The Stanford community of games and game research related websites.


Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. These talks bring together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.



The mission of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared towards developing new ways to produce these VR simulations.


Lead by Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education, Dan Schwartz, AAALab stands for Awesomely Adaptive and Advanced Learning and Behavior. They create pedagogy, technology, and assessments that prepare students to continue learning and adapting. Our niche is the integration of cognitive science methods with years of classroom and programming experience to create novel and carefully tested technologies and theories of learning. A theme throughout our research is how people’s facility for spatial cognition can inform and influence processes of learning, instruction, assessment, and problem-solving. The AAALab has been primarily supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, MacArthur, Hewlett, and Moore Foundations. It contributes to national panels, as well as advising companies and projects internationally, and it is a member of a NSF-funded Science of Learning Center called LIFE and Stanford’s H-STAR Institute.


SVGA is a community on campus dedicated to providing students with events on all-things-gaming. SVGA hosts quarterly LAN parties, company visits, and is working to bring game design classes to the student body through new courses in early 2018.


Our main goal is to create a space in which people from diverse academic fields and gaming backgrounds can come together to discuss video games in a critical way. Stanford University has many scholars working on games and new media without any official group to organize discussions, share resources, and workshop ideas; we hope to create that space. It is our goal that members not only explore new video games, but that they also become more familiar with theory and critical ideas through the hands-on approach of gaming. In our discussions, we intend to foster interdisciplinary approaches to video gaming—including performance, film, critical theory, and game design—by providing readings and organizing speakers and discussion moderators. Graduate students and faculty from any department interested in discussing gaming with a theoretical approach will be welcome to join.


Online computer game at Stanford University School of Medicine. Eterna is a game portal that allows players to design virtual RNA structures. Eterna most recently hosted a game event challenging players to build an RNA molecule that could simplify the widespread use of a tuberculosis test.

Game Design and related courses at Stanford (Current)

Introduction to Game Design and Development (CS 146)

This project-based course provides an introduction to game design covering topics like 2D/3D Art, Audio, User Interfaces, Production, Narrative Design, Marketing, and Publishing. Speakers from the profession will provide relevant context during a weekly seminar.

Game Studies (FILMSTUD 259/459)

This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be.

Interactive Computer Graphics (CS 248)

This is the second course in the computer graphics sequence, and as such it assumes a strong familiarity with rendering and image creation. As a final project, students implement an interactive video game utilizing various concepts covered in the class. Games may be designed on mobile devices, in a client/server/browser environment, or on a standard personal computer.

Interactive Media and Games (CS 544/BIOE 196)

This seminar series brings together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value, and potential future.

Engineering Education and Online Learning (EDUC 391/ENGR 391)

A project based introduction to web-based learning design. In this course we will explore the evidence and theory behind principles of learning design and game design thinking. Over the course of the quarter, interdisciplinary teams will create a prototype or a functioning piece of educational technology.

Video Game Law (LAW 4029)

This seminar discusses a variety of legal issues raised by video games and game platforms. We will devote substantial attention to intellectual property matters, but will also include business and licensing issues, tort law, the First Amendment, and legal issues presented by virtual reality.

Virtual Realities: Art, Technology, Performance (TAPS 253T)

Contemporary virtual reality extends a long-standing quest to create a fully immersive, multisensory environment, a quest that may go back to the earliest cave paintings and includes such projects as cathedrals, operas, panoramas, theme parks, video games, and multimedia “happenings.” What is VR’s relation to this long and varied history?

Previously Offered Courses at Stanford:

Looking at Violence (ARTHIST 442)

Violence in the media and its effects upon viewers, especially thennyoung, is an issue of national concern that has produced legislationnnfor the ratings of movies, television shows, and computer/video games.

The Design of Technologies for Casual Learning – Lab (EDUC 196/396)

Lab. Studio-based, participatory, and user-centered development of casual learning technologies is explored, using the Apple iPhone as a prototype platform. The term “casual” is borrowed from casual gaming to denote that the learning technologies are meant for learners to use in “extreme informal” learning circumstances. The class builds on learning about and synthesizing knowledge, theory and development activity in four areas including learning theories, mobile technologies, games and participatory design processes.