Before this class, I normally associated game design with digital games since I come from a Computer Science background. As such, I particularly wanted to create analog game for my projects, since it was a really novel experience for me. Creating a digital game has been a goal of mine for some time, but without this class, I don’t think I would have ever considered designing a physical escape room. For the escape room project, I had to think about the relationship between games and space in ways I never thought about before. It might seem on the outside that designing a physical escape room is a lot easier than coding a digital game, but I found myself being challenged in many new ways. For instance, we spent a lot of time figuring out good puzzles that 1) fit the theme, 2) were challenging and diverse, and 3) were immersive. Immersion was tough since we have a specific room we need to use (Durand) so there are many limitations to what we can do. We designed our game with these limitations in mind, ultimately creating an office/lab themed room that worked well with the space.
I myself enjoy games but only stick to the same few games I have liked for many years, so I was a little worried I would be out of my element in the class. A lot of the games brought up as examples in class were unknown to me, so it was sometimes intimidating to be out of the loop. However, I enjoyed learning about cool games I had never heard of and look forward to playing more of them. I liked that Christina incorporated a new game as the theme of each slide deck. I found a lot of cool games through those slides! And the thing I liked about Critical Play assignments was being introduced to new games. Some of them (Life is Strange) were games I had heard of in the past and wanted to play, but never made the time to do so. This class made it possible for me to explore different genres and I feel like I’ve come out of the class with a more solid understanding of the types of games out there.
Another thing I really liked about this class was how often we playtested. I loved playtesting other groups’ games. They are all so unique and interesting and these experiences also helped with the design of our own games. Even though the class size was large this quarter, playtesting every week built a sense of community.
We learned a lot about designing good games throughout the class, but I think that a lot of these themes and values are also applicable outside this context, like designing normal apps. A lot of the design choices made to maximize people’s enjoyment and engagement with a game can be applied elsewhere. Even if I’m not making games in the future, I can use these principles to create good software.
Overall I am super glad that I took this class and I have come out of it with a greater appreciation for games design, as well as a toolbox of skills that I can use for designing engaging products.