Selected Games

Below you can find a small sampling of my work.
For my full games portfolio, please visit

Loneliness gameplay trailer



Loneliness is a minimalistic micrograme that explores a single emotion using the barest possile mechanics. It has been widely played and cited as an example of minimalistic game design, mechanics-based gameplay, and emotional exploration through gameplay, and has been utilized in a variety of interdisciplinary research projects. It is one of only a handful of videogames to ever be the focus of two back-to-back episodes of the popular Extra Credits video lesson series.

"What’s amazing about Loneliness is that it undeniably has a narrative, even though it features no words… but what’s more incredible to me is how different that narrative can be for different people… This game not only tries to put us in the emotional state of that crushing loneliness… but it lets us explore it, and this to me is the unique power games have."

James Portnow, Extra Credits video lesson series

Selected Accolades and Exhibitions

Selected Book Citations

Extra Credits produced two episodes focused on Loneliness

Freedom Bridge


Freedom Bridge is a tiny "documentary game" that I made after visiting the Korean Demilitarized Zone in 2010. The game was featured by Extra Credits, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Resolution Magazine and others, and has since been widely cited as an example of minimalistic game design, documentary game design, and subversion of videogame power fantasies.

"I've listened to countless NPR stories and read dozens of New York Times pieces on the complicated situation between North and South Korea, but nothing emotionally immobilized me the same way that Jordan Magnuson’s Freedom Bridge did."

Patrick Klepek, Electronic Gaming Monthly

"Freedom Bridge is close to the Platonic ideal of the disempowerment fantasy game."

Ian Bryce Jones, Intermittent Mechanism

"One of the best video games I’ve played all year."

Fraser McMillan, Resolution Magazine

Selected Book Citations

Two-page spread about Freedom Bridge in Electronic Gaming Monthly

Freedom Bridge being played at an art exhibition in Denver, 2023

The Killer


The Killer is a small game about a single murder during a genocide, inspired by the thousands of senseless killings committed in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime. It has been hailed as an "interactive storytelling masterpiece," cited for its social and educational value, and used in the context of communcations and psychology research.


 Patrick Klepek, Giant Bomb

"An interactive storytelling masterpiece... videogames can become more meaningful if they aren't afraid to awaken players to real-world dilemmas."

Witty Gamer

"I recommend The Killer as a great example of using retro sensibilities in entirely new ways. The 8-bit style pixel graphics are resonant of the early home computers, but the play (or rather experience) of this artlet is not like anything from the 1980s... Highly recommended."

Chris Bateman, author of Beyond Game Design and Imaginary Games

Selected Press Coverage

Selected Book Citations

Gametrekking Omnibus


In 2010 I set out to travel long term on a shoestring budget with the goal of making little videogames and "notgames" along the way about the things I was seeing and experiencing. The idea was to use videogames as a kind of travel writing, mainly because I had never seen anyone try to do that before. The project was widely covered by media outlets at the time, and has been cited since as an innovative example of pushing the medium of videogames—as well as travel literature—in new directions. This is an omnibus collection of the games I made as part of my Gametrekking journey.

"What I have played can only be described as poetic."

Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design

"An amazing accomplishment… Interactive art doesn’t have to be bad. You've proved it!"

Jason Rohrer, creator of Passage

"This is, as far as I know, a unique project, and one that pushes the medium a little bit further into new ground by using the game (or notgame) as a means of representing social, political and cultural information in a unique form"

Chris Bateman, author of Beyond Game Design and Imaginary Games

Selected Press Coverage

Gametrekking got a six-page spread in Electronic Gaming Monthly

Selected Book Citations



Ishmael is a short multimedia-enhanced hypertext game about perpetual cycles of displacement and violence, as seen through the lens of a child. It has received numerous accolades for its socially-engaged themes and a design that blurs boundaries between conceptions of "interactive fiction," "hypertext narrative," and "videogame."

"A powerful piece of interactive literature."

Nathalie Lawhead, creator of Everything is Going to Be OK and Mackerelmedia Fish

"Magnuson is extensively familiar with the history of interactive fiction, including parser IF… That craft and theoretical groundwork are on display in Ishmael."

Emily Short, Rock Paper Shotgun

Selected Accolades

Ishmael gameplay trailer and explainer

Ms. Lojka

or: In Despair to Will to Be Oneself


Ms. Lojka is A short hypertext exploration of psychosis, about ignorance, defiance, and freedom—or: self-knowledge, acquiescence, and fate. There are two significantly-divergent endings, but replays are intentionally discouraged.

"A Work of (Dark) Art."

Jacqueline A. Lott, interactive fiction author and critic, organizer of IntroComp

Selected Accolades

Ms. Lojka was showcased at the Game Happens festival in Genoa in 2017

Portraits of My Child

(In Continued Development)

A haiku game inspired by my son's first year of life.

"As a father, I found Portraits of My Child to be touching... So much emotion per pixel."

Perttu Hämäläinen, Aalto University, Helsinki

Selected Accolades and Exhibitions

Portraits of My Child and others of my games being played in the Receivership art exhibition, Santa Cruz, 2019

Everyone Forgets


A short game exploring an unusual aspect of the Icarus myth that relies on on age-old poetic devices like imagery, pacing, rhythm, and rhyme for much of its meaning. 

Selected Exhibitions

Everyone Forgets on display at Kumma Gallery, Helsinki, 2023

Terrorist Killer


A short, extremely heavy-handed game about terrorism and the war on terror, originally made for the Kokoromi one-button challenge. 

Selected Accolades

"A game that makes a point without forgetting that it has to be a game."

PC Gamer

"A very effective use of the medium… The brutal simplicity of it is precisely what makes it powerful."

Jonas Kyratzes, creator of Phenomenon 32 and The Book of Living Magic

Country Connect!


An educational game of world travel, aimed at casual game players. The game won Best Education & Reference Application at Intel's Atom Developer Challenge in 2010.

"Before you know it you are immersed in a knowledge of world geography. It’s almost like cheating, the education is so easy and fun here."

Intel App Developer Blog

Selected Accolades

Stations of the Cross mini documentary and explainer

Stations of the Cross


An interactive media art installation, Stations of the Cross is series of abstract, contemplative, touchscreen experiences in dialogue with traditions of spirituality, pilgrimage, and contemplation, as well as historical artworks like Barnett Newman’s "Stations of the Cross" paintings. Unlike most of my work, this piece is only available to experience as an installation.