Heather Kelley

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Heather Kelley
Heather Kelley in 2012
Heather Kelley in 2012
Pen nameMoboid
OccupationGame designer, writer, media artist
CitizenshipUnited States

Heather Kelley (aka Moboid) is a media artist, writer and video game designer. She is a co-founder of the Kokoromi experimental game collective, with whom she produces and curates the annual Gamma game event promoting experimental games as creative expression in a social context. She regularly appears as a jury member for several computer gaming festivals (such as Indiecade). She is also a frequent public speaker at technology events.

Her career in the games industry has included AAA next-gen console games, interactive smart toys, handheld games and web communities for girls. She has created interactive projections using game engines such as Quake and Unreal.

Heather Kelley was Creative Director on the UNFPA Electronic Game to End Gender Violence, at the Emergent Media Center at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.[1] For seven years, Heather served as co-chair of the IGDA's Women in Game Development Special Interest Group.[2]

In May 2014 she joined the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Teaching Professor.[3]

In 2018, Kelley became the Sensory Director of LIKELIKE Arcade.[4]

In July 2019, Kelley was hosted as the keynote speaker for the Nordic Game Jam[5] after being the keynote speaker in 2009[6] as well.

Project examples[edit]

  • Lapis (2005) Lapis is an interactive art work designed to help teach women how to reach orgasm by simulating the effect of pleasurable sensation on a cartoon bunny.[7][8]
  • Fabulous/Fabuleux (2008) – An experimental art game collaboration with Lynn Hughes. Fabulous/Fabuleux[9] was created at Concordia University's Hexagram Institute and integrates gameplay into a full-body interactive installation using custom "squishy" interface hardware.[10]
  • Body Heat (2010) – Body Heat is a vibrator interface for the iPhone and iPad which allows touchscreens to be used for adjusting vibration speed, intensity, and patterns. The project was first presented at the sex tech conference Arse Elektronika in September 2010 in San Francisco.[11] The company OhMiBod, which specializes in music-driven vibrators, bought the application and renamed it into "OhMiBod app" in early 2011.[12]
  • Joue Le Jeu (2012) – An exhibition at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, France.[13][14] It showcased new forms of games and creative game design. The event was a hands-on exhibition of interactive play.
  • “Trente pas entre terre et ciel: Version Musicale” (2018) – An installation debuted in Toronto, Canada. The project is a long hopscotch, designed to be played by multiple pairs of players at once.[15]
  • Fortuitous Orbits and the Hazards They Contain (2019) – A two-person Exhibition at Arizona State University, ArtSpace West.[16]
  • Housed Within Marrow (2020) – Carnegie Mellon University. Virtual.[17]


Kelley's game concept Lapis, based on female masturbation, won the 2006 MIGS Game Design Challenge.[18]

In Spring 2008, she was Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, and Adjunct Faculty at the Entertainment Technology Center, at Carnegie Mellon University, where she organized The Art of Play symposium and art game arcade.[19]

In September 2009, she was Artist in Residence for Subotron[20] at Quartier21, Museumsquartier Vienna.[21] Her biographical sex game concept with Erin Robinson, Our First Times, won the 2009 GDC Game Design Challenge,[22]

She was part of Fast Company's 2011 list of 'most influential women in technology'. [23]

In March 2013 she was awarded the "GDC 2013 Women in Gaming Award" as "Innovator", granted for breakthrough innovation in her work.[24]

DataBird Business Journal named Kelley in its 2019 list of 250 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs.[25]

Video game credits[edit]

Kelley is credited on the following games:

Film credits[edit]

Kelley co-produced the nerd documentary Traceroute (2016).


