Yifat Shaik is an assistant professor in the Department of Computational Arts in York University and a game developer whose focus is on creating personal autobiographical work and the use of systems, data, and game mechanics in social interaction and political activism.
Shaik’s work explores the way “play” can become a powerful way to talk about and examine social structures, especially using mechanics as the primary tools of subverting the meaning of well-established video game systems. As an independent game developer, she is currently working on several projects, including: Real Army Simulator, an anti-militarization game about the mundanity of military service; the Mattress of St. Dundas, a game about gentrification in Toronto (funded by Ontario Creates); and the Engine is the Message, a series of small experimental games that are done in nontraditional game engines.
Since 2014, Shaik has been working as an instructor and course director in institutions including OCAD University, Sheridan College and the Toronto Public Library, and since 2016 she has been a course director in York University’s Computational Arts program. She is co-director of Dames Making Games Toronto, a member of the Different Games Collective and was head organizer of the Different Games Toronto conference in 2017.