I learned a great amount through taking 247G, and the class greatly changed my viewpoint on what games can be. I’m grateful to have experienced growth while learning about the nuances of game design and while playing and learning from games through a more critical lens.
Before this class, I had a more limited view on what constitutes games and play. When I thought of games, I generally imagined video games with action or fantasy themes. However, I discovered that there are so many other types of games such as games that make use of physical space (e.g. escape rooms) and games where the core appeal is storytelling. Overall, I thought that this class introduced new possibilities of what games are and have the ability to do, and I am certainly more appreciative of all the thought and effort that goes into making a compelling game.
Through my involvement in the class, I experienced many learnings. Some class concepts that stuck with me were the formal elements of gameplay and types of fun. These frameworks helped me get a better grasp of what makes good games so captivating. I especially enjoyed identifying the formal elements and types of fun while playing through the games for the critical play assignments and while playtesting my classmates’ games. Using these frameworks provides a more analytical view of why a game is fun opposed to just taking the fun for granted. I found that having a deeper understanding of the formal elements and the types of fun enhanced my playing experience since it allowed me to appreciate the games more. I also found that identifying the formal elements and types of fun were helpful while creating my own games. I implemented them into my work by starting the planning process of the games with the formal elements and types of fun in mind. These also served as a good benchmark for how our project was making progress. Often, I tried reflecting by asking whether the games we were making were conveying the type of fun intended and whether the formal elements contributed to the intended effect. This was great to have in mind when deciding which direction to take and which choices to make after receiving feedback from and playtest.
I experienced some challenges during the class. Some of these challenges came from the nature working in a group setting since there were times where my teammates and I disagreed or had different ideas. However, I think it was a valuable experience to be able to express my own ideas and listen to the ideas of my teammates in order to reach a solution. Another challenge we faced was in the scope of the project and the limited time we had. This challenged us to work within constrains to come up with creative solutions.
I also experienced a great amount of growth through this class. Having worked through challenges with managing disagreements and thinking within constraints, I am better equipped to work on design projects with others in the future. I think that the knowledge and skills from learning the theory of game design is valuable and helpful, but the main takeaway for me from this course was my growth in working on a team and thinking like a designer. I think these skills are highly transferable to other areas as well.
Next time, when making a game, I will make sure to get as much feedback as possible from a large group of diverse players. This class taught me the importance of playtesting early and often, and that the advice and feedback from playtests can be very valuable in identifying holes in the game and whether the game is being received as intended. I hope to use the mindset of being open to improvement, feedback, and growth to create impactful games.