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In this episode, host Robby Ratan speaks with Dr. Kelly Tran, a professional game designer and researcher working on a game to improve players’ social and emotional learning. She discusses her transition from academia to industry, the importance of aligning game mechanics with the impactful (or “serious”) intent of the game, the value of games as t…
 
This week host Robby Ratan had a truly enlightening conversation with Dr. Sarah Hays, a practicing clinician who uses video games and avatars in the therapy she provides to her clients. She also works at Take This and Queer Women of Esports. The two discuss the Geek Therapeutics movement (super cool idea Robby had never heard of), the exciting pote…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan speaks with Dr. Jorge Peña, associate professor at the University of California, Davis. They cover themes in "Westworld," "Black Mirror" and countless video games. And relate the themes to his research on a virtual recreation of the Milgram shock experiments, a study on how avatar identification affects acceptance …
 
In this episode host Robby Ratan speaks with Cecilia D'Anastasio, the games journalist at WIRED. They talk about her writing on identity exploration through avatars, the potential for video games to foster empowerment of marginalized communities and skepticism about the vision of the Metaverse being touted by CEOs. To wrap up, they geek out about t…
 
In this episode, Dr. Edward Downs describes his research applying the MAIN (Modality, Agency, Interactivity, & Navigation) Model to learning in virtual reality, connects these concepts to themes from "Ready Player One," discusses some concerns about using “moral panic” too loosely, asks host Robby Ratan a question about the origins of digital avata…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan and Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn discuss the concept of the Metaverse, the Korean Netflix original “Memories of Alhambra,” and how both relate to her 10+ years of research on virtual/mixed reality (VR/XR.) Ahn describes her amazing research lab where she can run experiments with 10 simultaneous participants in VR, her N…
 
In this episode, Dr. Andrea Stephenson Won and host, Robby Ratan, analyze the film Pacific Rim (SPOILERS!) as it relates to her research in the Virtual Embodiment Lab at Cornell. We discuss the idea of many-to-one avatars (e.g., two-pilot Jaegers,) the psychological effect of proximity perceptions (e.g., does it matter if the pilot is in a mech or …
 
In this episode, Dr. Maxwell Foxman discusses the connections between his interest in history, journalism and game studies. We dive into his early research, Foursquare (OMG he still uses it!) and his approach to helping journalists understand how to present stories on media (e.g., virtual world use during the pandemic). He explains why virtual real…
 
This week’s guest, Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz, talks about his path from philosophy and avant-garde art, to developing absurdist virtual reality games, to becoming an assistant professor preparing future generations to abstract upon his footsteps. Links to media featured in the interview: https://liszkiewicz.info/projects/Scan.html https://www.youtu…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan has a chat with Dr. Casey O'Donnell, a game developer and associate professor at Michigan State University. They chat about Casey's background in science and technology research, game development, MSU's top-ranked game design program for undergrad and professional students, serious games, and -- of course -- avatar…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan has a conversation with Ryan Feldman, the senior unity developer XR specialist for Immersed, about his work on a virtual reality office space for at home workers. Immersed is a virtual reality company developing technologies to make a productive workspace in virtual reality. About this week's guest: Ryan Feldman is…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan talks with the Clinical Director of Take This, Raffael Boccamazzo (Dr. B,) about working to destigmatize mental health in the gaming industry and community and providing support for those who need it. About this week's guest: Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo is a doctor of psychology and the clinical director of Take This, a…
 
In this episode host, Robby Ratan, speaks with the CEO of WOLF3D, Timmu Tõke, about their avatar platform Ready Player Me and their vision to support avatars across multiple platforms from desktop games to virtual reality to video conferences for business meetings. About this week's guest: Timmu Tõke is the CEO and co-founder of WOLF3D. The company…
 
This week host Robby Ratan speaks with his dad, Dr. Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, about his perspective on avatars. They also cover his more than three decades in communications at companies like Bell Labs/AT&T, VocalTec and YellowPages. About this week's guest: Dr. Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan spent over three decades in communications. He worked at companies lik…
 
