervasive narrative about the ways in which players seek to subvert the desires of game designers...
Article
Digital games have matured substantially as a narrative medium in the last decade. However, there is still much work to be done to more fully understand the poetics of story-based-games. Game narrative remains an important issue with significant cultural, economic and scholarly implications. In this article, we undertake a critical analysis of the...
Conference Paper
In this paper we look at the Steampunk movement and consider its relevance as a design strategy for HCI and interaction design. Based on a study of online practices of Steampunk, we consider how, as a design fiction, Steampunk provides an explicit model for how to physically realize an ideological and imagined world through design practice. We cont...
Conference Paper
This studio provides participants with an opportunity to engage in a hands-on exploration of the use of "design fictions" as a strategy for producing physical artifacts. The idea of design fictions blurs the boundaries between traditional design practices and narrative explorations of potential futures. If the goal of design is to devise courses of...
Conference Paper
Research into Interactive Digital Storytelling (IDS) is often undertaken through a process of conceptualization, design, prototyping, and evaluation. In this paper we describe a framework of questions intended to interrogate the fundamental intellectual commitments that underlie the design of interactive narratives. We close with a brief descriptio...
Conference Paper
In this paper we describe The Reading Glove: a non-linear adaptive tangible narrative system in which interactors piece together a narrative puzzle by interacting with a collection of physical artifacts. The Reading Glove uses an adaptive system to assist the reader in making sense of the complicated web of narrative information.
Conference Paper
It is common within the interactive narrative research community to conflate interaction with changing the outcome of a story. In this paper we argue that reimagining interaction as participation in a story opens up an important new design space for digital narratives: one which emphasizes the readerly pleasure of transforming into a character rath...
Article
There is a potential disconnection between the experience of narrative and the active decision-making necessary for successful gameplay. Gameplayers must oscillate between a hypermediated participation in game decisions, and the transparent pleasure in the narrative frame of the game (Bolter and Grusin, 1999; Manovich, 2001). This paper analyses on...
Conference Paper
We present results from a user study of the Reading Glove version 2.0, a combination wearable and tabletop interactive narrative system. The system was designed to study user perceptions of adaptivity. The system’s reasoning engine guides users through the story using three different recommendation modes: random recommendations, story content-base...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Despite a long history of using participatory methods to enable public engagement with issues of societal importance, interactive displays have only recently been explored for this purpose. In this paper, we evaluate a tabletop game called Futura, which was designed to engage the public with issues of sustainability. Our design is grounded in prior...
Conference Paper
In this paper we describe the Reading Glove, a wearable RFID reader for interacting with a tangible narrative. Based on interviews with study participants, we present a set of observed themes for understanding how the wearable and tangible aspects of the Reading Glove influence the user experience. We connect our observational themes to theoretical...
Conference Paper
This paper introduces a collaborative learning game called Futura: The Sustainable Futures Game, which is implemented on a custom multi-touch digital tabletop platform. The goal of the game is to work with other players to support a growing population as time passes while minimizing negative impact on the environment. The design-oriented research g...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Designing learning games is a complex task that requires collaboration between a number of different types of experts, including knowledge of game design, learning theory, child development, and the specific domain or subject matter of the game. In this paper we discuss the design process for Futura, a multi-touch tabletop game intended to support...
Book
This book constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2011, held in Vancouver, Canada, in November/December 2011. The 17 full papers, 14 short papers and 16 poster papers were carefully reviewed and selected from 72 paper and poster submissions. In addition, the volume includes...
Conference Paper
In this paper we describe a prototype Tangible User Interface (TUI) for interactive storytelling that explores the semantic properties of tangible interactions using the fictional notion of psychometry as inspiration. We propose an extension of Heidegger's notions of "ready-to-hand" and "present-at-hand", which allows them to be applied to the narr...
Article
Agency has long been considered one of the core pleasures of interacting with digital games. Recent treatments of agency in games culture and game design have grown increasingly concerned with providing the player with limitless freedom to act. While this describes one form of pleasure, in narratively focused games it has the unfortunate consequenc...
Article
Creating content for different forms of interactive narratives requires a different set of skills and techniques than writing non-interactive stories. In this paper we describe a prototype tangible interactive narrative system called the Reading Glove and outline the authoring process used to create story content for it. We begin by discussing diff...
Article
There has been a recent surge of novel interface devices available for home gaming systems. With the rise in popularity of games like Guitar Hero and consoles such as Nintendo's Wii comes new opportunities for game design at the interface level. In this paper we propose three interrelated dimensions for the analysis of embodied and gestural game in...
Conference Paper
One common metaphor for Interactive Storytelling has been the notion of Interactive Dramas, in which players assume the first-person role of the main character in a digitally mediated narrative. In this paper we explore the model of improvisation as a means of understanding the relationship between the author/designer and the reader/player of such...
Article
In this paper we describe a prototype for an interactive multimedia story project called Scarlet Skellern and the Absent Urchins. In Scarlet Skellern we explore how user interaction can modify non-plot-centric presentational elements of a story. We implement a simple user model for gauging interactor affect which drives elements of the narrative en...
Article
Many of the difficulties in authoring interactive stories lie in explicitly determining how and where narrative meaning is created. In many ways, these difficulties parallel chal-lenges in intelligent system design, especially in systems that must infer meaning from user interactions. We describe Scarlet Skellern and the Absent Urchins(SSAU); a pro...
Article
This paper examines the concept of agency within games and proposes a shift from the notion of agency as representing choice or freedom to one of agency as representing commitment to meaning. This conception of agency is aimed at understanding the pleasures of engaging with narratively rich games, and helps to address the tension between player cho...
Article
Classification and abstraction of narrative content is a problem that spans several domains and disciplines ranging from Film Studies and Narratology to Adaptive Hypermedia and Computational Preference Modeling. Applications for automatic recognition and classification of narrative content range from commercial recommendation systems to interactive...

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The starting point of the Coalworld project is the simple contrafactual (Ferguson 2000, Todorova 2015) statement “what if there ever only was half the oil in the ground when we started to use it 150 years ago?” E.g. what if there ever only was 1 instead of 2 trillion barrels of oil available in the ground back in the 19th century (Deffeyes 2006, Campbell 2013). This initial geological change then sets a deviation-amplifying spiral (Maruyama 1963, Sproull & Kiesler 1992) into motion. In Coalworld, peak oil would have happened several decades ago and we would have seen the effects unfold over the last few decades. We are exploring probable, plausible and possible consequences of such a scenario in a series of articles about Coalworld. November 2016: The first article has been submitted to the journal Energy Research & Social Science's special issue on "Narratives and storytelling in energy and climate change research". The second article is being planned and a proposal will be submitted to another special issue in the beginning of next year. Several other future articles are being planned but these articles have to be written serially as each subsequent article depends on all the previous articles.