Final Class Reflection – Ulo

Before this class, I definitely was under the assumption that games were a distraction and that I was not entitled to “take time off” and just enjoy playing games. I’ve always been told by those around me that I could be doing something more productive rather than playing games, but I always loved playing. I vividly remember waking up early every weekend, turning on my XBOX 360 and putting in the Just Dance 3 CD and playing as many of the songs as I could. Playing was always an escape for me to just disconnect from the world for a bit and be happy and become a professional dancer in the case of Just Dance, or a professional soccer player like in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. 

I also believed that games and play were a way for people to connect! The games I played when I was little connected my family, but they also connected me to the world. The moment I discovered different gaming channels on YouTube, I was obsessed! Whether it was a group of friends playing Mafia, or ten of my favorite Minecraft YouTubers coming together for a massive crossover Hunger Games video, games and the community they created made me not feel alone in the world and gave me something to look forward to every day. 

I’m so glad I took 247G as I really needed it this year. The past two years have just been so crazy and I’ve felt like so many eyes were on me and that I had so many responsibilities which often have become overwhelming, so seemingly little things like Christina giving us permission to play and enjoy games again, and also really emphasizing the importance of taking care of ourselves was something that I really needed to hear. Not only did this create a positive environment which encouraged me to get back into games, but also pushed me to think of games through a lens I’ve never explored: game design.

By playtesting and performing critical plays almost every week in this class, I began to develop a more speculative eye when looking at games. One of the concepts that has stuck with me is thinking about what makes a game and thinking about the formal elements and how those impact the entire experience. For example, I had no idea how many types of player relationships (multilateral, unilateral, etc) there were. I knew of PvP and multiplayer, but there are so many other layers that change the dynamic and have encouraged me to think about what type of relationship I want players to have in the games I design (eg. do I want them to be playing against the game themselves or playing against each other?).

Throughout this class, I’ve struggled with a belief that I came into the class with which is “I can’t think of anything unique”. I feel like this has always limited me from sharing my ideas as I have always thought they’re not good enough or unique enough… but I’ve grown by learning in this class that it’s our unique experiences that make any idea we share unique. Looking ahead, I hope to incorporate ways of thinking like this as well as different brainstorming techniques we did in class (eg. everyone brainstorming individually for seemingly uncomfortable periods of time before sharing). I’m not sure what the future with hold and how game design will play a factor in this, but I’m so so glad I took this class and am confident that playing games will always be a part of my life going forward 🙂


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