Friday, March 6, 2015

Game Design? Yes please.

So, I have hit a new game design threshold today -- I found a game system that I appreciate as a player, but I have no real interest in designing anything for it, as does the thing it does and doesn't have a lot of room for customization. That's not a bad thing, especially if your goals for game theme line up with the themes of that rules system. I'm a hippy indie gamer at heart, though, apparently, and I really have a thing for custom (or customized) rules systems that focus on bringing out a particular feel in a game. This is not to say that universal systems are bad, but rather that they aren't my choice anymore -- and I say that as someone who came up in the industry during the d20 boom.

I mention this primarily because I think one of the underrated things about game design, particularly as a woman in game design, is having opinions about games. And I don't mean ethical or cultural or feminist opinions, because those are actually expected and hang like neat little ribbons on your "game designer" badgeholder. I mean actual systems-based, mechanical opinions. And look, I have one. And it's okay to admit it. And it's still a bit vague, though that's mostly just because I think which game system it is is rather unimportant in the larger scheme.

I am really interested in the types of games minority game designers make. I'm even more interested in how they make those expressions of their beliefs and experience work mechanically in a game, assuming that they choose to do so in the first place. I think there's a lot to be learned from systems application in RPGs, and it's something we should talk about more than we do in the sort of off-center design space we inhabit.