Game Design Praxiology Group

During the last two decades, I have been working with various wonderful and talented people in academia and industry. My current team, Game Design Praxiology Group is dedicated in advancing praxiologically critical perspectives in game studies and further the discussion between game scholars and the practitioners of play.

Members of the Game Design Praxiology Group:

Dr. Annakaisa Kultima, Aalto University

Dr. Annakaisa Kultima has led several academic and industry projects and teams throughout the past two decades. Kultima is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. She has been publishing over 80 academic papers on game design, industry trends and development cultures since 2006. She has been teaching and studying game design and development in several universities in Finland and Sweden as well as touring as a visiting lecturer around the world including universities in the US, China, Denmark, South Korea and Japan. Her research is concentrating on game development cultures, creativity, game industry trends, and game jams. Kultima is an active member of the game ecosystem in Finland and internationally: she is working as a judge in several game competitions, running game jams as well as curating exhibitions on games. She is also a member of the founding team of The Finnish Museum of Games, CEO of MurMurious company working on playful spaces, products and services, and the co-founder of non-profit organization Finnish Game Jam advocating the game making hobby and indie cultures in Finland.

Dr. Ylva Grufstedt, Aalto University

Ylva is a postdoctoral researcher at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media and Art, and a Senior Lecturer at Malmö University. Ylva has been working on various game research projects with the focus on game design, educational games and historical representations in games. Ylva’s dissertation topic was in historical games studies and focused on game design practices and counterfactual history in digital strategy games. Ylva is interested on the epistemic intersection of history, historians, and game design practice and she teaches in courses on history, methods and theory, and digital humanities. She graduated in 2020 as a Doctor of Philosophy from University of Helsinki. Ylva graduated from Åbo Akademi University in 2011 as Bachelor of Arts in Nordic history and from University of Lund in 2013 as Master of Arts in historical sciences. Ylva has also worked at Ubisoft Massive Entertainment in quality assessment.

PhD Student Solip Park, Aalto University

Solip is a doctoral student at Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture – Department of Media, with her current research interest is focused on digital game production, work culture, and immigrants/expats. Solip have two master degree: one from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA (Master of Entertainment Technology), and Aalto University in Finland (Master of Arts). She have also co-authored several books and reports introducing Finnish startup ecosystems to Korean entrepreneurs and investors.
Solip is also the author and artist of “Game Expats Story” comic series, while currently acting as a member of the board and Graphics/Arts Team Lead at Finnish Game Jam Ry and Korean Student Association in Finland. She is also working with the Embassy of Republic of Korea (South) in Finland, leading their “Kor-Fin Esports Festival” and “Kor-Fin Special Game Week” projects – connecting game devs in Finland and South Korea. Prior to her academic career, Solip worked at game companies and startup scenes in the USA, South Korea, and Finland, focusing on project management, event coordination, and international relations. Solip was once the first South Korean to acquire Finland’s startup entrepreneur residence permit in 2018. She was one of the founding members of Nexon Computer Museum – the first permanent museum in East Asia dedicated to the history of computer and video games, located in South Korea.

Researcher Ville Kankainen, Aalto University/Tampere University

Ville is a doctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere University, and a researcher at the Aalto University Department of Arts and Media. His research interests include hybrid play, tabletop games, (game) design research, post-digital culture, game jams, and game-based learning. In his dissertation Ville is studying hybrid experiences in contemporary tabletop game culture. Ville has published several games, including board game on a famous tv-show Duudsonit. He has authored several research articles on different topics of game studies, in addition to teaching games and design in multiple academic courses. Ville was the main organizer for Ropecon Academic Seminar during 2018-2021, and has been a board member of Finnish Game Jam since 2017, in addition to being a co-founder of Murmurious oy, a company behind the playful interactive seats MurMurs.

PhD Student Laura Piispanen, Aalto University

Laura is a quantum physicist and game developer whose research is conducted between the Computer Science and Applied Physics departments at the Aalto University School of Science. She is exploring the use of interactive art, such as playful installations and games, in order to solve and explore active research problems in the framework of quantum technologies. Laura is particularly intrigued by the development process of quantum physics-related games (quantum games) and the ways in which games may be developed to both communicate quantum physical phenomena and also aid in the study of quantum sciences. Laura’s aim is to identify design constraints and to deepen the understanding of the design process of quantum games. For some years she has been organising events like Quantum Game Jam, where quantum games are developed over the course of a weekend, and Fun in Theory, which introduces theoretical physics studies to new physics and maths students. Through these experiences Laura has learnt how best to introduce quantum physics to people and help them connect quantum physics to their projects in a meaningful way. In her research, Laura is also interested in identifying the ways in which art and visualisation can be used to communicate quantum physics and possibly make quantum physical phenomena more tangible for all of us. This translates to projects like QMoss, an outdoor art installation discussing biodiversity, bio-materials, sustainability and quantum technologies through wood construction and moss. Laura earned her Master of Science in theoretical physics from the University of Waterloo, through the Perimeter Scholars International program; completed pedagogical studies at the University of Turku; studied quantum foundations in the research group of Turku Quantum Technology and she is also a computer science master student majoring in game design at the University of Turku.

PhD Student Edward Morrell, Aalto University

Edward Morrell is a doctoral student in the Department of Media and Art at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. His research explores speculative approaches to videogames, utilising design fiction and (pre-/post-)production art to further explore games as art alongside experimental game design and asset creation. He holds an MSc in Internet and Game Studies and a BA in Design for Digital Media, and works as an independent artist, freelance designer and fictional developer.

PhD Student Heikka Valja, Aalto University

Heikka Valja is an art educator, designer and a researcher conducting his research in the field of art and art education. His research interests include games and pragmatist aesthetics, game design education and game art and he is fascinated by all kinds of games and game-like activities, digital and non-digital. Heikka is the head of games program in Helsinki Vocational College where he teaches game art and design and works as the WorldSkills expert for 3D digital game art. He has taught graphic technology, digital art, and game design in Aalto University from 2009.

Miikka Junnila, Aalto University

Miikka works as a lecturer at the Department of Art and Media at Aalto University leading the master’s level game design and development major. Miikka graduated from Helsinki University as a Master of Science in Computer Science in 2006 and as a Master of Arts in New Media from University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2007 and worked as a lead game designer at Ironstar Helsinki, designing experimental social F2P mobile games before it was cool. Alongside the teaching, Miikka game jams occasionally and has done some freelance game writing/narrative design. Miikka’s research interests include game mechanics, thematization and genres.

Alumni of the Game Design Praxiology Group:

Designer, Joaquin Rossi

Designer / Resarcher, Christina Lassheikki

Programmer, Teemu Kokkonen

Designer, Noora Heiskanen