Brains@Play Hosts the Brains and Games Design Fiction Competition

Jason Martinez

The Brains@Play Initiative is a research collective that facilitates workshops and provides resources to encourage the design of brain-responsive multiplayer experiences. Through creative events, the public can become more familiar with technology, develop a critical eye for evaluating technology, and most importantly have fun. The initiative’s goal is to reassure the public that as long as they are excited about these topics, they can participate in the design of society’s newest technologies.

The Brains@Play Initiative is holding the first ever Brains and Games Competition (BGC), which is now open for submission until March 10th and is an international design fiction competition for creatives of all ages to submit brain-responsive multiplayer experiences. The competition is open to people of all experience levels who may be interested in game design, ethics, and neurotechnology. 

To kick off the competition, the Brains@Play Initiative, on February 1st, will host a design fiction workshop about creating a digital game employing brain-to-brain interaction (BBI) technologies, led by Dr. Dimitris Grammenos. Dr. Grammenos is a Principal Researcher at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. He is known for his interactive installations as well as his international workshops focused on creativity and creative thinking. In Greece, there is another student design fiction competition that is already underway and will continue to run during the BGC. Register here for the BGC to be a part of an international community that is designing fun brain-responsive multiplayer experiences! 

If you’re still on the fence about entering the Brains and Games Competition, here are some words of wisdom from one of the initiative’s co-founders Professor Gotsis: “Imagining the future is a good thing to do in this type of situation (COVID).” She adds that for those who don’t know much about neuroscience or game creation, don’t worry about any perceived lack of experience. Just bring your brain and your computer and–if you are looking for teammates to work with–join their Discord here at their website,

The general Brain Games category, sponsored by USC Games, invites newcomers and experienced designers to describe a new multiplayer game which uses brain-to-brain interaction technologies. No programming experience or special hardware is required. 

The VR + Neurotech + Health category, sponsored by the USC SMART-VR Center and Enosis, is for more experienced designers who have prototyping experience; teams will create a VR game that is designed with neurotechnology to improve the health of players.


And finally, the Computational Art category, sponsored by USC Media Arts + Practice and USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, is for those with prototyping experience to create computational art that involves neuroscience, technology, ethics, and consciousness. Awards for all three categories will be given out during Brain Awareness Week in March. 

To cap things off, Brains@Play is also producing a USC Visions and Voices event on March 5th. Livewire: A Stimulating Night of Neurotechnology will feature various notable speakers in the neuroethics field, including Dong Song, co-founder of the Brains@Play initiative and co-director of the USC Center for Neural Engineering. Check it out here

Brains@Play invites you to shape the future of play and neurotechnology. To learn more, visit the Brains and Games Competition site here.