30 Things This Blog is About (#2: Game Design Theory/Practice)

I grew up with video games, and they’ve informed a lot of my life. From being a kid who played games while spending as little time on homework as possible (I did well in classes because it meant I could blow off doing homework which, in turn, meant more video game time) to an adult who has pursued and accomplished the dream of being a professional video game designer, games have been with me for my whole life.

When I was much younger, I played a Super Nintendo game that stuck with me– it was called Lagoon, and it frustrated me to no end. Despite playing it for many, many hours, I was never able to complete the first dungeon, despite having played and beaten many similar games. I struggled for a long time with it. Lagoon is a game of middling-to-low reviews, which in this case means that it was a very pretty, compelling presentation marred by some fundamental flaws. I desperately wanted to like that game, but that fun eluded me at every turn.

It wasn’t until later that I was able to internalize that games were not all created equal, and a failure on my part to find the fun in a game was not necessarily a flaw in myself. It sparked, for 7-year-old me, the thought that actual people (with actual person flaws) were responsible for making video games, and that if they could do it, I could to. It marked a change for me between being a person who merely consumed games and one who actively thought about the games I played and why they worked.

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