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. June 10, 2019John Munoz of the ITWIL Lab showcasing VR Exergames at the Curiosity Fair

    John Muñoz, GI member and Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Intelligent Technologies for Wellness and Independent Living (ITWIL) Lab, showcased the VR Exergames project at the "Curiosity Fair" organized by the Research Institute of Aging and hosted at the Village at University Gates on May 31. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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  1. June 27, 2019MidSummer Mixer
    MidSummer Mixer Poster

    Stuck in Waterloo? Wishing you were on vacation? The GI has you covered. 

    The GI is hosting a "MidSummer Mixer" Thursday, June 27th, in the Collaboration Space!

All upcoming events
  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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Subscribe to our Research Participants Mailing List to hear about opportunities to be a study participant in the work done by The Games Institute researchers!

Meet our people

Leah Zhang-Kennedy

Lecturer, User Experience Research and Design

Leah teaches User Experience Design and Innovation at the University of Waterloo’s Stratford Campus. She joined Waterloo from an interdisciplinary background, bridging design and research from computer science, human-computer interaction, and graphic design. She has four years of industry experience working as a designer.

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