In this episode, host Robby Ratan and master's student Anna Praetorius talk in-depth about the Proteus Effect and research around avatars. About this week's guest: Anna Praetorius is the first author of "How Avatars Influence User Behavior: A Review on the Proteus Effect in Virtual Environments and Video Games," and a master's student at Reutlingen…
 
In this episode, Jeremy Whiting, general manager of Michigan State University's student-run radio station, Impact 89FM, talks about his radio journey, running a college radio station and creating impactful audio work. About this week's guest: Jeremy Whiting is the general manager at Impact 89FM, Michigan State University's student-run radio station…
 
In this episode, host Dr. Robby Ratan talks all things SPARTIE-Cast while reviewing the first nine episodes and alluding to what's to come. About the SPARTIE Lab: The Social and Psychological Approaches to Research on Technology-Interaction Effects (SPARTIE) Lab performs research on the effects of human-technology interaction, examining how the use…
 
This week is an informative conversation with Domna Banakou on her research trajectory, the Event lab, and the future of avatar research. About this week's guest Domna Banakou is a researcher at the EVENT-LAB in Barcelona. Her research focuses on virtual environments, with a specific focus on how “body ownership illusions” affect people’s perceptio…
 
This week Dr. Robby Ratan speaks with Scott Galloway, a New York University Stern Professor of Marketing, founder of the business ed startup, Section4, author of "THE FOUR, THE ALGEBRA OF HAPPINESS" and "Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity," blogger of "No Mercy / No Malice" and the host of the podcast the "Prof G Show." He’s also been Ratan's …
 
We are excited to dedicate this episode to two students who have been working with the SPARTIE Lab for most of their time at Michigan State University. In this episode, they discuss some of their lab experiences and what they expect in their future careers. About this week’s guests: Ann Desrochers is a student and Alumni Distinguished Scholar at Mi…
 
This week, host, Dr. Robby Ratan, performs a rap he wrote for the March for Science in Lansing a few years back as part of a small band (He plays the saxophone). They were kind enough to allow me to insert a nerdy rap into "When the Saints Go Marching." About the SPARTIE Lab: The Social and Psychological Approaches to Research on Technology-Interac…
 
Host, Dr. Robby Ratan, decided to switch things up and record a rap (which he sometimes does at the end of research talks) for the podcast. He wrote this Proteus effect rap while on sabbatical in 2019 in Singapore. Shout out to Nanyang Technological University and his many awesome colleagues there for helping his creative juice flow. About the SPAR…
 
In this episode, Dr. Stephanie Buisine chats about her research on the Proteus effect, touching on a study that shows inventor-like avatars (versus street-clothes avatars) lead to more creativity in a brainstorming task ...a personal favorite! About this week’s guest: Dr. Stephanie Buisine is a Research Director at CESI Graduate School of Engineeri…
 
This week, Dr. Robby Ratan speaks with his esteemed guest, Dr. Sonny Rosenthal, about Rosenthal’s research on live composite video lectures, touching on his recent publication on the topic and offering insight into current and planned studies. About this week’s guest: Dr. Sonny Rosenthal, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Wee Kim Wee School o…
 
Dr. Rabindra Ratan speaks with his guests, Dr. Dmitri Williams & Dr. Mia Consalvo, about the history, present, and future of game studies within the current academic and socio-political climates. About this week's guests: Dr. Dmitri Williams, Ph.D., is an associate professor at USC Annenberg, where he teaches courses on technology and society, game…
 
In the inaugural episode of the SPARTIE-Cast, Dr. Rabindra Ratan speaks with guest, Dr. Rachel Kowert, about the origins and toxic behaviors in gaming communities: harassment, bullying and gatekeeping, among others. They discuss the social and political ramifications of such behaviors, as well as potential remedies that could be pursued through ind…
 
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