Anyone Can Be A Game Designer… Uh False.

Posted: September 16, 2012 in INFR 3330
Tags: , ,

As the new school year starts, more game related work has begun to start piling up alongside textbook readings.

The first chapter of The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses for Game Design (INFR 3330) has an interesting way of starting off. The textbook declares that yes indeed, anyone can be a game designer and apparently all you need to do is say out loud “I am a game designer.” Now if it was only really that easy. I suppose it is true you can say you are a game designer and start designing games, but there is a huge learning curve to being a good game designer, versus a poor self proclaimed game designer.

After declaring that you only need to say you are a game designer, it then lists a large set of skills a game designer needs. So in reality, not everybody can be a game designer then, since it does require specific skills no? Things such as animation, anthropology, architecture, brainstorming, business, cinematography, communication, creative writing, economics, engineering, history, management, mathematics, music, psychology, public speaking, sound design, technical writing, and visual arts. That is a huge slew of skills that a game designer needs to know/posses is it not? I don’t think an everyday shmoe can declare “I IS GAME DESIGNER” and be on his way.

Although I may be twisting the words of the book to prove my point that no, not everyone can be a game designer, the textbook does list what I am paraphrasing.

I think those people who are game designers or are on a journey to become one aren’t everyday shmoes. What they have is a passion for something they enjoy and want to enrich themselves on. Just because you think it sounds cool, or the job looks cool doesn’t mean you can just become on. I believe the journey towards being a good game designer is a hard and long one; where you improve continuously applying new concepts and skills.

Here’s a good example of someone who tried to be a game designer, but didn’t end well. Kanye West. Yepp. That’s right, Kanye West tried to be a game designer when he was younger. Taken from the magazine Details, an interview with Mr. West reveals:

“First beat I did,” he recalls, “was in seventh grade, on my computer. I got into doing beats for the video games I used to try to make. My game was very sexual. The main character was, like, a giant penis. It was like Mario Brothers, but the ghosts were, like, vaginas. Mind you, I’m 12 years old, and this is stuff 30-year-olds are programming. You’d have to draw in and program every little step—it literally took me all night to do a step, ’cause the penis, y’know, had little feet and eyes.”

Source: Details Interview: Kanye West

Although the idea might seem hilarious to some, I don’t think reskinning Super Mario Bros. with a penis for its main character seems like a good game design choice/project. Not trying to ruin anyone’s phallic starred blockbuster game, but this idea lacked the skills of a good game designer and was not thought out entirely.

Later on though, he changed his focus to just music. Thank goodness.

Contrary to the textbooks belief, maybe not everyone is cut out to be a game designer.

  1. I totally agree with your concept of this paraphrase, not everyone has what it takes to become a game designer. I believe in what you state about the average ‘shmoe’, if you want it you are willing to put the hours of work in and continuously develop as an individual that’s when you call yourself a designer.

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