Before this class, I really did not know the fundamentals of game design. I did not have a ton of experience playing games either so it was really interesting being a part of this community.
I played games that I’ve never heard before. I downloaded my first puzzle game (Gorogoa) on mobile using my own money. I don’t regret it! It was fascinating to see how simple interfaces can be very engaging and mysterious. Manipulating peoples’ brains (terror vs. horror) was something I wanted try more of in creating our final game. I think it’s far more memorable because sometimes you become desensitized by what you see in front of you. But thinking about what you don’t see can be a lot more interesting. Initially, I though immersive games were ones where you needed a virtual reality headset. Not actually, but I was unaware of how many ways games can be curated to be immersive. It’s not just music and visuals. One can use strong narrative and suspense to keep players engrossed in a game, or specific mechanics to keep players on their toes.
I experienced different player dynamics playing with my classmates. I learned that my peers have vast knowledge about all different types of games. It was very enjoyable observing how passionate people are about games. I definitely went through challenges while playing games with passionate people and working within certain group dynamics. However, I appreciate the immense support from the teaching staff. They really made me feel like my continued efforts were valuable. I went to class every day despite being in not so great situations. I also met some wonderful kind people who made working in groups a lot more tolerable. I didn’t realize how much of a challenge it was being in an unfamiliar space where I wasn’t super knowledgable about certain topics. However, it made me appreciate the expertise of peers a lot more.
I learned that there are so many techniques and elements that game designers use that players aren’t aware about. I learned that onboarding players is a really important process that is often understated. Learning about the meticulous ways that the Plant vs. Zombies creator designed onboarding was an enlightening experience for me. When we first hear about new games, I feel like we often focus on the novel, exciting features and possibilities that may occur later in the game. I think it’s still good to be motivated by future possibilities. However, if a designer does not give you the proper tools and mechanics to get there, it can make the game a lot more frustrating and not as rewarding. I appreciated learning about how to make onboarding seamless and embedded in gameplay. As a player, it is not always fun being shoved a bunch of instructions in order to play a game. Some players enjoy jumping into gameplay immediately without knowing everything at the outset. Some players may actually want less guidance to make the game more mysterious and challenging. However, players do need to be taught everything they need to know to finish the game. How can you do that?! Well, spreading onboarding materials into different levels is also a great concept. Unlocking mechanics throughout a game will definitely keep players engaged (and games addictive).
What will I take with me? Well, I’ll definitely take my sketchnotes! I think they were really helpful in understanding and conceptualizing lots of different topics. Will I be playing more games? Absolutely! This class really inspired me to try new games that aren’t as well-known. Even though a lot of games can be expensive, I think I’ve figured out the genre of games that I would really invest in. Lastly, I think bringing game design concepts into educational games is something I would like to do. Games are such powerful educational tools but not all educational games are exciting. So, I would definitely love to see and create educational games in the future.
Thank you all for a great quarter! 🙂