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Lindsay GraceBiography

[Games] [Art & Exhibits] [Apps] [Publications] [Teaching] [blog]

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Associate Professor (Digital Games and Persuasive Play)
Director American University Games Lab


Film and Media Arts
School of Communications
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington DC, USA, 20016

Twitter: @Mindtoggle

Curriculum Vitae: PDF
Artist One Page CV: PDF

Lindsay Grace is a professor, game designer, programmer and artist

Lindsay is an associate professor at American University and founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio. His game designs have received awards from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play, Advances in Computer Entertainment and Gamescape. He has published more than 40 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than eight countries and 12 states, including New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Chicago and Vancouver. He has given talks at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC), SXSW, Games for Change Festival/Tribeca Film Festival, the Boston Festival of Independent Games and many others. He is currently the Vice President of the Global Game Jam™ and served on the board for the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) between 2013-2015.

Lindsay served Miami University as the Armstrong Professor of Creative Arts at Miami University between 2009-2013. He founded the Persuasive Play Lab (PPL) and directed the Games Center within the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media. The AIMS game center was co-founded with Sean Duncan and is currently lead by Bob Deschutter. Lindsay's research areas include game design, human-computer interaction, critical gameplay and design. He also writes about design and education. Lindsay has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer.

Teaching [curriculum vitae / resume]
Lindsay joined the faculty at American University's School of Communications in 2013 (Film and Media Arts division). In 2009 he became the first Armstrong Professor of Creative Arts, holding a joint position between the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies and the College of Creative Arts. From 2003-2009 he taught in digital arts and writing at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. He has also taught at ITT Technical schools and wrote an online graduate course in database design for American Intercontinental University.

Games, and Programming
Lindsay's creative practice is focused on uses of interactive media to explore cultural standards. Extending the foundations of human computer interaction, play design and design anthropology, the work explores the ignored. This work is computer game, gallery art, animation, sculpture or some interdisciplinary amalgamation. Lindsay’s work primarily pursues educational experiences and editorial critique of the social relationship between computers, humans and each other. The medium is typically screen based, software informed and aesthetic. The work demonstrates patterns through their amplification or the exposition of their absence in common awareness. The Critical Gameplay project is the current focus of this work, turning pattern into rhetoric.

Previous Commercial Work
Lindsay currently creates commercial games via Mindtoggle Games. Lindsay has completed several projects as an independent contractor-consultant for small to mid-sized businesses. He consulted on aspects of business system design, web and usability design.

A personal note:

I don't like talking about myself in the third person, but it makes it easier for other people to cut and paste my bio.

I teach because I have more people to thank than I can ever repay. With the skills I have and my propensities - teaching digital design is what I do. I don't think the work I design will save a life, but it might just inspire one.

I also teach because I love it. I want every one of my students to have that ah-ha moment at least once in my classes. Most of my ah-ha moments have changed my life for the better. I hope I can facilitate the same.

I am an alumnus of Friends Academy (Massachusetts), A Better Chance (Williamstown, Massachusetts) LEAD @ University of Arizona, InRoads, and the PhD Project (conference). I am a Christian A. Herter scholarship recipient. I've never done well on tests, which is fitting since I was one of 3 speakers at the 1994 W. Allison Davis commemorative US postage stamp ceremony (Dr. Allison challenged the validity of standardized tests).

Before I was 12 I started selling half-baked video games. I called that company Mindtoggle (from mind-switches). 8 years later I started a company with my friend Tony (now at Twitter), to sell club merchandise, DJ mixes, promote club specials and offer VIP access. I called that company It grew to be the 3rd largest resource for clubbing news in Chicago, but I put it to rest when Metromix (the #1) matured. Now Mindtoggle sells mobile games. As Kurt Vonnegut writes - so it goes.

I race two cars in SCCA Autocross (a z51 vette and an mx-5), bicycle (I used to race ABR and USCF road), and play video games. The rest of life is peppered with EDM and Salsa dancing, travel, cooking (we'll call it international fusion), board games, fiction and philosophy. My first claim to fame was a credit on Carl Cox's live at Crobar-Chicago CD.

