Welcome to the Games Institute

The Games Institute (GI) is a multidisciplinary research centre at the University of Waterloo focused on the study of games, gamification, interactive technologies and immersive environments (AR/VR).

allergies and allegories

kitchen table

places please


reading garden

quantum cats

above water


rival books

rival books of aster

hustle and flow

First Person Scholar

Weekly critical essays, commentaries, and book reviews on games. 


GI Jam

A thrice-annual, multi-day event hosted by The Games Institute (GI). Each of the events are open to the public and are designed to appeal to a wide variety of playful people.

Game Jam Fall 2016 logo

Game Dev Club

controller image

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm-9pm at the GI.

This is your opportunity to meet and collaborate with local game developers in a casual atmosphere.

Show off your latest projects, receive valuable play-testing feedback from like-minded peers, learn new tools and techniques, and network with potential collaborators.


The future of games will rely on new technologies and new ways of interacting with those technologies, but it will also rely heavily on psychological and sociological understandings of what we do when we play, on stories and narratives that reach far beyond what today’s games offer, and on extensive work in a wide range of fields, from health to education, into how games can guide us, change us, and help us.


- Dr. Neil Randall, Director of the Games Institute

  1. May 23, 2019Justin Carpenter in the GRADventure Blog discussing interdisciplinary debate

    Justin Carpenter, GI member and English PhD candidate, was featured in the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs blog this week recapping his GRADtalk from May 2017.

    Last year, Carpenter was a co-speaker (alongside Audrey Chung, Systems Design Engineering PhD student) at "Beyond 60: The Promises and Realities of Artificial Intelligence" where he shared insights about AI driven by his unique research perspective.

  2. May 22, 2019Gada Jane leads iLunch session "Positioning Within the Global VR Industry"

    Gada Jane, Creative Director of Velvet Icons Productions and Research Associate at the GI, will be leading an iLunch session for Interactive Ontario called "Positioning Within the Global VR Industry" on May 28. She will discuss diverse approaches to creating, funding, and distributing Virtual Reality (VR) content worldwide.

  3. May 13, 2019Congratulations Dr. John Harris!

    John Harris successfully defended his Computer Science PhD thesis on April 30th, 2019 - the Games Institute would like to extend a loud and proud congratulations to Dr. Harris!

    Dr. Harris has been a member of the Games Institute since Fall term 2013, studying asymmetric games as a means of promoting inclusiveness and getting more kinds of people playing together. Check out the YouTube video below to see Dr. Harris present a summative discussion of his PhD research:

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  1. May 1, 2019GI English Students and Faculty at the CML's "Infrastructure at Play" Showcase

    The Critical Media Lab (CRIME Lab), directed by Marcel O'Gorman, hosted a Research Showcase on April 3, 2019 entitled "Infrastructure at Play". At the showcase, GI faculty member Lai-Tze Fan and GI English Graduate student members AC Atienza, Lillian A.

  2. Mar. 5, 2019Recap: GI Global Game Jam Winter 2019

    The Games Insititute (GI) Game Jam takes place every term. But, once a year, the event becomes a part of something larger: every Winter, the GI Game Jam becomes a satelite event for the internationally renowned Global Game Jam.

  3. Jan. 22, 2019Spotlight on Games Institute members at GRADflix

    Fall 2018, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs launched the first ever GRADflix competition. Graduate students were invited to create a 60-second video, moving slide show, or animation about their research. Entries were judged based on communication, creativity and visual impact, and technical quality.

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IMMERSe Network

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Meet our people

Ian Milligan

Ian Milligan

Associate Professor, Department of History

Ian Milligan is a digital and Canadian historian. He’s currently exploring how historians can fruitfully use web archives and other large digital repositories. 

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