Game Design — Reflection 7/20

I enjoyed learning about game systems this week and learning how to focus on their core components like goals, rules, mechanics, genres, worlds, narratives, and aesthetics. Dissecting games is such an interesting concept because you reverse how the game designer(s) built the entire game. These components along with the meaning of what a game/play are helping me realize if I should create my virtual reality thesis around a narrative/presentation experience or a game. I’ve so far thought of a narrative, genre, and style for my thesis, however, I haven’t thought about the goals, rules, or even what the core mechanic is. As I progress in this class, I look forward to learning more about the fundamentals of game design and more concepts to incorporate into my thesis.

Two of my favorite games that I’ve played over the past five years are Life is Strange and Night In the Woods. I can say I appreciated the story the most in Life is Strange because the narrative had a strong impact on both my friend and me once we finished the game, however, the sensation, fantasy, discovery, and expression were the four fulfillments that made me enjoy the game. Night in the Woods is based around a college dropout who returns to her hometown and tries to rekindle/reconcile past relationships with friends and family members. In the game, you navigate through different worlds (neighborhoods) and interact with various characters who have their own unique personalities/stories. I think the game had a strong impact on me because at the time it was my December break, sophomore year of college and I was debating whether or not to take a gap semester and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now thinking about the type of player I am, I’d say I’m a combination of socializer because I love interacting with other individuals within online games, however, I’d also lean towards an explorer because I love to explore different worlds within games.

Thursday’s in-class exercise was fun, yet challenging for my group and me mainly because we were confused by some rules within the gameplay, while the interface seemed to not be correlating with our interactions. For example, the player was supposed to put down a “secret card” in the deck which no other players were supposed to see, however, the card displayed the character faceup. This glitch created a major issue for my group and me because we weren’t able to start the game without a secret card. Besides struggling with the secret card, we still had qualms with the goals/rules, however, I wonder what this experience would’ve been like if we were to play the digital game board in real life? My roommate and I struggled the day before Thursday’s class trying to figure out how to play another game on Tabletopia, so I wonder how their UX Designers could improve said site. While the UX may need some assistance, I do think Tabletopia has some unbeatable, simulated-game board graphics and I feel like it saved so many individuals from having to go years without playing a game board with others during the pandemic.