One of the biggest things I found from the PC Gamer Weekender was the amount of early-stage games designers there. People who’d just taken their first steps into the world of gaming, and were showing off their first creations to the world. One of the most fascinating experiences I had was at the National Film and Television School booth – an initiative whereby students design video games as part of an MA degree. Now, this is pretty darn incredible I think. So many people I know would love to design games, but they just don’t know how. Getting to learn how the process works, by building both the skill and artistic direction in a framework like that is an amazing thing. And talking to the students there, getting to discuss their games and the ideas they had behind what they were trying to say was just incredible.
The games themselves were a sample of the kind of thing the students were interested in. Short, narrative driven titles exploring simple yet robust mechanics and getting a sense of trying something a bit different with video games. The potential that was on display was astonishing, and it’s the sort of environment where some of the most revolutionary and outright fantastic games can come from. The people I spoke with all shared an absolute love of games, and will – I guarantee – be some of the future games designers to look out for.
The idea of producing video games as part of a course isn’t a new one, but the thought of having your creation released into the community when it’s finished has the potential to be something really quite special. The thought of sitting around with your friends and discussing what you’ve just played, even if it’s a 5-minute game that tries to impart a message to you, it’s an aspect I think which could be phenomenal, given the right people to talk about it. It all comes down to a love of games and sharing that, and that for me is always the best thing in the world.
UPDATE: Below are the list of students who showed me their astonishing offerings, and links to some demos too!