Reading Response #6

to Artful Design, Chapter 6: Game Design

Frankie S.

2022 November 6

Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

Reading Response: The Value of Play

I want to start by saying I really like your take on games. My favorite quote from this reading was “That we find such value in play, to me, is profound evidence that we are capable of being truly free–that we are free.” This feels super optimistic, and specifically the kind of optimism that Stanford students need more of. Games are actionable creations that we can put out into the world. Play is something we do to announce and enjoy our freedom as individuals. There is progress to be made here. I feel similarly about storytelling and art at large. Humans like stories. We listen to, and watch, and play through them all the time. These stories carry with them messages that can shape our opinions, change our minds, and have the power to impact structural shifts in the big institutions that often feel unchangeable and unmoving. You have found this optimism in games. I often find it in stories. But more often than not I think we are after the same thing. I think I’d even like to play around with games as a method of achieving those changes.

One piece of this reading that was hard for me to ignore is the sadness–betrayal even–I felt to myself as I was reading it. I used to love games. I don’t play them anymore. I’m worried that I won’t be able to separate myself from my work as I get older. I find it hard enough while I’m here at Stanford, and I suppose Stanford could be the exception, but really I am worried that this will be the case going forward as well. I miss playing games for no reason at all. I miss sitting down on a Sunday with nothing to do and grabbing my DS and opening Pokemon Diamond to battle pokemon and conquer each gym in the Sinnoh region. Uncovering a new piece of the story. I want to do that more. Maybe once this quarter is over :/

One more thing (a p.s. we shall say). The game The Broken Age, which is an app that can be played on iPhone, is an incredible game with a great story, beautiful graphics, and you should check it out :)