The Medium That Ate the World


Date Thursday January 26th 2006
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Games. There they are. We all know about them, at this point. We grew up on the classic board game sort. We dropped quarters at the arcade, we collected cartridges and disks; we downloaded hacks, and wrote walkthrough manuals.

Now here we are in a connected age, and the games are connected too. With all this experience, we’ve asked damn few questions about what games really are, how they really work, how they change and how we are changed by them.

Today games are not only rising in the popular culture, but are shaping the ways we think. The future of cyberspace is developing in the game world, not in the staid halls of research labs, and as a result, it is full of far stranger things than we would have imagined.

This talk will describe the core architecture of how games work, the ways in which they are revelatory of the human condition, and the blinkers that a gamist view of the world puts on. It will explore the future of games and ways in which our culture will be shaped by play.

Welcome to the medium that is going to swallow the world, and present it back to us with the forms of things unknown.


Raph Koster has been working professionally and as a hobbyist in the field of online worlds for over a decade. At SOE, he consults on all of SOE's titles, and is responsible for ongoing research into future technologies for games. He entered the industry professionally working as the creative lead and lead designer for Ultima Online for Electronic Arts. He joined Sony in 2000. At SOE, he was the creative director for Star Wars Galaxies.

Mr. Koster holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama. He is a member of the International Game Developers Association, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, and ASCAP. He was a nominee for MIT Technology Review's TR100 Young Innovators awards. He is the author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design as well as numerous articles and essays which are widely quoted and used on academic syllabi in the United States and Europe. He writes frequently on issues of Internet community management, interactive narrative, and online games, and has been a frequent speaker or keynote at conferences all over the world on game design, legal issues of online communities, and social policy.

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for¬†Commercialization.


Our scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.