Jon Larkin

Game Designer & Engineer

Jon is passionate about using the principles of game design to create satisfying and engaging user experiences. Especially for interactive environments, games offer designers a way to think about the user’s emotional response to a product, service, or experience. If we consider how people play games and why playing games is exciting and rewarding, we can apply those insights to our work as designers and produce outcomes that are emotionally rich, visually compelling, and deeply empowering for users.

As a graduate student, Jon explored the notion of video games as artistic expression and cultural artifact. He has also worked as a game designer in the educational entertainment industry, helping build games that teach financial literacy in classrooms.


MFA, Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
BA Architecture, Princeton University

My Superpower

Designing playfulness.

Quote That Inspires Me

“We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.”
-Captain Malcolm Reynolds

Earliest Memory of Using Something High-Tech

Playing Kings Quest in my mom’s dining room.

First Thing I Built

Wolfpack Renegades - Lego 6038.

Blog Posts

Why MAYA Design is Partnering with Shopify Plus
Sep 20 2016 in Connected World

Being a Shopify Plus Partner enables MAYA Design to provide innovation and design services to organizations that are looking to get started with ecommerce.

More Than Just a Game at SXSW
Nov 06 2014 in Notes from the Field

How game design can help users navigate new experiences with curiosity and confidence.

An Architecture of Play
Jul 29 2013 in Architectural Approach

As human-centered designers, we can draw a lot of inspiration from the philosophy and science of game design and apply that knowledge toward making successful products that people love to use.


Avonworth School District Turns Library into Learning Hub
May 14 2014

MAYA partnered with the Avonworth School District to help them turn their library into a learning hub, a new center featuring MAYA TeamBoards, collaborative space, a maker lab, and new computers.

K-12 Video Gaming Conference
Oct 07 2013

Jon Larkin and Matt Casebeer spoke at a games and education conference at Propel Braddock Hills High School. The talk focused on what it means to be game designers who practice human centered design, a deep dive into fostering discovery and exploration, a history of Adventure Playgrounds, and a demo of MakerSwarm.