Game design is traditionally practiced and taught within pyramidal, top-down hierarchies. While they can efficiently produce market-ready products (and workers), they result in the empowerment of select individuals at the top of the hierarchy while wasting the creative potential of the majority. Radical Play demonstrates the development and application of a game design curriculum that embodies principles of critical pedagogy and direct democracy, in which all individuals are empowered to manage their own work and personal development, while also being directly involved in the overall direction of the practice. In doing so, it seeks to challenge designers and educators to stop replicating, within our own practices, the injustices we so openly condemn.
Marcelo Viana Neto is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator interested in how games can help explore socio-economic relations based on solidarity and mutual aid, reveal illegitimate forms of power, and enable creative expression. He was born in Sete Lagoas, Brazil and has been a resident of California since 2002. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design with high distinction from the California College of the Arts and is currently an MFA candidate in DANM at UC Santa Cruz. His current research focuses on applying non-hierarchical participatory modes of organization to game design pedagogy and practice.