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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).

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 14, 2020WatCHI 2020 Virtual Event May 19 featuring UWHCI Presentations

    Join us online on May 19th to support the UW Touchlab and HCI Games Group at their mini CHI event, WatCHI 2020

    Due to CHI 2020's cancelation - one of the biggest Human-Computer Interaction conferences of the year - the HCI research groups at the GI and Waterloo have taken it upon themselves to host a virtual event.

  2. May 11, 2020Morgan McGuire reveals new game, "Across the Lake"
    Across the lake art
    GI faculty member Morgan McGuire, Adjunct Professor for the Cheriton School of Computer Science, shares "Across the Lake" - a 2D infinite runner game described as:

    A cozy, chill game about a stone skipping across a lake.

  3. May 5, 2020Kristina Llewellyn in Waterloo Stories discussing Equity in education during COVID-19

    Kristina Llewellyn, GI faculty member and Social Development Studies professor, was featured by Waterloo Stories in a Question and Answer article about issues surrounding equity in education as schools transition online during COVID-19.

    The article shows Llewellyn responding to questions about the impact of physical distancing for different students and teachers, as well as parent concerns about grading.

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  1. May 22, 2020Dr. Shana MacDonald talks social media and our quarantine life

    Dr. Shana MacDonald, Communication Arts professor and SSHRC-funded intersectional feminist media researcher, gave a talk as part of the “COVID-19: Ask our Experts” lecture series, hosted by the University of Waterloo. The focus of MacDonald’s talk revolved around social media during the pandemic: how are people using social media to combat loneliness? how is news traveling? and how can we make the internet a more positive place for people?

  2. Feb. 25, 2020The GI Jam inspires new research directions for Prof Oliver Schneider
    Block quote

    “I wasn’t really planning any game in particular,” says Oliver Schneider, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Sciences, “I just knew I wanted to check out the Game Jam since I’ve seen how important it is to the GI culture".

  3. Feb. 19, 2020We teamed up with Concept by Velocity to deliver a Knowledge Translation Workshop
    Games Institute banner at Concept by Velocity KT Workshop

    Marisa Benjamin, the GI's Research Communications Officer, and Eric Blondeel, Co-Founder of ExVivo Labs, teamed up to design and deliver a Knowledge Translation Workshop for the Concept by Velocity Graduate Student S

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First Person Scholar

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


GI Jam

Game Jam Fall 2016 logoA 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 Dev Club

controller imageEvery 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.

Meet our people

Michael Barnett Cowan

Michael Barnett-Cowan

Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Dr. Michael Barnett-Cowan is an Associate Professor for the Kinesiology Department, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, at the University of Waterloo.

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