Gaming the System

From The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning

Gaming the System

Designing with Gamestar Mechanic

By Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Melissa Gresalfi, Kylie Peppler and Rafi Santo

Foreword by James Paul Gee

Understanding games as systems, with complex interactions of game elements and rules.





Understanding games as systems, with complex interactions of game elements and rules.

Gaming the System demonstrates the nature of games as systems, how game designers need to think in terms of complex interactions of game elements and rules, and how to identify systems concepts in the design process. The activities use Gamestar Mechanic, an online game design environment with a systems thinking focus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262027816 304 pp. | 8 in x 9 in 130 color illus., 27 tables


James Paul Gee.


  • Young people growing up today will surely be called upon to address thorny problems that cut across global, interconnected systems: the environment, the economy, the global infrastructure. Few skills will be more important than the capacity to see, understand, and innovate systems. The Interconnections collection, created through a collaboration among scholars, curriculum developers, and teachers across the National Writing Project, provides approaches to teaching systems thinking through activities that also build literacy and support Common Core Standards and career-readiness. This 'both-and' approach is a demonstration of what forward-looking curriculum must be in a digital age.

    Elyse Eidman-Aadahl

    Executive Director, National Writing Project, University of California, Berkeley

  • The books in this collection offer wonderful activities for engaging young people in new ways of making, helping them learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. But even more important, they engage young people in new ways of seeing, helping them develop new perspectives for understanding the world—and understanding themselves.

    Mitchel Resnick

    LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, and Director, Lifelong Kindergarten group, MIT Media Lab