I got into playing board games during covid when I was living with my boyfriend and his family. They loooove games and have a game room in their house. Because I didn’t grow up playing games, I first hated their family culture. Then, I grew to like games and also found some that I really really love. My boyfriend and I went up to Tahoe every weekend to ski and we played board games every time we took a break from our work. So before this class, games, especially board games, were my safe space. They provided ways for me to escape from school and enjoy the moment. I always admired game designs and mechanics. I always that it was crazy how games work – they just… work. They make sense. Every time I played heard, I wondered who thought of this and how did it become a thing? A popular thing? So, when I saw this class, I said I must take it.
During the class, I really enjoyed when we were dissecting game mechanics and how to balance them. After the couple of weeks of those lectures and sketch notes, I was able to think more deeply about board games and the little but so necessary rules that developers (or whoever came up with games) put into place to make the game work. So, using these lessons, our team really focused on balancing our games. We asked ourselves how could we make this fun? but also difficult? but also not too difficult that it will be frustrating? We decided on making the game play itself easily – read the passages on the screen, click appropriate texts/buttons, and look through physical rooms. However, we decided to implement more challenging puzzles that will make players joyful and feel achieved once they solve them.
The challenges definitely came from everyone having different perspectives and there was no right or wrong answer. One big example is how people viewed our binary puzzle hints. Some people thought colored dots were “filled” and the non-colored dots were “empty”. Some people thought about it the opposite way. This was challenging as we knew that some of the players of our game wouldn’t necessarily realize that the puzzle was binary and relied heavily on hints and finding patterns. We ended up settling on the first case but provided a couple more hints throughout the room that could help players break their line of thought, if necessary, and find the pattern.
This class made me want to play more games. Especially video games!! (don’t tell my mom). I feel like I grew so much in how I view games and their potential. Before the class, I had a negative perception of video games as I always thought that they were harmful. However, they have now become something that I want to explore. I especially really enjoyed watching the video about Subnautica. The video made me realize how much I can do with video games to share people’s experiences and therefore change their days or even lives.
If I were to keep working on my games, I want to build out the physical rooms really well and polish them to be able to release them. I also want to make sure that every component is well connected to make the game feel more complete. But in the future, I want to explore the video game space more. I want to see what I can do about it. I have a lot of topics that I am very passionate about that I want to bring people’s attention to. I want to see how I can integrate these topics into games to make gaining awareness more organic and fun. I also want to dabble into the visual design of games as pretty game visuals like Monument Valley just make the gaming experience so much more fun.