Welcome to the Games Institute!

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



Major Events

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

Game Jam Fall 2016 logo


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Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm-9pm, UW Game Dev Club meets at the GI! This is your opportunity to hang out with local game developers in a more casual atmosphere. Show off your latest projects, receive valuable play-testing feedback from like-minded peers, learn new tools and techniques, and networking with potential collaborators.


What is the importance of play in developing critical thinking and digital literacy skills?

The Games Institute hosted a panel discussion entitled Playful Thinking: A Conversation on Games, Learning, and Literacy on Monday, October 31st from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. This panel of experts, all of which are games scholars, discussed the ways in which games and play in the 21stcentury are implicated by social, political, cultural, and pedagogical components.

If you weren't able to view the livestream, here is a link to the recording of the panel: 

The Games Institute at UWaterloo and Why We Need It

Our very own Neil Randall, Director of The Games Institute has been featured in the UWaterloo Alumni blog. 

The Games Institute officially came into being in June 2011. Those of us who collaborated to put it together, of whom Drs. Karen Collins (Drama & Speech Communications), Stacey Scott (Systems Design Engineering), and I (English) were the first members, decided we needed a formal research centre if we wanted to push the study of games to the forefront, and to make sure that we were engaging all the departments and faculties that we needed to get involved. Games, by their very nature, are multidisciplinary creations, and whenever we discussed what games could become we knew that we needed research and creativity from essentially all disciplines. 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.

Read more about his views on gaming and how he believes games can help us on the Alumni Blog.

Featured Videos

  1. Apr. 13, 2018Stitch Media Game developed in partnership with GI reserachers part of Project ZanzibarRival Books of Aster logo

    Rival Books of Aster, a game developed by Stitch Media in collaboration with Games Institute researchers Adam Bradley (English) and Jonathan Rodriguez (Computer Science), has been selected to work with one of the earliest prototypes of Project Zanzibar revealed

  2. Mar. 16, 2018Using Virtual Reality To Help Older Adults

    As a Master’s candidate in Systems Design Engineering, and researcher at the Games Institute, Mahzar Eisapour teamed up with the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and exercise therapist Laura Domenicucci to design an alternate world for people with dementia.

  3. Jan. 31, 2018The Games Institute Exhibit at THEMUSEUMINTERPLAY Exhibit Title Wall at THEMUSEUM

    The exhibit “INTERPLAY: Thinking Through Games” launches at THEMUSEUM on Friday, January 26, 2018-Thursday, May 10, 2018.

Read all news
  1. May 22, 2018Waterloo Game Jam (Spring 2018) - LEARN!Spring 2018 Game Jam poster

    Come out on Tuesday, May 22nd OR Thursday, May 24th  from 5 - 9 PM to learn the starter skills and the team spirit needed to be a strong competitor for the GI Game Jams and to work in the game industry.

    Taught by the Jam veterans and indie game devs of UW Game Dev Club. 

  2. May 24, 2018Waterloo Game Jam (Spring 2018) - LEARN!Spring 2018 GI Jam Poster

    Come out on Tuesday, May 22nd OR Thursday, May 24th from 5- 9 PM to learn the starter skills and the team spirit needed to be a strong competitor for the GI Game Jams and to work in the game industry.

    Taught by the Jam veterans and indie game devs of UW Game Dev Club. 

  3. May 25 to 27, 2018Waterloo Game Jam (Spring 2018) - MAKE!Spring 2018 Game Jam poster

    This event is an opportunity to MAKE games, explore new game ideas, and interact with fellow game-lovers in an exciting and relaxed environment. Learn something, teach something, make something, and play something!

All upcoming events

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Meet our people

Isabel Pedersen

Isabel Pedersen*

Associate Professor, Communication Studies, UOIT

Dr. Isabel Pedersen, Director of the Decimal Lab at UOIT and Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media, and Culture, studies the societal impact of human-computer interaction.

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