Finds out that video games aren’t so lame…
By Claire Nunez
To many, video games are an escape from the real-world, a way to go somewhere else without leaving your couch. To me, video games are super difficult. I have no flexibility in my fingers so playing video games is not the easiest. I also have no interest in hopping down green tubes or playing virtual warfare. For so long, video games were just dumb, then I picked up another major and I ended up in a class focused solely on video game design.
“Kill. Me. Now.” I said as I walked into the class. A three-hour class on video games? No thank you. I only wanted this class to count for some of the electives for my second major—New Media and Digital Design. I just picked up this major because I needed something else to make my Political Science major a bit more marketable. I intended to take mostly digital marketing classes, but a lot of them were full when I was fidgeting with my schedule again in December. So here I was, stuck in this dumb class. The last thing I wanted to do was have to play any Mario game with anyone.
I sat towards the back of the class with some people who seemed as uninterested as I was. The professor, Nicholas Hubbard walked in and caught my attention. He was this young, hip guy— not nerdy at all. Once he started talking about video games, I was oddly surprised to find out a lot of people in the class did not know what he was talking about. I mean, like some did, but they didn’t go too in-depth about the games they’ve played. I learned that we all spoke the same language.
For the first few weeks, we played all sorts of different narrative video games. We discussed the importance of the story. Over time, the story lost prominence in the video game world and it became more about how fast you can flick your fingers around an Xbox controller. We played a lot of adventure games, like Machinarium and The Choice of Broadsides. I never really looked at video games as a form of art, but I began to appreciate the beauty not only in the animations, but also in the mechanics of the games. I never thought that I could really change my mind about video games because I had such an aversion to them, but here we are.
This class, ironically, has made me more social. You would think I would just be sitting around playing video games. I made some friends in this class. It turns out that yes, I do have the ability to make friends (that is a surprise to anyone that knows me because I hate making new friends).. It turns out that when you put twenty creative minds in a room, something beautiful is bound to happen. During our class discussions, we came up with some pretty cool video game pitches. Our professor helped us streamline our ideas and gave us critical feedback. I don’t think I have ever had someone help me with my creative process so much before.
Now that we are towards the end of the semester, I have learned so much about the mechanics of video games— I have even made two of my own. I never realized how many different coding languages are involved in making video games. We first started out with a more elementary-level game making software called ChoiceScript. It is very much like HTML or CSS and is easy to pick up. I was surprised how capable I was at creating a fun and eccentric gaming experience. My first game is called A Work in Progress and it revolved around the player character trying to figure out a post-grad life. I bet you can guess where I got my inspiration from.
Taking this class was a mistake, but it is one I learned a lot from—it was a happy accident. I have found a passion. I never even realized that I could use my creativity to make video games. It is so cool! It has even helped me in my other classes. It has taught me to think of everything more as a story. I am my own controller and I can create whatever narrative I’d like to. If I could take this class again, I 100% would mainly because it has forced me to think more creatively. I am so glad that all of the digital marketing classes I was going to take were filled because I really have rekindled my passion for creative work. Take Game Narrative if you ever get the chance, you will never regret it.