José Zagal

Dr. José P. Zagal is a game designer and scholar. He is also a Professor with the University of Utah’s nationally ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering program where, among other things, he teaches courses on game design, ethics in videogames, and experimental games. He taught his first university-level class in 2000 and has since supervised multiple award-winning student projects, and many of his former students work at leading game studios worldwide.


José’s research explores the development of frameworks for describing, analyzing, and understanding games from a critical perspective. He is also interested in supporting games literacy and game education. His book on this topic, “Ludoliteracy: Defining, Understanding, and Supporting Games Education” was published in 2010. In 2012 he edited “The Videogame Ethics Reader”, a collection of writings that provide an entry point for thinking, deliberating, and discussing ethical topics surrounding videogames. “Role-Playing Game Studies”, edited in collaboration with Dr. Sebastian Deterding, was published in 2018 and provides an in-depth examination of role-playing games across different media and disciplinary contexts. His most recent book, “Game Design Snacks” (ETC Press, 2019) is an edited collection of nuggets of game design wisdom covering various areas in game design with examples from commercially released videogames.


José received his PhD in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, his M.Sc. in engineering sciences and a B.S. in industrial engineering from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in 1999 and 1997.