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Jonathan Lessard, PhD

Associate Professor, Design and Computation Arts
Primary Investigator (LabLabLab)

Biography    Publications    Games   

Jonathan Lessard, PhD
Office: S-EV 6781 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4717
Website(s): Portfolio

Jonathan is designer, historian and theoretician of games. Indie developer as Absurdus since 2000, he completed a PhD on adventure games in 2013. He is currently exploring two main research avenues: the design of playful natural language conversations and identifying patterns in the formal evolution of games.

His credo: "... but is it fun?"


  • PhD Cinema Studies (Université de Montréal)
  • MA History (Université de Montréal)
  • BA Arts and Humanities (Université de Montréal)

Research interests

Game design; game history; interactive storytelling; natural language interaction; adventure games.

Areas of expertise

Game design, history, and theory; 3D modelling and rendering; Interactive storytelling; Natural language interaction


Recent publications

Lessard, Jonathan; Arsenault, Dominic. “The Character as Subjective Interface.” In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storyteling, Los Angeles: CA, 2016.

Lessard, Jonathan. « Design Rationale for Natural-Language Based Game Conversations ». In Demo Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. Pacific Grove: CA, 2015.

Lessard, Jonathan. « Technologie et design de jeu ». Sciences du jeu, no 4 (2015).

Lessard, Jonathan. “Early Computer Game Genre Preferences (1980-1984).”In Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference, Vol. 12.Lüneburg, Germany, 2015.

Lessard, Jonathan. « Game Genres and High-Level Design Pattern Formations ». In Proceedings of Workshops Colocated with the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. Florida: ACM Digital Library, 2014.

Lessard, Jonathan. « Livre, film ou monde interactif ? Les métaphores de la construction formelle du jeu d’aventure ». Mémoires du livre 5, no 2 (2014).

Lessard, Jonathan. « The Casual Revolution of... 1987: Making Adventure Games Accessible to the Masses ». In History of Games International Conference 2013 Proceedings. Montréal: Kinephanos, 2013.

Lessard, Jonathan. « Adventure Before Adventure Games A New Look at Crowther and Woods’s Seminal Program ». Games and Culture 8, no 3 (2013): 119‑135.



LabLabLab Games (2013-...)

Conversation-based games made at the LabLabLab can be found here:

-Hammurabi (2017)
-SimHamlet (2016)
-SimProphet (2015)
-A Tough Sell (2014)

Game Studies (2016)

Game Studies is a playable “intro to game studies” manual. Discover the magic circle! Re-live the famous narratology-ludology debate! Impress your friends by using terms such as “ergodic literature” correctly!

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