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. Mar. 5, 2019Watch Now: Sagan Yee's Brown Bag Talk

    Sagan Yee, Executive Director of the Hand Eye Society, joined us Monday, March 4 to give a talk about playful media and experimental game design.

  2. Feb. 28, 2019Rina Wehbe and Siyavash Izadi among top entries for NSERC Science, Action! contest

    Games Institute members Rina Wehbe and Siyavash Izadi are among the top entries in the NSERC Science, Action! video contest.

    The 25 videos with the most views by March 27 will proceed to the judges’ panel, where they will compete for one of 15 prizes. Join us in supporting Rina and Siyavash by watching their videos between February 27 to March 27 so that they can continue to advance in the competition and share their research with the world.

  3. Feb. 28, 2019GI Members Diana Moreno, Tina Chan, and Dr. Jennifer Roberts-Smith present at the W3 Represents Symposium

    Games Institute members Diana Moreno Ojeda, Tina Chan, and Dr. Jennifer Roberts-Smith were among the presenters at the first ever W3 REPRESENTS: A Research Symposium hosted at UWaterloo by Waterloo Women Wednesdays (W3).

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  1. Mar. 19, 2019Multidisciplinary Panel with Dr. Lennart Nacke and Dr. Gerald Voorhees: Insomniac's Spider-Man (2018)

    Event Description

    For the first time in Games Institute history, we’re bringing together two professors with different research backgrounds to have a collaborative discussion about a game: Insomniac’s Spider-man (2018). Dr. Lennart Nacke is an Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Dr. Gerald Voorhees is an Assistant Professor of Communication Arts. Both professors have research interests in the study of games, yet they very in their focus and methodological approach. Dr. Nacke is a Games User Research scientist and teaches User Experience, Human-Computer Interaction, and Game Design; Dr. Voorhees is a scholar of Communication and Critical-Cultural studies and teaches about Race, Gender, and Identity in mediated public communication.

All upcoming events
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Jan. 14, 2019Spotlight on the GI members at Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS) 2018

    Several members of the Games Institute and the UW Touchlab participated in the 13th annual ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces & Spaces (ISS) in Tokyo, Japan from November 25-28, 2018. The research they presented ranged from work on multi-touch surfaces and interactive 3D spaces to optimizing how health care providers collect feedback from patients.

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IMMERSe Network

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Participate in Our Research

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

professor headshot

Jennifer Whitson

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Legal Studies

Jennifer Whitson is the Research Advisor for Execution Labs, an accelerator and investment platform for indie game studios, as well as an affiliated faculty member with the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre  (TAG) at Concordia University.

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