Reflection – Nancy Hoang

Before this class, I thought game design was more of a focus and issue for digital video games and that the visual design of a game was what made a game “good.” I had a very strong notion of what type of audience I thought needed to appeal to and was significantly surprised to realized that we would be learning about designing all types of games. As someone who never got into hardcore gaming, either board or digital, I thought that learning about the different types of fun was particularly intriguing. This is because I definitely fall into the submissive fun category and 100% did not really count that as a type of game. One concept that I never considered explicitly includes balancing. This is something I do a lot with Mafia before class, but I did not consider the factors used in balancing a game outside of changing the numbers. However, given the nature of my first game, as a designer our team realized this would be what makes or breaks a game. One approach I used to test whether or not the game would break with how we made rules to balance as opposed to changing the number of people on each side was by playing the game against ourselves. In that process, I can see what both sides are considering strategically and was able to identify the way the game would fail or if there was a way to win every time. One challenged faced during the process was creating a game that did not fall in line of what would be made for the traditional white cis-male and instead something I could see myself playing. As a novelist, I do not understand the traditional rules or patterns as an experienced player and because of that, overly rendered graphics and violence were not my first choice in theming. That being said, it was for many of my peers, and I think it was super cool to see so many games at the final play test made from people who did enjoy FPS games create games that I could see myself playing. For my own game, we were able to create a narrative that fell out of line with that traditional horror story nature of an escape room and just make it light-hearted and yet still mysterious. We were also able to make the game something that connected back to our own roots by basing it off of a student’s life and incorporating things that all of us could relate to. In the future, I’d like to look towards understanding how to make games more accessible, although I admittedly think that it is impossible to make something that will or can fit everyone’s needs all at once. There will never be a perfect game. The beauty is in creating enough so that options exist and redesigning enough to create something that allows for an enjoyable experience for as many people as possible. This reminds me of the paper on designing for Beyond Being There but instead of trying to mimic the experiences of certain games, I wonder if we could just make games that create fun in different ways. Overall, this class made me significantly more receptive towards new games and has pushed me to play things I’ve never considered before. While I do not think it has affected how much I intend to play games, it makes me appreciate the games I do play more. It has allow broaden the image of what gamers look like in my head and makes me question how my own personal attitude has affected my own enjoyment. I really like play testing in this class and hope that some of these games do eventually move beyond the scope of the class.

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