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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

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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. Nov. 16, 2018Caroline Wong at the Inter-University Workshop (IUW): Interacting with data through touch-enabled systems

    Caroline Wong will be presenting a poster at IUW, 2018 at the University of Toronto. Wong is a Master's student of Management Sciences studying the benefits of touch-enabled systems that improve our interaction with large datasets.

    Wong argues that making data visualization tools touch-enabled can make personal data more meaningful and accessible to non-experts rather than technologies that only allow for point-and-click.

  2. Nov. 15, 2018Marco Moran-Ledesma on 3D Printing in VR at the Inter-University Workshop (IUW)

    Marco Moran-Ledesma, a System Design Engineering Master's student, will be presenting a poster at the Inter-University Workshop (IUW) at the University of Toronto, Nov. 17. In this poster, he outlines his preliminary research on a system he proposes to improve the VR experience.

  3. Nov. 12, 2018Multisensory Brain and Cognition lab researchers at the Society for Neuroscience 2018 conference

    Multisensory Brain and Cognition (MBC) lab researchers Michael Barnett-Cowan, Séamas Weech, and Sophie Kenny went to the Society for Neuroscience 2018 conference that took place in San Diego, November 3-7, 2018.

    Sophie Kenny, alum of the Games Institute and MBC lab, presented a poster on the effect of narrative on presence and cybersickness in Virtual Reality (VR). The poster reported the findings from a study she co-authored with Seamas Weech and Michael-Barnett Cowan.

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  1. Nov. 20, 2018Brown Bag Talk: Jonathan Enns

    Title: Towards an open architecture

    Speaker: Jonathan Enns, MArch, BAS, Assist. Professor, University of Waterloo

    This event is free and open to all - Refreshments will be provided

  2. Nov. 29, 2018Brown Bag Talk: Eugenie Roudaia

    Design and evaluation of CityQuest, a video game aimed at older adults with fear of falling

    Please join us for this Brown Bag Talk with Eugenie Roudaia, a Scientific Associate at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. The talk will take place at the Games Institute in the Collaboration Space.

    This event is free and open to all.

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  1. Nov. 15, 2018Introducing the GI to Engineering Exchange Students from MexicoTaheera introducing the GEAR group to the collaboration space

    How can games guide us, change us, and help us?

    This was the question that left me speechless, simply because I wasn’t sure where to begin or even how to fully answer it. The question was the first of many posed by an eager group of Mexican exchange students visiting the GI.

  2. Nov. 5, 2018Lindsay Meaning on analyzing game adaptations of literary works

    Lindsay Meaning gave a Brown Bag talk on the process of adapting a literary text into a video game on Tuesday, October 16. Meaning is a second-year English PhD candidate whose research interests include video game adaptations and representations of settler-colonialism and imperial ideologies in roleplaying games.

    According to Meaning, game adaptations are often looked down on - misconceived as "cashing in on a popular franchise". And when game adaptations of literary texts are studied, they are frequently analyzed for how faithful they are to the source material.

  3. Oct. 18, 2018A firsthand account of a non-programmer's experience at the GI Jam

    We sent AC Atienza to the GI Jam, Fall 2018. This is their firsthand account.

    "GI Game Jam as someone who knows absolutely nothing about programming and also went alone" - AC Atienza

    I went to my first game jam this past weekend! Overall it was a really good, fun experience. I went to the Jam alone and before I started I knew absolutely nothing about programming.

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Meet our people

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson

Associate Professor, Optometry and Vison Science

Ben’s background is in visual neuroscience and his research interests relate to the development and plasticity of human visual brain areas.

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