Jordan Magnuson
Game Designer, Author, Educator


Jordan has been studying and making experimental videogames and interactive media art as an independent creator for many years, with deep roots in the independent gaming community: he started his first indie games company in 1999, and in 2005 he founded The Independent Gaming Source (, a community site for indie game developers which became the birthplace of a generation of innovative indie titles including Fez, Spelunky, Papers Please, and Minecraft. Since 2010, Jordan's serious games, art games, “notgames,” and “game poems” have been featured by Wired, PC Gamer, Le Monde, and others, shown at festivals and exhibitions around the world, nominated for a variety of awards including the New Media Writing Prize and the IndieCade Grand Jury Award, and cited by a wide range of creators and scholars (e.g. his travel games project, “Gametrekking,” is mentioned in the Cambridge History of Travel Writing). 

Jordan is particularly interested in using the most basic elements of interaction, computation, and representation to craft meaning and impact in videogames, and in using games to tackle difficult topics, subjective experiences, and complex emotions. He has lectured on critical and experimental game design at many of the top game programs around the United States (including USC, The DigiPen Institute of Technology, The University of Utah, UC Santa Cruz, MIT, and others), as well as at venues such as GDC, IndieCade, and Google. He has also collaborated with faculty and students at a variety of institutions to adapt and utilize his games in the context of interdisciplinary research (e.g. a game-based psychology study with Kipling Williams of Purdue University).

In addition to his commitments as a maker, Jordan also has an interest in theoretical and scholarly approaches to game studies and digital media. His recently published book, Game Poems: Videogame Design as Lyric Practice (Amherst College Press, 2023), is a deeply interdisciplinary look at the potential convergences between game making and lyric poetry, and has been praised by a wide-range of scholars, game designers, and poets.