Chimeria: Gatekeeper

Developed using the Chimeria platform, Gatekeeper is an online game that models a common role-playing-game scenario—a player trying to gain access to a castle. While this fantasy scenario may seem far removed from physical-world experiences, it is a useful metaphor for getting past the many gatekeepers encountered in real life—for example by managing the impression one gives others when faced with sexism and racism on the job.

Such experiences are common in the everyday lives of many people. In the United States, speakers of Southern dialects of English have described needing to change their speech patterns to suitably impress an employer, and women in business and politics have described the pressure to de-emphasize stereotypically “feminine” characteristics to advance and avoid harassment in the workplace.

Gatekeeper simulates this phenomenon of impression management; for instance, players may choose to perform the identity associated with their own clan or pass as a member of another in order to gain admission to the castle.


Image courtesy of: D. Fox Harrell.
Screenshot of Gatekeeper.
Image courtesy of: D. Fox Harrell.


Project lead:
D. Fox Harrell, Professor of Digital Media and Artificial Intelligence, Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W) and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT; Director, Center for Advanced Virtuality, MIT

Dominic Kao, PhD Alumnus, CSAIL, MIT
Chong-U Lim, PhD Alumnus, CSAIL, MIT
Jason Lipshin, SM Alumnus, CMS, MIT
Ainsley Sutherland, SM Alumna, CMS, MIT

Launched: 2014

On view: Experience the project online at the ICE Lab website


More information

MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality
Hyperrhiz Issue 21: A Tale of Computing and Gatekeeping
The Chimeria Platform: An Intelligent Narrative System for Modeling Social Identity-Related Experiences


Using gameplay to explore identity