To Serve (For) Human Minds

Oct 23, 2018


ROOM 211



How I might describe the talk in a blurb: Unless you’re making a game that only you will play, every game you will ever work on will make more sense to you than it will to the end user. A little copy of you will not ship along with the game to navigate the player around a bug, your players will invariably wish you had created more content no matter how much you produce, and your specific sense of fun is probably applicable to a smaller percentage of the world than you realize.

This talk aims to explore how to let criticism and impossible demands fuel your designs, as taught by years of computer roleplaying game development. While most relevant to game designers (as the talk will primarily explore various hits and misses of game design), the talk is intended to be philosophically applicable to developers of any discipline. Even rougher draft that’s intended purely for this application process: This talk is a sort of career-retrospective with a focus on my evolving sense of what my job actually is (vs. what I think it should be/ought to be).

Having gone from a junior designer with stupidly out-of-scope ideas to a project director with the power to pulverize hopes and dreams, I’ve come to firmly believe that even if you’re not making ‘games as a service,’ you are a servant to the player.

You have your job because your judgment and tastes are maybe a little better than that of the average gamer, but to think your imagination is superior (or to consider yourself immune to feedback) is how forgettable games are made.

  • Matt MacLean