Prior to taking the following course, I really have not had much interest in games. Growing up, I was never the type of kid who would spend most of my day staring at a small screen playing video games with strangers online. I honestly thought that games were a waste of time. However, I now have a new appreciation for games and how they can be used as a vessel to foster community and encourage social interactions between people. This course made me think of game design differently. Now, for every game being played, I always find myself analyzing and exploring the intricacies of the gaming mechanics. I try to understand the goal of the game designers in developing the game and whether the objective is successfully achieved through play.
I truly enjoyed playing and being exposed to different types of games throughout the quarter. Had it not been for this class, I probably would not have been aware of many of the games that I got to play with my peers. Additionally, what I loved most about the class was being able to develop my own games. For project 1, for instance, my team and I created a social party game called Court Case where we tried to establish camaraderie and fellowship between players by emulating a court case experience. I was in charge of the design elements and visual aesthetics of the game, and it was quite interesting to work from the perspective of the game designer. For project 2, my team and I created an escape room puzzle hunt game called Heist! At the Cantor, which blends the fantasy of narrative and satisfaction of fellowship while leveraging the beauty, utility, and imagination of Stanford art installations and destinations. My team wanted to expand outwards of a singular room in developing a game that leverages physical space and used Stanford’s campus as a space to be our escape room (per Christina’s suggestion in class). It was quite an amazing feeling to go from having a game idea and bringing it to life through several playtests and iterations.
Overall, I can easily say that this has been the best class that I have taken at Stanford so far. The material taught in the class was quite captivating. The guest lecturers were very memorable and informative and particularly enjoyed Laura Hall’s lecture on escape room puzzles. Prior to taking Design for Play, I did not have much interest in playing games. However, taking this class has given me a newfound appreciation for the intricacies of games. I look forward to applying all of the material I have learned throughout these past few weeks and developing my own games, one’s that I can play with my family and friends. Another factor that contributed to me enjoying the class was the amazing staff. The teaching assistants were very supportive. Professor Wodtke was always a delight to be around and had outstanding energy. Overall, every time I will leave the classroom with more questions than answers, but this endless curiosity would always bring me back.