Not too long ago, I began to design a game of my own, with an idea in my head, twinkle in my eye,
and the youthful enthusiasm that is common among humanity. Not too long later, I began to seriously
resaerch and ponder what games were, and what making one entailed, sobering a little. Not too long
after that, I began to seriously question my earlier ideas of what a game was, where they came,
what they could do, and to put my idea to the test, quickly finding it to be a broken mess. At this final
point, the fluttering of the heart became a slow burning determination, and a serious hunger for
understanding of the subject I had previously taken for granted, and this brings me to now, as I write
this blog post.
It's been a very eventful seven months to be sure.
I am Rodney Emerson, an illustrator still studying his craft, and just a few steps past the starting line
of starting a acquiring a new one. Like many here, I long held dreams of making my own game since
my youth playing Sonic 2 on my then beloved Sega Genesis. Said dreams grew and grew as I was
exposed to more games, news about games, art from games, and other such things that feuled
fantasies. When I got my hand on a graphing calculator, the first thing I did was learn how to
program it so I could play games on it. While I didn't keep the inclination toward programming, going
for drawing instead, this pull toward video games never died. It took me a long time to finally bite the
bullet and seriously give game making a shot, and my perspective changed quite a bit when I finally
decided to seriously persue it. I did a lot of reading, some playing, and a LOT of writing in journals on
this subject, and now I'd like to bring some fruits of that small bit of labor out in to the public. I figured
that having an audience, leaving myself open to any comments or criticism, would be a good
motivator to continue. While I do have a blog specifically on the project I am making, it's still small
and out of the way, and I wanted to be in a space with more experienced game designers, increasing
the possibility of useful comments. But, before I start posting about my project, I wanted to list out
my goals and ideals concerning game design as a whole. This is to put my future and past posts on
this site into perspective, and also a hopefully long-lasting reminder to my future self. Many people
have ideals as to what they want to do with their path in game design, I see it come out whenever I
read posts here, and I will be no different in that regard. So with not further ado...
1. I want to make games that, in some way, enriches the people who play them. When a
person is playing someone's game, they're giving that person they're time, a precious thing
that cannot be gotten back. With that in mind, I simply cannot aim to make something in
which it's only function is to eat time on the bus.
2. I believe games are art, they're just not the kind of people are used to, nor the kind of art
that is often billed as “art games”. Games don't talk like books, nor like movies, nor like
television. But many games I see nowadays try with maximum effort to be like books, movies,
or television. I feel this does a diservice to game's true stregnth, and only serves to make what
should be a dynamic, long lasting system of play into a consumable experience that can be
tossed aside after it is eaten. This is not to say that I don't appreciate a nice narrative game
experience from time to time, but I don't think games should aim to be this as their highest
form, it's an insult to what games are.
3. Excessive, indulgant, and brutal violence is pervasive in games, so much so that for many
AAA games, “murder simulator” is not jeering from people who don't get it, but simple and
evident truth. I don't think it has to be this way, and I won't be adding to the the blood pool.
4. The above goes for violence's slutty partner-in-crime, as well.
5. I there is one element of video game designing that I dispise, it is the idea of intentially using
psychological manipulation to keep the player playing. I was never a fan of grinding games in
the first place, and reading up on things like reward schedules, skinner boxes, and other such
things only cemented it. I'll do everything I can possibly do to avoid this sort of thing.
6. Sid Meier described games as a series of interesting choices. In chess, bringing a pawn
forward is a meaningful choice. In Go, placing a stone is a meaningful choice. I aim to achieve
7. I will do everything in my power to avoid the hot button social issues of the day, nor will I
bother to list them, as they have nothing to do with the improvement of games, but are only
displays of a mass of negative human traits that one can find literally anywhere on the internet.
These are the major things I aim to do when it comes to game design. There's more to it, of course,
but I feel to list anymore would be taking too much time from actually designing prototypes, and
figuring out how they work/don't work. I'll be posting about actually designing protoypes and the
projects I am working on later, as well as any insights and thought I have about my person game
design process. Thank you for reading.
Until Next time...