One of the things that made this spring bright was teaching a game design class on the Foundations of Play down at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In this class, we designed, modified and playtested outdoor games that used a variety of physical equipment.
I've always dreamed of working and teaching in parallel... part of a life-long desire to give back to the game design community through education. And while teaching took hard work and planning, I found that the bi-weekly commute to SC became one of my most productive thinking times... evaluating the lesson, reflecting on the games we're making at the studio, and daydreaming about the future. It's easy to get lost in work and forget to dream...
It was also an opportunity to learn and be inspired. Being on campus around so many young, fresh faces gives you a whole different feeling about the world and our potential to change it. And teaching design to young people always lends new perspective to time-worn methods and ideas. In the class, students designed games based on themes that they randomly selected from a Taschen's Book of Symbols - and used basic playground supplies (hula hoops, baseballs, water balloons, jump ropes and so on) to deliver games that felt true to their abstract themes.
Each game had a unique feeling, and it was a pleasure to dole out kudos and prizes when the final playtest concluded. I am so glad I had a chance to meet the students, and work alongside the amazing DANM program, faculty and staff. Here's to returning next year!