Critical Review

The University year has reached its end and with it my time at DJCAD is also almost over. This final year has been incredible and I think most of it has to do with my project.

I’ve always had this dream to work on games, possibly ever since I started playing them as a child. Unfortunately it’s one of those dreams that require dedication, it needs you to dedicate yourself entirely to it and learning things you have never had to do before. Essentially it’s one of those dreams that you keep pushing back, thinking that you will one day get to it.

In April of last year I learned that Hideo Kojima, one of my favorite designers, started working in the industry when he was just 23 years old. At the time I was 22 and I suddenly realised that I had done nothing to work towards my dream. Despite having all the chances to do so, I had never even tried it. I think that was the moment that finally pushed me over the edge. It made me realise I had to put aside my fears and start working on what I wanted to do.

I knew I would have a whole year of University to work on whatever project I wanted unfortunately my previous enquiries about presenting a game had been met with less than enthusiastic behavior. I understand why, a game is weird, it doesn’t really follow the usual projects that are presented. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea, nevertheless I felt like I had to do it.

Honestly? I’m incredibly glad I did. I have now been working on this project for more than a year and I have loved every single moment of it. I had no idea working on a game required so much depth of knowledge in so many fields or that it required extensive thought and planning even for the smallest details. There was definitely a turning point. Things that I had been working on separately suddenly started to fit together in the bigger scheme. Talking to people, making this character move and seeing those people having fun with what I made was incredible.

Don’t get me wrong this project has been mentally exhausting, it has required me to put thousands of hours in research and development. But looking back on it now, I’m not tired of it. I wouldn’t mind putting another thousand hours into it at all.

It’s not easy to put into words what I’m trying to say. This was so rewarding and so fun that despite the endless nights in front of a screen writing code it was all worth it to see my project coming together. It’s hard to express that I’m sure that I have found what I want to do for as long as I can. I’ve worked in design for a long time, pretty much since I discovered the internet. But nothing has ever sucked me in like this project before.

I have to admit, I am kind of trying to cheat the system. I’m not technically presenting a game, I’m presenting the method behind it and using what I created as proof. I’m sure that is going to be very annoying for my lecturers and external examiners. But I hope they can look past that and see how much design work has gone into getting this project to where it is now.

Games are seen as a highly technical endeavor, I’m sure many designers just think of them more as something a programmer should make, entirely unrelated to design. I’ve already received comments from other lecturers about this, and I understand it entirely. But if there is something that I hope my project will get across is that design and games are the ultimate meeting point of technology and design. Games aren’t just code, they’re just incredibly complex products, interfaces, user testing, research all coming together into a single project.