Final Class Reflection

I had taken a class on play before and so wrongly I came into this class thinking I knew what there was to know about play. I understood general concepts such as the importance of play and fun from a learning perspective but this class really grounded those concepts for me. This is my last quarter and my last class at Stanford and it was one of the best ones for that. I came into Stanford mainly wanting to broaden my perspective. I think one of the most powerful things someone can do is understand and learn to see the world from other perspectives. Being able to analyze games in the way we did, did exactly that for me. It broadened my understanding of games – something I’ve been playing since middle school.

Video games have always been important to me. I went to a new high school outside of my district and so did not have any friends coming in. The best friends for life that I made I met and bonded over our love of a game we played together. We all recently started playing it again and I really feel how it is bringing us closer again after each of us have been away at college. Despite us slightly hating the game now because we are no longer as good at it, we still love what it has done for us and our group. I only realized this while taking this class and understanding how some games are designed for this fellowship type of fun. 

The most impactful lesson I think we covered was one of the first ones about mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics. I had never analyzed games through that lens and now when I play them on game nights with my friends, I can’t help but analyze how the game was designed. The directional aspect of MDA (with designers thinking in M→D→A and players experiencing in A→D→M) was really eye opening. I am a designer by trade (UI/UX) and so these concepts helped me in that. I realized I create experiences ultimately that are great for the user and translate them to an interface. The user on the other hand, acts upon the interface and this then informs their experience. And so a great designed experience is one that the user almost does not notice anything wrong with. 

I also loved the lesson on aesthetics and sounds. I think sounds are underutilized in UX and the lesson on sound design was inspiring. I think there is a world in which sound is more integrated into mobile UX to make the overall experience more enjoyable. 

One of the most directly applicable lessons to me was on tutorials. I equated tutorials to onboarding and the two have similarities that can pull on each other. Onboarding dropoff is a huge design challenge and game tutorials can be a great inspiration for that. Somehow integrating the app experience in onboarding so it doesn’t explicitly feel like “onboarding” would be a great tool for me as a designer.

Overall while I probably won’t go into game design (while it sounds really cool and fun), a lot of the lessons we talked about I can see already showing up in the other work I do. It really has made an impact on me as a designer and I’m excited to include these lessons moving forward. 

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