Podcast: Barbie and Mortal Kombat 20 Years Later

Co-hosted with MIT Women’s and Gender Studies, part of its Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat panel discussions.

In Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat, the third edited volume in the series that includes From Barbie to Mortal Kombat and Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat, the authors and contributors expand the discussions on gender, race, and sexuality in gaming. They include intersectional perspectives on the experiences of diverse players, non-players and designers and promote inclusive designs for broadening access and participation in gaming, design and development. Contributors from media studies, gender studies, game studies, educational design, learning sciences, computer science, and game development examine who plays, how they play, where and what they play, why they play (or choose not to play), and with whom they play. This volume further explores how the culture can diversify access, participation and design for more inclusive play and learning.

Yasmin Kafai is Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a researcher and developer of tools, communities, and materials to promote computational participation, crafting, and creativity across K-16. Her recent books include “Connected Gaming: What Making Video Games Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy,” and “Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming,” and edited volumes such as “Textile Messages: Dispatches from the World of Electronic Textiles and Education” and “Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat: Intersectional Perspectives and Inclusive Designs for Gaming.” She coauthored the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan for the US Department of Education. Kafai earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University while working with Seymour Papert at the MIT Media Lab. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and past President of the International Society for the Learning Sciences. Justice Walker and Emma Anderson are doctoral students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gabriela Richard is an Assistant Professor of Learning, Design and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on understanding the intersections between culture, experience, media, and learning, particularly in the areas of online and emerging technologies, including gaming. Her work has focused on understanding the ways that gender, race/ethnicity, and sexuality are defined and experienced in game culture and online gaming in order to inform inclusive and equitable designs for learning with serious games, as well as play and participation with gaming and emerging technology more broadly. She has written extensively about games and learning, as well as youth learning, engagement, and computational thinking with electronic textiles, game design, and online communities. She was an NSF graduate research fellow, an AAUW dissertation fellow, and a Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania.

Vicky Zeamer

About Vicky Zeamer

Vicky Zeamer graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied Media Arts and Sciences (think HCI + design) & American Studies. She was also a cross-registered student at MIT where she took courses and participated in research centered around media technology and interaction design. Vicky’s past work has been largely in user experience design and research, in areas such as advertising and museums. As a design researcher, she is happiest when in the field conducting ethnographies and user interviews. She also gets a rush from synthesizing these findings and extracting design implications of users’ needs, values, and perspectives. Vicky's current research interests circle around personal and cultural relationships with food. More specifically, she is interested in exploring how computing and digital media are changing the way in which users experience food, and therefore exploring how computing is changing the way in which we use food as a tool to form connections and establish deeper understandings of events, people, and places.