A few photos of me, in case you need them (car racing photo courtesy of Jeff Lowe Imaging):

2015 2014 2012 2011 2011
Lindsay GRace 2012 Lindsay GRace 2012 Lindsay GRace 2012 Lindsay Grace playing games Lindsay in Turkey
  2010 2009 2008 2008
  Lindsay Grace 2010, UTAH Lindsay Grace 2009 Lindsay Grace in Japan Colorado Biking

Yes, my facial hair grows in direct proportion to my stress. I wear a beard most days now.

A few interesting numbers (as of November 2015):

84: The total number of courses I have taught between 2003-2015 (excluding independent studies)

3: the total number of Game courses I taught at American University
7: the total number of Game Design courses I taught at Miami University
6 : The total number of Web Design courses I taught at Miami University

28: The total number of Games courses I taught at AI-Chicago (Design, Scriptwriting, Programming)
18: The total number of Web Design courses I taught at AI-Chicago
15: The total number of general Digital Media courses I taught
4: The total number of film scriptwriting courses I taught at AI-Chicago
3: Total number of online only courses I have taught

1982: The first year I played a computer game
1986: The first year I started making computer games
1993: The first year I had been on an airplane

Professional Highlights [Writing] [Showing] [Talking] [Leading] [Praise] [Press]


Publications [see all] [cv]

Book Chapters:

Selected Proceedings (* Awarded):

Online Edited Articles:


Exhibit Catalogs:

Selected Undergraduate Student Publications:


Make me an Offer Exhibit

Selected Exhibitions [see all] (* = awarded, ~ = selection)

Team Constructed:

  • 2015 Delivery Drone (role: project lead), Artscape (Gamescape), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • 2015 Delivery Drone (role: project lead), Jolt Summit - Newseum, Washington DC, USA
  • 2015 Delivery Drone (role: project lead), Baltimore Innovation Week Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • *2013 Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart (role: Design Lead), Advances in Computer Entertainment, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • 2013 Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart (role: Design Lead), International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2013 Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart (role: Design Lead), International Digital Media Arts Exhibit (IDEAS), Laguna Beach, California


  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: Big Huggin', Indies from the Middle, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: You, A Very Meaningful Game, Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE2014), Funchal, Madeira
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: You International Digital Media Arts Exhibit (IDEAS),Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: You, Art-Science Musuem, Singapore
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: Bang! (video), ICIDS Exhbition, Art-Science Musuem, Singapore
  • 2014 Lesley the Lover (in Safe not Sorry), Meaningful Play Conference (Game Gallery), East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: Black Like Me, Computer Arts Congress / Nano Federal University, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: You Blank Arcade @ DiGRA, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2014 Critical Gameplay: You Artscape (Gamescape), Baltimore, Maryland
  • ~2014 Critical Gameplay: Big Huggin, The Aesthetics of Gameplay, ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community (DAC)
  • 2014 Black Like Me, Big Huggin', Stolen Kisses, 9th Annual Foundations of Digital Games Conference
  • 2014 Music Box, NMC10 Video Programme, varied venues including Annual College Art Association (CAA) Conference (Chicago), West Virigina-Wesleyan, Alfred State University, et al.
  • 2014 Black Like Me, Magfest, National Harbor, Maryland
  • 2012 Critical Gameplay, Computer Art Congress 2012, 104 (centquatre), Paris, France
  • 2012 Big Huggin', Meaningful Play Serious Games Conference, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • 2012 Miami Mini Golf, Meaningful Play Serious Games Conference, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • 2012 Big Huggin', File Electronic Language Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2012 Music Box, File Electronic Language Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • *2012 Big Huggin', Artscape:Gamescape, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2012 Big Huggin' (Critical Gameplay), 8th Games, Learning and Society Conference, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2011 Conversations Lite, 7th Games Learning and Society Conference Art Exhibit, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2011 Music Box, 7th Games Learning and Society Conference Art Exhibit, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2011 Critical Gameplay: Wait, 7th Games Learning and Society Conference Art Exhibit, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2011 Polyglot Cubed, 7th Games Learning and Society Conference Art Exhibit, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • *2008 Meaningful Play Serious Games Conference, Game Exhibitor: Polyglot Cubed
  • 2008 7th Annual Pilsen Together Art Festival, National Museum Of Mexican Fine Arts [photography], Chicago, Illinois
  • 2008 Co-Curator of Make Me an Offer, Gallery 350, Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, IL
  • 2008 Gogh Bot, Make Me an Offer, Gallery 350, Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, IL
Presenting in Athens, Greece

