Hello, this blog has primarily been created as a requirement for CS 108 or ART 108 at San Jose State.  The posts will be for class credit, but I will not hold back my criticism or enthusiasm for the course material.  I’m sure many people coming into the class have their own opinions about game design, and I am one of them.  It doesn’t take a movie director to be movie critic, and it doesn’t take an experienced game designer to be a game critic, but I will be learning the art of game design as I progress through this course and CS 185C, the more project-focused class.  The class involves playing games and reading what people have said about games, and I will criticize them both.

So, a little background: I am a gamer who began in the N64 generation, suffered the WoW era, and emerged some point down the line as an avid competitive gamer.  That is to say, I generally play with competition in mind.  Ideas of “fun” aside (for now), I play to improve and I play to win in competition.  I rarely play non-multiplayer games, and when I do, the speed-run or score is on my mind, as that is how people compete in those games.  The feeling of mastery is the best feeling there is, and that’s what I want out of games.  That’s right, I’m a “try-hard,” and proud of it.  My best games are Soul Calibur V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Heroes of Newerth.  Go ahead, youtube either Signia or Signia949 and see what you find.

5:45 for actual footage of that feeling when you crush your opponents.

As for my career aspirations, I am most interested in design of educational games or programs.  I have witnessed firsthand how players can improve themselves through training and experience playing a game, and how a very real difference in ability can emerge, so I know that games can be the perfect avenue for training new skills.

So, when playing games, for this class and otherwise, I primarily critique two things: the way the game challenges the player, and the way players learn to overcome the challenges.  It is of utmost importance to identify the skills being tested and how the game compels the player to improve, for without a sense of skill, of good plays and bad plays, and the resulting punishment and reward, the game’s choices, the defining feature of games,  feel arbitrary and meaningless.  Not only would choices in the game already be mostly inconsequential for the game of life outside of it, but they would have no meaning even within the game’s context, and with that, neither learning by classical conditioning nor feeling of mastery is possible.

So, that’s where I am going into this.


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