Expression Through Design

Right now I’m working on classwork for a board game. It’s hard to write about without sounding like I’m complaining about someone else in the group, which sucks.

The thing is, they didn’t do anything wrong. The basics of it is that they started with a suggestion of a thing to make, and then when we made it, claimed that they didn’t want to make that at all. When we did presentations on the subject, they were waylaid from talking about the game – the systems that made the game work – but was caught up talking about the content of the cards, the anecdotes from her life.

This struck me as pretty interesting.

Particularly, this got me interested in how they were approaching this problem. Games are a mode of expression. They’re art, simply. We make games to tell stories about ourselves or our experiences or what we hope or feel. I when presented with the task to make a thing that was bitter focused on ways that the whole system could be bitter. The idea that the world was unfair and horrible, and that some people just don’t have an option for success. That sucks. That really sucks. But it’s true to my view of the world – there are some of us who are doomed and we’re just going to do our best to make our lives tolerable while we circle the drain.

Today, I also saw Rami talking about how his religion informs his game designs. Such as how he doesn’t include alcohol in his games, because he’s a Muslim. About how I regard Ken Levine as being pretentious and ill-informed. About how Christine Love expresses serious and morose thoughts about the possible transformation of society by best-intentioned evils. About my classmate, who wanted to vent about their bitterness, but did not want to talk about the way that bitterness may be part of something more.

We don’t just play games to tell stories, we also make games to tell stories.

I worry about the kind of stories I tell.

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