Presentations and Panels:[see all]

GDC 2015SXSWG4CBostong FIGAdler PlanateriumMedia the MattersMeaningful Play

Invited Talks and Keynotes

  • 2016: Grace, L. Keynote: Online News Association (ONA)-London, United Kingdom
  • 2016: Grace, L. What’s Love got to do with it, Games without Frontiers Lecture Series, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2016: Grace, L. Yale University, Digital Media Center for the Arts, visiting artist lecture in Games, New Haven, CT
  • 2016: Grace, L. Quinnipiac University visiting artist lecture in Games, Hamden Connecticut
  • 2016: Grace, L. Engaging Social Impact through Game Design, Climate Change Game Jam Showcase, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington, DC
  • 2016: Grace, L. Climate Game Jam Showcase: "Social Impact Games", Smithsonian Natural History Musuem, Washington, DC, USA
  • 2014: Grace, L. Keynote: "Media Arts and Game Development Expo", University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI, May 2014
  • 2013: Grace, L. "Games: Play and Impact", Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois, October 2013
  • 2013: Grace, L. "How Indie is Not So Indie", Boston Festival of Independent Games, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 2013
  • 2013: Grace, L. "The Future of Play and Education", E-Tech Ohio (Virtual), Columbus, Ohio, February 2013
  • 2010: Grace, L. "Gaming Augmented Reality, Place-based Applications and More", The Digital Non-Conference, September 2010, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 2010: Grace, L., Platt, Glenn "Social Media and Digital Games for Environment Action", Saving Species – July 2010 - Kinabatangan, Borneo, Malaysia

Invited Panels

  • 2015: Intersection in Digital Arts, 7th IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media (GEM) Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 2015
  • 2015: National Assessment for Educational Progress Innovations Symposium – Department of Education, Washington, DC - September 2015
  • 2014: The Rules of War in Games (panel), American Red Cross, Washington, DC, October 2014
  • 2014: Evolution Of Gaming: Understanding the Game Industry (panel with Roger E. Pederson, Scott Miller and Brad MacDonal), Video Gamers United (VGU) Convention, Washington, DC, August 2014
  • 2014: American University Diversity in Games Summit, Washington, DC, March 2014
  • 2014: Social Impact Play Panel, Media That Matters, Washington, DC, February 2014
  • 2013: Animator's Roundtable-Video Games Panel,American University, Washington, DC, September 2013
  • 2010: Digital Society Trends: New Forms of Machine-Human Interactions (panel): Critiquing Software Interactions, The Third International Conferences on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions (St Maarten), February 2010

Peer Reviewed Presentations

  • 2010: Grace, L. Gaming Augmented Reality, Place-based Applications and More, The Digital Non-Conference, September 2010, Cincinnati, Ohio

Peer Reviewed Panels:

Peer Reviewed Workshops:



  • 2014: 12th Music and Gaming Conference (MAGFest) 2014, National Harbor, Maryland, January 2014
  • Various Panels for MAGES Track:
    Serious Gaming- Role of Academic Institutions
    Educating through Play
    The Politics of Gaming
    Persuasive Play
    Are AAA Studios Still Creatively Relevant?
    Understanding Game Verbs
    How Being Indie is Not so Indie

