Tesseract Heart Wins Worldwide Award for Civil Rights Historical past Sport
Still from the Tesseract Center’s award-winning game, Mornin ‘In Your Eyes.
The Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design at the U of A won silver in the Higher Education category for its contribution to the 2021 International Serious Play Awards competition, which honors outstanding games for education or training.
The competition is part of the annual Serious Play Conference, “a leadership conference for professionals exploring the use of game-based learning, sharing their experiences and working together to shape the future of education and training.”
The Tesseract Center’s contribution, Mornin ‘In Your Eyes, is an interactive visual narrative that immerses players in key events in the US civil rights movement from 1963-64. Other award winners include large for-profit game studios such as Schell Games and other high-ranking educational institutions such as the Harvard Business School.
Mornin ‘In Your Eyes was developed by the Tesseract Center in collaboration with Professor Jeannie Whayne of the Department of History at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences with the support of a Teaching Improvement Grant from the Wally Cordes Teaching Faculty and Support of the U of A Center. Additional support for the development of Mornin ‘In Your Eyes was provided by the U of A Global Campus.
The game’s development team included Whayne and the staff at the Tesseract Center, Ken Müssig, teaching designer for the U of A Global Campus, and Priscilla and Kevin Snow from Bravemule, an indie game design team for music and scripts. Will Teague, a Ph.D. Student at the Institute of History, provided research and design input.
Mornin ‘In Your Eyes has been used as a learning tool in U of A history courses in the United States and Arkansas since 2019. Set in a fictional college town cafe in the early 1960s, the game features contemporary newspaper articles from The New York Times and The Chicago Defender.
Players read articles and have conversations with the café’s diverse characters – each with a different perspective on the struggle for political, social, and economic equality for black Americans.
Players will learn about the transformative events of that era, including the March on Washington, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The game is a fantastic way for players to practice historical empathy,” said David Fredrick, director of the Tesseract Center and professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures. “It’s another skill players can acquire by trying to understand the various characters’ point of view and grappling with the fact that many of the issues of racial inequality and injustice from the time of the game remain with us now – nearly 60 Years after the events in the game. “
About the Serious Play Conference: Serious Play is an annual conference that focuses on game-based learning and education. It includes multiple tracks with presentations from experts across the game-based learning arena, including K-12 and higher education, healthcare, worker training, leadership training, and the military. The International Serious Play Award Program highlights successes in serious and educational games in these industries, with judges from professional game studios and academics whose research is in the area of serious game use.
About the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design: The Tesseract Center is a game studio on the University of Arkansas campus that develops serious games and real-time 3D visualizations. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a particular focus of this work. The Tesseract Center offers introductory courses in game design and internships with the aim of preparing students for careers in the areas of user experience and interactive design, digital humanities and data visualization, as well as positions in the games industry itself. Please visit the Tesseract Center website for more information.
About the University of Arkansas: As a flagship institution in Arkansas, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $ 2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy by providing new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activities, and training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation places the U of A in the top 3% of US colleges and universities with the highest research activity. US News & World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. See how the U of A works to create a better world on Arkansas Research News.