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TEDxGallatin - Michael Astolfi - Evolutionary Game Design: Video Games as Supernormal Stimuli

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Uploaded on Aug 24, 2011

Michael T. Astolfi is a game designer, researcher, improviser, and all-around good guy. He holds a B.A. in Evolutionary Psychology from Boston University, and is currently pursuing a Master's in The Design and Psychology of Video Games at New York University. His games have been played as part of the 2010 Come Out & Play Festival, and are available to the public at the NYU Game Center Open Library at the TISCH School of the Arts. His essays have appeared online in the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times. Find out more about Mike at his website, www.michaeltastolfi.com.

The mechanics of many video games take advantage of innate human adaptations shaped long ago by the environment in which our ancient ancestors evolved. This phenomena occurs across many genres, and makes use of a wide range of human instincts studied by the fields of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology. In this talk, Michael examines how some of today's most popular video game take advantage of our subconscious instincts, and how this influences how we are affected by interactive digital media. This topic is particularly relevant today, as the rapid penetration of powerful personal devices is placing games in the hands of increasingly large numbers of new players.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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