Archives for category: Academic

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defining game design + writing the rules of Pac-Man
+ understanding “formalism”

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student work from the Pac-Man rules exercise

 

What is Game Design?

I’m four posts deep into this series and before I go any further, I wanted to address a basic question: What exactly is game design anyway? Since these little essays are about learning game design, it seems appropriate to ask.

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At the Different Games Conference this past spring, Colleen Macklin and I ran a workshop session called Queering The Metagame. Using Merritt Kopas’ “Queer Mechanics” design model (which we lifted from her essay Interrupting Play: Queer Games and Futurity), we encouraged players to hack into The Metagame and create their own cards, rules, and play rituals. 

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designing meaningful choices + an exercise in fixing a “broken” game

The Game Modification assignment

In the last post of this series, I discussed some of the principles of iteration. The Tic-Tac-Toe exercise is a good way to get a beginning sense of the game design process, but iterative design really kicks in only when students get take-home assignments that they need to evolve over a longer period of time.

The assignment below is the first take-home project I give to students. It’s a 1-week project, which means the week after I assign it, students bring their finished games into class to share with everyone else.

RSP: Crossfire! by Craig Donahue, Andrew Jajja, Lyle Sterne, John Xiao

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Game Design Case Studies is a series of talks I am proposing for the 2015 Game Developers Conference. They are advanced lectures from working game designers that focus tightly on a particular aspect of one game.

I am not giving these talks myself – I am looking for proposals from other game designers. That means you! Read below for more information and instructions on submitting a proposal. I hope you will consider applying.

Deadline for proposals: August 22, 2014 Read the rest of this entry »

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For better or for worse, the Manifesto for a Ludic Century – an essay I posted on Kotaku.com several months ago – continues to reverberate within game circles. This past November, the NYU Game Center where I teach hosted a debate over some of the ideas in the essay. You can watch the full video here, featuring Heather Chaplin, Ben Johnson, Abe Stein, and myself. No blood is drawn, but there is plenty of productive combat.

Heather since published a short interview with me about the Ludic Century for the MacArthur Foundation’s Spotlight Blog. In it, we chat about games, literacy, and the three elements of the Ludic Century – systems, play, and design.

And there’s more. Last night, I was delighted to watch brilliant media scholar McKenzie Wark expertly dissect the Ludic Century as part of the events series “Videogames Theory Criticism” at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. It was equal parts painful and illuminating – like watching a veteran surgeon operate on your own body. Highly recommended.

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