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In Focus


Games are where work, play, and art meet. Harvard experts are exploring how playing games can help people develop practical skills, make tough decisions, and connect with others.


It’s all fun and games

Harvard researchers explore the simple yet inexhaustible games that people around the world and across time have found a passion for.

Explore how a Harvard mathematician resolved a 150-year-old chess problem

Get your game on

The world of video games has come a long way since the days of Pong. Learn how Harvard is exploring the many levels of this massive industry.

Interested in game development? Try a free class

illustration of game controllers

From joysticks to job options

Spending time gaming helps hone valuable skills that can be applied to the workplace, such as problem-solving, resilience, and teamwork.

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What are Esports?

Esports attract millions of fans and lucrative sponsors, but can it find longevity in the constantly changing internet culture?

eSports gaming event
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Meet "League of Legends" designer Mark Yetter

Read how the Harvard alum’s gaming journey helped him find his way in the industry.

Mark Yetter
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Have loot boxes turned video gaming into gambling?

The controversy continues as these microtransactions find their way into an increasing number of games.

treasure chest
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A Harvard class explores narratives in video games

Students examine the relationship between analyzing and experiencing stories.

person playing a video game
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Games through the ages

Throughout the course of human civilization, societies have always found a way to have some fun.

A playing board for a game created in 1796. It includes drawings of different characters and resembles a map.
  • Houghton Library

A history of games at Houghton

The enduring charm of tabletop games can be explored in a historical collection stored at Houghton Library.

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  • Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East

Game of 20 Squares

Learn how to play the game that was part of the museum’s “Houses of Ancient Israel” exhibit.

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  • Peabody Museum of Archeology & Ethnology


Explore ancient boards and game sets from across the African continent.

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  • Center for the History of Medicine


Find a hand carved chess set from 1864 at Countway Library on Harvard’s Longwood campus.

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  • Tozzer Library

Indigenous games

The Indigenous Knowledge Collection highlights diverse Native voices within academic texts, as well as diverse materials, such as board games.

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Brain boosters

Gamification—using game design techniques to increase engagement and productivity—is being utilized for everything from learning languages to preserving history.

Learn more from the The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

An illustration of the starting screen for the Harmony Square game

A game to sharpen your truth detector

Research from Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review shows that playing this 10-minute browser game enhances people’s ability to spot and resist political misinformation.

Learn more about the research

Play the game

Cognitive development

Babies and children use games and play to understand the world, form neural connections, and create bonds with their parents and friends.