This will be an ongoing blog series that looks at how game design relates to the rest of life and how the rest of life relates to game design. I like to live holistically and find there is much to be gained from integrating as many aspects of my life as possible. I am also starting the new year by reflecting on the last year and what I have learned and examining what game design has taught me about life in general.
I started last year taking a sabbatical from work to focus on learning the ins and outs of game design. As this was a mostly unstructured process I developed several methods to keep me on task. My favorite method was the awarding of points for work done. Each chapter I read in my game design books, each playtest, each new prototype was worth a set amount of points and 10 points, or 15 or 20 could be redeemed for a reward. Rewards were going out to dinner, taking a trip, buying a new game.
Truth be told this structure didn’t hold up very long. But it did give me a new perspective on my learning and made it fun and challenging. One of the strongest attributes of games is that they are a structure for learning that is engaging and fun because we are playing. By looking at my game design education as a game (even one without strict rules) I was able to become more engrossed and more excited about the different aspects. Each time I did a playtest I was excited not only for the playtest but because I felt I was playing the game well. Life is the greatest game ever, full of resource management, puzzling decisions, intense player interaction and though it is often fun and exciting it can also be tedious and boring. Looking at life as a game allows us to step back, take a deep breath and engage with it from a new perspective. For me it is one that allows me to challenge myself and take joy in challenges and joy in the rewards.