Jesse Schell

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Jesse Schell
Jesse Schell (4670646737).jpg
Schell, 2010
Born (1970-06-13) June 13, 1970 (age 51)
Alma materRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Spouse(s)Nyra Schell
AwardsTop 10 Young Innovators [1]
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
Entertainment Technology
InstitutionsCarnegie Mellon University
Schell Games

Jesse N. Schell (born on June 13, 1970) is an American video game designer, author, CEO of Schell Games,[2] and a Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), a joint master's program between the College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jesse Schell earned a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and subsequently, earned a Master's Degree in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University. His early career consisted of his work as a Software Engineer for IBM and Bell Communications Research, and then moved to Los Angeles to work with Disney Imagineering.[2]

In addition to his other achievements, Schell has also been a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild.[2]


After graduating from the Information Networking Institute at CMU in 1994 with a Masters of Science in Computer Networking and Virtual Reality, Jesse Schell went on to work for Bell Labs. In 1995 he joined Walt Disney Imagineering, where he worked for seven years in capacity of programmer, manager, designer and Creative Director on several projects. These included rides for theme parks like DisneyQuest, and massively multiplayer online games like Toontown Online. During his time at Disney, he met Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was taking a sabbatical in the lab where Schell worked. When Randy founded the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU, he invited Schell to become a faculty member. Schell joined the faculty in 2002.

In 2002, Schell founded Schell Games, a full-service game design and development company with a focus on creating both educational and entertainment games on all platforms for players of all ages.[3] The company is based in Pittsburgh, PA[4] and employs more than 100 people. He currently serves as CEO.[5] At Tech 50 in 2016, Schell was awarded CEO of the year, and the year prior, Schell was named one of Pittsburgh's 50 most powerful people. [6]

In 2008, using the design methodologies developed during his time at the ETC, Schell published The Art of Game Design.[7] A second edition of this book was published in 2014.

He continues to teach Building Virtual Worlds and Game Design at the ETC.[8]

Schell is well known for his many talks on game design, but best known for his DICE 2010 talk, "Beyond Facebook", which was adopted as a TED "Best of the Web" talk, and has had over a million views online.

In 2015, Schell was honored with a Carnegie Science Award in the Entrepreneur category. The program celebrates innovators who have distinguished themselves by making unparalleled contributions to science and technology in various disciplines.[9] The following year, Schell received a 2016 Creator-of-the-Year award at the CREATE Festival for his work at the intersection of creativity and innovation.[10]

Since 2016, Schell has been in talks with Disney about reviving Toontown Online.[11] As of August 2018, Schell noted that he is actively talking to Disney about obtaining the rights to Toontown Online.

Games and rides[edit]

Schell contributed to the development of certain video games and rides.




  1. ^ "Jesse Schell". Young Innovators. MIT. Archived from the original on 3 April 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Schell Games
  3. ^ Schell Games
  4. ^ "Schell Games - Contact". Archived from the original on 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  5. ^ Schell Games
  6. ^ [1],
  7. ^ Schell, Jesse. The Art of Game Design. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. ISBN 978-0123694966
  8. ^ ETC Faculty
  9. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times
  10. ^ "Schell Games". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  11. ^ OMG!Con 2016: Jesse Schellivision. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.

External links[edit]