Invited Community Presentations:

  • 2014: Game Dev and Design in DC (with Chris Totten), Smithsonian Air and Space Musuem, Washington, DC, October 2014
  • 2014: Global Entrepreneurship Week, Media, Entertainment and Games, Kogod School of Business, November 2014
  • 2014: American University All Faculty Retreat, Games as a 2030 Initative, October 2014
  • 2014: American University Development and Alumni Relations Retreat, American University, Washington, DC February 2014
  • 2014: Campus Life Staff Retreat (January 2014), Persuasive Play and the Everyday, American University, Washington, DC
  • 2013: SOC Dean's Council (October 2013), Understanding Persuasive Play, American University, Washington, DC
  • 2013: AU Classes without Quizzes (October 2013), Games as Rhetorical Media, American University, Washington, DC
  • 2013: American University Faculty Forum (September 2013), American University, Washington, DC
  • 2013: A Diaspora of War Games, Penny Lecture Series - Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, February 2013
  • 2013: Winton Woods School: Man-Man Stem Conference for High School students (invited speaker 2012,2013), Cincinnati, Ohio

Peer Reviewed Community Presentations:

  • 2015: What Is Game Research and How Can You Use It? (panel), Anne Ferren Teaching Conference, American University, Janaury 2015
  • 2015: Using Current Events as Teachable Moments (panel), Anne Ferren Teaching Conference, American University, Janaury 2015
  • 2014: Games in the Classroom Panel, Anne Ferren Teaching Conference, American University, Washington, DC, January 2014
Conference presentation

Selected Program Committees and Review

Elected Boards / Executive Leadership:

Global Game Jamdigra logo


  • Global Game Jam 2014 Research Committee, Invited (2013-2014)
  • Global Game Jam, Site Organizer American University (2014), Miami University (2010,2011,2013)

Program Committees:

Meaningful Play

Reviewing and Judging

Selected Institutional Service committees


  • 21st Century Learning Initiative Advisory Council Member, Trust for the National Mall, Washington, DC (2014)
  • Spark Media, project consultant, Washington, DC (2014,2015)
  • Westwood College, Chicago, Curriculum Advisory Committee-Graphic/Web Design (2004-2005)
Conference presentation

Awards and Grants


10th G4CMeaningful Play


  • 2014: Online News Association (ONA), Challenge Fund, Honorable Mention - Newsjam and Workshop on Live News Games
  • 2013: 10th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology Game Competition, 1st Place - E.A. Poe's Tell Tale Heart Game, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • 2013: Games for Change Festival Hall of FameCritical Gameplay Wait – 1 of "5 games, the very best games for social impact in the last decade that bring forward the message that games can create change", New York, New York, USA
  • 2012: Meaningful Play Conference Top 5 Paper Award (with P. Jamieson et al.)
  • 2012: Gamescape People’s Choice Award (runner up), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • 2009: Polyglot Cubed, Serious Games Showcase - I/ITSEC (finalist), Orlando, Florida, USA
  • 2008: Meaningful Play Conference-Michigan State University, Best Student Game, East Lansing, MI, USA

Game Design and Development Contracts

  • PI: 2014-2015 Educational Testing Services (ETS), Design and Development of Microgames for Argumentation Assesment
  • PI: 2015-2016 Educational Testing Services (ETS), Design and Development of Microgames for Socio-pragmatics
  • PI: 2015 National Instititue of Mental Health (NIMH) - (project lead Bob hone), Design and Development of Attention Bias Modification Game

Contracts exceed $140K USD

Grants Received:

Co-author, consultant or advisor grants:

  • JoLT Journalism and Games, Knight Foundation (2014), Philanthropic Gift, $250,000
  • Consultant (Game Design): National Endowment for the Humanities (2014). PI: Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, $59,994, Freedom Summer Game
  • Advisor|Faculty Lead: Undergraduate Summer Scholars 2012 (Miami University grant for undergraduate research), Virtual Reality Games and Meta-Fiction
    Advisor: $3,600 (x2)
  • Consultant (Interactive Media Design): National Endowment for the Arts (2010), PI: Robert S. Wicks, $20,000, Digital Interactive Art Commentaries 
    , $20,000
  • Consultant (Game Design): National Science Foundation (2010), Saving Species
    role: consultant
    (2010-2011),  $2,879,306.00 (.51 person-months committed).

