I’ve always loved playing games, but the games that I mean here are mobile games. From where I come from, Korea, board game or table top game is not a thing. I’m sure there are lots of Koreans who enjoy board games, but board games are usually considered something for children. Therefore, in my entire life, I’ve only played 3 tabletop games, the most famous ones: Uno, Jenga, and Monopoly.
So to be very honest, the three reasons that I checked out this class at the beginning of the quarter are:
- I need to take one of the 377 series to graduate
- Christina is teaching
- I do play game, lots of mobile games
I’m not sure what I was expecting of the game design class. I’ve never heard of the phrase game design, I never thought the two words, game and design, would go together. I attended the first class, I loved the quick tic-tac-toe recreation exercise we did in class, got super excited about the class, and decided to take it.
I remember the very first reading that was assigned: Formal Elements of the Game. It blew my mind because I never knew game could be so formal and well defined. But then, the next reading, MDAO, was the most novel and interesting thing that I have learned in the past year.
The very first assignment could have been very challenging. We were just thrown to make a game without any specific instruction of how to. However, out team followed the reverse MDAO approach and things worked out really well, like a recipe. Often times, sticking to the formula does not work well. However, for this assignment, doing so was the best decision we made. One of the hardest challenge that I had when doing the first assignment was balancing between seriousness and fun. I’m one of those people who love competing and screwing up friends/opposing players when playing games. So I really wanted to have that element in the very first game that I design. However, because of the nature of the topic of our game, we had to give that up at one point. It hurt me but the outcome came out well and we were all proud of it.
Interactive fiction was the most challenging assignment. Coming up with choices and using Twine to bring in interesting effects was fun. However, writing being one of my weakest point, I struggled a lot trying to come up with a compelling storyline was very challenging. Moreover, I think I especially had harder time because I have never played IF. I do wish there was more guidance to creating a game or some support in writing. I also wished this could have been a group project.
Systems game was very challenging at the beginning but one of the most interesting assignment. For this assignment, I do wish we had more guidance. The term systems game was very unclear to all of our teammates, and unlike assignment 1 where we were encourage to use MDAO approach, no particular approach was given to us. Our team struggled for a week to come up with an interesting system that we want to model.
3rd assignment however, did evolve into my P4 which I’m very proud about.
One of the most important thing that I learned from this class is playtesting. As a UX designer and product design major, I do know the importance of prototyping and testing, but never thought the same concept would apply to games. Our team conducted lots and lots of playtests for assignment 3 and 4 and the only reason we were come up with a very satisfying result at the end was due to playtests. Each and every playtest we did gave us great insights that we were able to put into our next prototype.
One thing people, including myself, may do wrong is trusting your brain and logic too much. Whenever we applied new rules/mechanics into the game, we try it out inside our head and think it will work out well. However, only when you playtest the new idea out, you know how flawed your new game can be. Playtest is not an option when it comes to developing a game, it is a MUST. Even if you are unable to find good participants, playtesting by yourself or with your friend/family is more worth then not playtesting.
The class overall changed my view of the games that I play. As the class progressed, every time I play game, I could not stop myself from trying to dissect the game into formal elements and analyze all the things the game is trying to do to its players. I also got to grow love towards board games and table top games, I actually bought 5 board games this quarter. I thank all the teaching team and my teammates for giving me a great experience.