Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal is an academic games researcher and pervasive game designer. She specializes in multiplayer games for public spaces and online systems for massively collaborative play. She is a PhD candidate in performance studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where she is also a member of the Alpha Lab for Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. She teaches game design (San Francisco Art Institute) and contemporary games culture (UC Berkeley), with an emphasis on how these two fields intersect with live performance, social networks, and public policy. She was a member of the I Love Bees design team that won both the 2005 Innovation Award from the International Game Developers Association and the 2005 games-related Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Her favorite previous pervasive gaming projects include The Go Game, flash mobs, and a massively multiplayer Easter egg hunt in Central Park. She has worked behind the scenes on numerous off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions.

Essays by this author

Notes Toward a More Pervasive Cyberdramaturgy


Jane McGonigal goes mobile with a “transformational agenda” shift for Cyberdrama.

The Puppet Master Problem: Design for Real-World, Mission-Based Gaming


Jane McGonigal argues that pervasive games - which involve electronic and ‘real world’ missions - reverse the traditional conception of the power dynamics of gaming, which has understood gamers as free agents. In contrast, according to McGonigal, designers of pervasive games exercise power over players, though their control is ultimately compromised by players’ interpretive agency.