Our Research

The Games Institute (GI) is concerned with the entire research process as a continuum with publication only one stage along the line. All stages in the process are conducted by human beings doing their work in the contexts of all aspects of their jobs, their lives, their collaborators and teams, and the societies and cultures in which they live and their research will impact. The GI is about the researcher, with a holistic view of how research works and how researchers make it happen. To this end, traditional outputs of university research – conference talks, journal articles, scholarly books, etc. – are valued and yet equally valued are the implementation of collaborative projects, the management of research teams, the applications for funding whether or not the funding is granted, and the following through of research results to determine how they might affect audiences both inside and outside the academy. 

The focus is on the full research process and, with it, the stories that emerge from this process—valuing innovation and thinking outside the box in both research and its dissemination. The GI places major importance on the well-being of its members with the ultimate goal that they feel welcome, they are treated well, and as an Institute learn from them and their experiences. Researchers guide the GI, and it’s the Institute’s goal to provide the best possible environment – physically, socially, and culturally – for their work. 

The GI Research Direction 

GI Research Clusters GraphicThe GI promotes and supports interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and collaborative research to understand, design, enhance and solve problems through games, game-driven technologies, interactive immersive technologies and experiences. Over the past five years, research has coalesced around three broad clusters:  

  1. Game and Interactive Media Studies;

  2. Game and Interaction Science; and

  3. Interactive Media for Understanding.  

The GI’s researchers work within these major clusters. While these clusters, on the surface, focus on either the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) or the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) clusters, the interdisciplinary basis of the GI has seen each cluster welcome members from any discipline as their research interests coincide. Found below is a select few of GI member projects to highlight how their work contributes to these three clusters.

Game and Interactive Media Studies

Value Breakdown for Game and Interaction Media Studies

Game and Interactive Media Studies covers a range of sub-disciplines which in themselves have developed as constellations of disciplinary focuses largely in the humanities and social sciences. This cluster incorporates game studies, primarily a humanities-based exploration of games and game culture, with digital media studies, a set of linked areas driven primarily by exploring digital interactions, our current media landscape, and media interventions. This cluster also examines the ever-increasing range of issues surrounding art, culture, and human behaviour.

Game and Interaction Science

Value Breakdown for Game  & Interaction Science

Game and Interaction Science covers research largely in STEM and Health disciplines but is often complemented by the social sciences and the humanities. This cluster studies the multimodal and multisensory means players use to interact with their games and how viewers of virtual reality, augmented reality, and other interactive immersive media engage with their virtual experiences. This cluster also looks at feminist principles in design and how technology should be evolving with equity, diversity, and inclusion at the forefront. It also studies in part player accessibility while understanding user interactions with technology and human behaviour. 

Interactive Media for Understanding

Value Breakdown for Interactive Media for Understanding

Interactive Media for Understanding is a cluster derived from the concept of serious games and expanded to include game-driven simulations in any immersive media. The GI was created in part because of the belief among the founders that games can teach. This cluster requires strong interdisciplinary collaboration, and, in a very real sense, draws together the two clusters described above. This focuses on games and immersive, interactive media to understand the learning potential of these projects moving beyond screens for entertainment alone.