Crowd sourcing:

Other Awards:

Cameras on Michigan Ave

General Press: (Newsle Profile)

NPR LogoAssociated Press LogoPBS Media Shift

AL Jazeera the Stream 2014Lindsay Grace 2015Lindsay Grace on Washington DC NBC 4 2013Lindsay Grace about Global Game Jam 2010Telethon

  • 2011: Quoted: ABC News, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Daily Herald, Backstage, Yahoo News, Arab Times, et al (Associated Press): Next Gen Video Games Let Players Control the Story , Actors Storytelling Are Key Elements in New Video Games, Video Game Makers Focusing on Storylines(7/12/2011-7/25/2011)

Alternative Media:

On campus press: American University

On campus press: The Miami Student (Miami University Student Newspaper)

Government and Private Research Reports


Sample Videos:


Presentation: 2013 Games for Change Festival, New York, New York

Interview: IndiePub Games - Overview of Global Game Jam (2011)


Video playlist of select presentations and apperances (2012-2014)



  • Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
  • Global Game Jam™
  • Faculty Advisor (2009-2013): Miami University Video Game Designer's Club (VGDC)
  • Faculty Advisor (2012-2013): Miami University International Game Developer's Association (IGDA) student chapter
  • International Game Developer's Association (IGDA), Game Education SIG member (2007-present)

  • College Art Association Member
  • ACM Member
  • IEEE Member


Web Links

About me on the web:

My Games
  • Critical Gameplay:
    Micro site for Critical Gameplay video game suite and exhibition
  • Mindtoggle Games:
    My outlet for creating simply commercial games informed by Critical Gameplay
  • Polyglot Language Game:
    Micro site for the Polyglot language learning tool I created in 2008. More information is also available at and
  • Zombie Master:
    A micro site for a game prototype I released in 2005/2006. The game is very simple, and really doesn't aspire to anything more than a tech test. I wrote the program to gauge how much my students could accomplish in a quarter. I wrote the game in just under 3 weeks, but it did get reasonable download traffic.
My Applications
  • Autocross Advantage: A quick mobile app I created to help autocross racers keep track of the course and their times.
  • Chicago Homicide Tool:
    The micro site for my scientific visualization program to analyze geographic and chronological patterns in homicides. Last edited 2008
  • Interactive Travel Map:
    Micro site for the Interactive Travel Map, a hastily "slapped together" program to create 3D interactive chronological histories of travel. The program allows the user to map any series of images to any 3D model, then create a timed animation rotating the model and moving through the image sequence. Last edited 2007.
  • LightDemo:
    Micro site for the OpenGL Light demonstration I wrote in 2005.
  • Medical Image Viewer: Medical Image Viewer
    Micro site for the Medical Image (e.g. dicom, CT scans, etc) viewer I wrote. It uses several common algorithms for generating 3D images from common data files.


My Work


Student Resources
  • Aii:
    Information for Illinois Institute of Art students, including syllabi, course documents, and related resources.
  • Camera:
    A website introducing common terminology and concepts for describing camera movement. This micro site was created to provide my writing students an easy reference for scripting animated cut scenes in games. Last edited in 2006
  • Miami University:
    Information for Miami University students, including syllabi, course documents, and related resources.
  • Presentations:
    Collection of documents from various presentations I have made in recent years.
  • Students:
    A collection of links to work my students have completed. It was maintained for 2 years, while I was teaching web design. The work of my Game Art students requires more bandwidth than this collection would rightly support. Legal issues also prevent me from hosting student work on my own servers. Please visit AI for samples of current student game work. Student game programming examples can be viewed at