Kelley has contributed to the following publications:

  • "'EyeToy Play,' 'Animal Crossing,' 'Wii Sports'" in Space Time Play: Synergies Between Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism. Sub-editor. Borries, Böttger, and Walz, ed., Birkhäuser, Basel, October 2007.[26]
  • On Turtles and Dragons and the Dangerous Quest for a Media Art Notation System. Contributing writer, contributing editor. Time's Up, Linz, 2012.[27]
  • “Proverted Pleasures: Orgasm and Gameplay” in Screw The System: Explorations of Spaces, Games and Politics through Sexuality and Technology. Grenzfurthner, Friesinger, and Fabry, ed., RE/Search Publications, 2014.[28]
  • Social Web and Interaction: Social Media Technologies for European National and Regional Museums. Contributing writer. European Museums Exhibiting Europe. 2014.[29]
  • Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play.  Contributor. Marie, ed. Roseville, CA, Prima Games, 2018.[30]


  1. ^ "Creative Director on the UNFPA Electronic Game to End Gender Violence". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  2. ^ "IGDA's Women in Game Development Special Interest Group". Archived from the original on 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  3. ^ ETC, Carnegie Mellon; official site
  4. ^ Gonzalez, Desi (2018-07-26). "Game Cube: On a New Media Gallery in Pittsburgh". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  5. ^ "Program | NGJ19". 2019-07-09. Archived from the original on 2019-07-09. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  6. ^ "Nordic Game Jam '09". 2009-09-10. Archived from the original on 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  7. ^ "Video game unlocks orgasm secrets", canada.com; December 5, 2005
  8. ^ ""Orgasm: the Ultimate Game ", Heroine Sheik; February 13th, 2006". Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  9. ^ Fabulous/Fabuleux at Paraflows 2010 in Vienna, Austria
  10. ^ "Heather Kelley: Visiting Game Designer". www.concordia.ca. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  11. ^ "The Performant: Dies Arses have it", San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 6, 2010
  12. ^ "Body Heat: sexy iPhone application is now available on the App Store" on monochrom, 2011
  13. ^ "De Nantes à Paris, les jeux sont fête" in Libération, 2012
  14. ^ ""La Gaîté lyrique joue le jeu" on culture.fr, 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  15. ^ Plum, Perfect (2020-10-21). "Trente Pas (Version Musicale)". Perfect Plum. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  16. ^ "Fortuitous Orbits and the Hazards They Contain". ASU Events. 2018-11-29. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  17. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon. "Housed Within Marrow - Center for the Arts in Society - Carnegie Mellon University". www.cmu.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  18. ^ McDonald, Heidi (2017-11-02). Digital Love: Romance and Sexuality in Games. CRC Press. ISBN 9781351644730.
  19. ^ "The Art of Play", Escapist Magazine; 24 June 2008
  20. ^ "Subotron Artist", published by Jogi Neufeld, Subotron
  21. ^ Subotron residency, Heather Kelley
  22. ^ "GDC 2009: Game Design Challenge tackles My First Time", Gamespot; March 25, 2009
  23. ^ ""Heather Kelley - Founder and President, Perfect Plum", published by Fast Company". Archived from the original on 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  24. ^ "GDC 13: Women in Gaming Awards honours developers", published by Develop
  25. ^ "250 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs — DataBird Business Journal". www.databirdjournal.com. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  26. ^ Space time play : computer games, architecture and urbanism : the next level. Friedrich von Borries, Steffen P. Walz, Matthias Böttger, Drew Davidson, Heather Kelley, Julian Kücklich. Basel: Birkhauser. 2007. ISBN 978-3-7643-8415-9. OCLC 302342328.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  27. ^ Boykett, Tim (2013). On turtles and dragons and the dangerous quest for a media art notation system (Ed. version 1.2 ed.). Linz, Austria. ISBN 978-1-300-94360-0. OCLC 925369927.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  28. ^ Screw the system : explorations of spaces, games and politics through sexuality and technology. Johannes Grenzfurthner. San Francisco, Calif.: Re/Search Publ. 2013. ISBN 978-1-889307-31-2. OCLC 865135807.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  29. ^ Eurovision Museums Exhibiting Europe (January 2016). Social web and interaction social media technologies for European national and regional museums. Anika Kronberger, Heather Kelley, Daniel Fabry, Günther Friesinger, Kerstin Halm, Susanne Popp. Vienna, Austria. ISBN 978-3-902796-33-2. OCLC 954269273.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  30. ^ Marie, Meagan (2018). Women in gaming : 100 professionals of play. Indianapolis, IN. ISBN 978-0-7440-1953-7. OCLC 1077268602.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)