Heidi McDonald is the Senior Creative Director for iThrive Games, where she directs iThrive’s developer outreach activities and provides creative direction on game development projects. She leads retreats, workshops, game jams, and conference events designed to engage top industry and academic professionals in conceptualizing, creating, and testing games to support teen thriving.
Drawing on her experience as a game designer and writer (including 9 titles for Schell Games), she translates iThrive Games’ teen thriving concepts into actionable design resources for game developers and offers developer consults for designers making games with social and emotional learning outcomes. Heidi was honored with Women in Gaming’s Rising Star Award in 2013, and her work has won awards from entities including Serious Play, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and the IGF. Author and editor of Digital Love: Romance and Sexuality in Games, Heidi has published and lectured extensively on romance and sexuality in games and how they relate to players’ emotional engagement.
She is also known for her collection of magnificent hats and for popping up places dressed as her pirate alter-ego, Lizzie Bones. She has dedicated her career to the idea that games can do amazing things for human beings.