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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. Oct. 9, 2018Dr. Ali Mazalek to give a Brown Bag talk on human cognition and computational media

    Dr. Ali Mazalek joins us today to give a Brown Bag talk on human cognition and computational media.

    The talk will be from 1- 2pm in the Games Institute Collaboration space - refreshments will be provided. For more event details, click here.

  2. Oct. 5, 2018Justin Carpenter at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) Conference

    Justin Carpenter, GI resident and First Person Scholar Editor, will be presenting a paper at this year's Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) conference in Toronto, November 15-18. His paper looks at how the games Mountain (2014) and Everything (2017) by Irish artist David OReilly challenge players to reconsider notions of consciousness, things, and nature.

    Carpenter argues that both games are "meditations on games as a medium":

  3. Oct. 1, 2018VR Working Group attracting media attention for their research on Cybersickness

    Séamas Weech, Jessy Varghese, and Michael Barnett-Cowan, members of the VR working group at the Games Institute, co-authored a paper entitled "Estimating the sensorimotor components of cybersickness" published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

    Their results caught the attention of many, many news outlets who were picking the story up and claiming that UW researchers are on the cusp of curing cybersickness. Here are just a few...

Read all news
  1. Oct. 30, 2018Ghouls and Rules, Gourds and Boards: It's Halloween at the GI!Darth and Yoda

    Ghouls and Rules...

    Gourds and Boards...

    Trolls and Rolls...

    Mice and Dice...

    It's Halloween at the GI!

  2. Oct. 30, 2018Brown Bag Talk: Toben Racicot on Dungeons and Dragons in Stranger Things

    Trauma and Demogorgons: Analyzing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in Stranger Things

    Toben Racicot, GI resident and English PhD student, will give a talk in the collaboration space during our Halloween party. Come out to hear Toben talk about how the motif of D&D in Stranger Things informs how role-playing games are an unconventional tool for empowering and preparing players for future trauma.


All upcoming events
  1. Oct. 17, 2018Rina Wehbe at the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) 2018Rina with the WiCS group

    Rina Wehbe, Games Institute resident and Computer Science PhD student, attended and mentored at the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) in Houston, Texas.

  2. Oct. 15, 2018Tina Chan for TEDxUW: Bandaids for Mental Health

    Tina Chan, GI resident and Masters of Science candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, was a speaker at this year's TEDxUW conference. She took the stage to share the story of how she came to develop the Panic Anxiety Stress Support (PASS) kit.

  3. Oct. 10, 2018Docu-video from VR Workshop with Gada Jane and SpiderWebShow Performance

    September 14 and 15, 2018, four playwrights came to the GI for an intensive workshop on VR filmmaking. The workshop was hosted by Gada Jane, Research Associate at the GI, and Michael Wheeler, Co-Creator and Artistic Director of SpiderWebShow Performance.

    The playwrights were Erin Brandenburg, playwright and director, Rosamund Small, playwright and writer, Nicolas Billon, playwright and screenwriter, and Ahmad Meree, playwright and performer.

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Meet our people

Beth Coleman

Beth Coleman

Associate Professor, English Language and Literature

Beth Coleman is co-director of the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo, and participates in the Rhetoric & Professional Writing major as well as the Master of Arts in Experimental Digital Media.

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