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Here are a few videos and many articles that I have written on game design.


Interested in seeing the escape room that we designed for Red Bull?  You can watch the Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championships that ran in March 2017 in Budapest.

New to Escape Rooms?  Here is an Escape Rooms 101 video that I created:


Here is the talk I put together for the Escape Games Convention 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany about Escape Rooms in North America and design of rooms.


My TedX Syracuse talk on the Gamification Journey

Selected Publications

Recent Articles - 

Nicholson, S. (2018) Creating engaging escape rooms for the classroom. Childhood Education 94(1). 44-49. Available online at

Nicholson, S. (2016). Ask Why: Creating a Better Player Experience Through Environmental Storytelling and Consistency in Escape Room Design. Paper presented at Meaningful Play 2016, Lansing, Michigan.

Nicholson, S. (2016). Emergence or convergence: Exploring the precursors of escape room design. Analog Game Studies 3(5). Available online at

Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper available at

 - An abridged version of this was presented as Nicholson, S. (2016). The State of Escape: Escape Room Design and Facilities. Paper presented at Meaningful Play 2016. Lansing, Michigan.

While not recent, I just got permission to post the chapter from my book, Everyone Plays at the Library, that contains my conceptual model of game experiences that I used to organize my discussion of all types of games.  The model is known as SNAKS - Strategy, Narrative, Action, Knowledge, and Social. 

Nicholson, S. (2010). A conceptual model of the library gaming experience (pp. 21-30). Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Nicholson, S. (2015). A RECIPE for Meaningful Gamification. In Wood, L. & Reiners, T., eds. Gamification in Education and Business, New York: Springer. 1-20. Preprint available online at  Final version available at

Nicholson, S. (2014). Exploring the Endgame of Gamification.  In Fuchs, M., Fizek, S., Ruffino, P. and Schrape, N. (Eds.) Rethinking Gamification. Meson Press: Lüneburg, Germany.  289-303.

Nicholson, S. (2013). Playing in the Past: A History of Games, Toys and Puzzles in North American Libraries. Library Quarterly 83(4), 341-361.

Preprint of Nicholson, S. (2013, June). Exploring Gamification Techniques for Classroom Management. Paper Presented at Games+Learning+Society 9.0, Madison, WI. 

Nicholson, S. (2012, October). Strategies for meaningful gamification: Concepts behind transformative play
and participatory museums
. Presented at Meaningful Play 2012. Lansing, Michigan.

Paper Presented at Games+Learning+Society 8.0, Madison, WI.

 Nicholson, S. (2013). Completing the Experience: Debriefing in Experiential Educational Games. Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics 11(6) 27-31.

Nicholson, S. (2011). Making the Gameplay Matter: Designing Modern Educational Tabletop Games. Knowledge Quest 40(1). 60-65.

Archive of full text articles:  The full text of most of the preprints of articles by Scott Nicholson can be found at . These articles are on Games in Libraries, Education, Data Mining / Bibliomining in Libraries and Big Data in Libraries, and Web Search Tools.

Manuscripts - 

Nicholson, S. (2010). Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages. Published by Information Today. Sample Chapter available.

Online Presentations and Interviews

Scott's YouTube channel is continually updated with content about games, gamification, his research, and board games.  You can find Scott Nicholson's videos at, including all of his videos from his Board Games with Scott series.

Here are some of his talks and presentations that are online:

A RECIPE for Meaningful Gamification (2012).  This online video introduces Nicholson's framework for Meaningful Gamification called RECIPE.  

Gamification in Libraries. (2012) For the Library 2.012 Online conference, Scott Nicholson did a presentation about gamification focused on libraries.

Because Play Matters: A Journey into Transformative Games and Meaningful Gamification. (2012). After returning from his sabbatical, Scott Nicholson gave a talk to the iSchool at Syracuse about what he went through and learned at MIT, and his journey to create the Because Play Matters game lab.

Breaking Up the Monopoly of Modern Board Game Design. (2011)  This was an MIT colloqioum for the Comparative Media Studies Department, hosted by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT game lab. The text from the slides can be found at

Settlers of Catan & the NEW Board Games. (2011). This was Mo Rocca's piece on modern board games shown on CBS Early Morning, with a significant segment with Scott Nicholson

Fun in the Stacks: Games, Gaming, and Gamers in Libraries. (2010).  This was a public talk given at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.

Board Game Publishing. (2010).  This was a guest lecture for an MIT course; CMS 608: Game Design, taught by Philip Tan.

Games in Public Libraries. (2010). This is the transcript of a panel by Scott Nicholson and Liz Danforth given in World of Warcraft for a library conference in New Zealand.

Scott Nicholson (Gaming & Libraries) (2010) This was an interview from This Week in Libraries, filmed in Sweden.

Scott Nicholson on Gaming in Libraries (2009). This interview was from Delft with the Shanachietour video series.

In 2009, Scott Nicholson taught a Gaming in Libraries course through Syracuse University's School of Information Studies.  That month-long course was taught through a 30-video series, all of this is available through