Tracy Fullerton, creator of what Smithsonian Magazine called ‘the world’s most improbable video game,’ will host a public conversation during Gen Con about how—and why—she turned a 19th century memoir into a 21st century game. The recently-released “Walden, a game,” is an adaptation of Henry David Thoreau’s classic memoir and has been featured at Davos and in The New York Times for its creativity, beauty and sheer unlikeliness.
“Walden, a game,” is a first-person simulation of Thoreau’s life during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. In the game, as in life, the goal is to achieve balance between the quotidian (growing and hunting food, chopping wood) and the sublime (walking in the woods, reading, talking with visitors).
On Aug. 16, Fullerton will participate in an INconversation as part of Indiana Humanities’ multiyear thematic initiative Quantum Leap, which explores the spirit of possibility and problem solving that happens when we bridge the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields with the humanities (history, literature, philosophy, religion, world languages and culture, etc.). Fullerton will share the delightful challenges of the game’s creation, from scouring Thoreau’s original surveys of Walden Pond to designing a color scheme and soundtrack that subtly cue the players to their success or failure in “living deliberately.”
“Tracy’s work is an example of how digital technologies, guided by a startlingly creative mind, can make the humanities accessible, fun and participatory in a whole new way,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We hope this event encourages discussion about the remarkable possibilities of games and their ability to help us navigate our complicated, ever-changing world.”
The INconversation with Tracy Fullerton will be held at The Iron Yard and be moderated by Jen Guiliano, assistant professor of history at IUPUI. It will also include time for audience questions. The event is free but seating is limited and registration is required here: https://tracyfullertoninconvo.eventbrite.com.
This event is presented in partnership with GenCon, Sun King Brewing Co. and The Iron Yard. Attendees will receive Sun King beer (and “gamer” snacks) and a free coding class at The Iron Yard.