Final Reflection Essay

Before the class, I thought this… 

It is tough to think of a game, especially those complicated ones. However, after going through systems game (P3), I realized that you could create games through layering and finding their origins and consequences. With those elements, you can create an ecosystem to make the game seemingly real yet complex enough to engage your user. So to create it, find a topic of your interest, create layers, find their reasons and repeat. The loop will keep going on until you have set an objective.

Graphic design is the most crucial element in games. However, that is critical only in the higher fidelity prototype; the game mechanics is more important at the very start. After creating games in a sprint over the past ten weeks, people can quickly look past the paper prototypes. They were more willing to give feedback that is regarding the game mechanics rather than the beauty of it (which would be more helpful for game designers at the start)

In the class, I did these things…

I created new ideas from scratch even though I have a bank of game ideas in my notes. I never knew how easy I could take ideas from history or everyday lives. All we need is to stop, breathe, look around and observe. Sometimes, the best ideas are just right in front of us. We have to find a way to “ridicule ourselves” and put in a game. 

I started from the basics. I think in my P2, I was highly intimidated by the fact that I had to create storylines. I had no patience with interactive storytelling before making this game. However, I was reminded that we should create the basics of everything, similar to cooking. Anything in between are spices in the game that bring it more flavorful for the players. Sounds, colors, and others will make the game richer, but nothing else matters if I had a terrible storyline. 

I learned this… 

Find a community of people to bounce your ideas. I think sharing your thoughts is not a bad thing. In the past, I was not willing to share my idea because others had stolen my already commercialized idea and sold it. I became much warier because of that. However, I think having the right groups of people to playtest and to bounce your ideas is helpful for the game designer.

Emotions in (board) games are severely underrated. Feelings invoked in games helped the players create more impressionable memories to either learn from their mistakes or learn from others. Losing helps them understand strategies and skills that they have not encountered, in which repeated gaming would help them practice it. Of course, with all games, fun is needed when playing so they will be hooked to be “emotional” over and over again. 

Not everyone likes your game. If they do not like it, and did not give you constructive feedback, MOVE ON, EUGENE!

When I go to make games in the future, I will…

PLAYTEST A LOT. I had an idea in the past. I made it, I playtest (yes, I did), but it was minimal compared to my games this quarter. Playtesting is the crux of game designing and taking all opinions and feedback with a pinch of salt. Some can sound offensive, while some were slight tweaks, so it suited that individual much better. (And I have to evaluate each one to make sure I do not dilute the game and my wanted outcome too much) Playtesting should not be done only when it is in low fidelity but also in high fidelity. Although I had experience in UX, I did not realize that UX in game design matters so much. For example, the act of flipping cards can affect how the players interact with cards above or under them.

Mess with people’s feelings in games. When making games, I was looking for inspiration to explain concepts, especially in my P1 (The Golden Tulip). However, when I was trying to find games about finance, I thought they were all pretty dull; there is no element of surprise discussed in one of the readings. The seven basic emotions were subconscious when I was designing a game. After reading that article, I began creating games that steer away from “regression to mean”; I want games to sway heavily on one side to invoke strong emotions. This way, they will closely remember the fun and skills associated with the game. 

Find parallels. Another reading that I read was talking about how vital abstractions are essential. While hard to find, many things in history are repeated. Abstractions are great because we can teach people history (a very effective secondary objective) to not repeat the same mistakes in the future. In addition, I think abstractions educate the player to act more logically when faced with the same dilemma in the current situation. The skills that they had unintentionally practised would be useful for them when applying them. 

Find an educational topic. I always had a hard time thinking about what ideas I should put in a game. Coming to this class to create games for educational purposes helped me think of ideas and elements I want to put in. In that sense, I made better games than the bank of game ideas I have because now it all seems real and how these concepts affect people in their lives. I get players aggravated by the same issues that got me upset, and I have succeeded in getting people more aware of these issues. 

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