Some professors of video game design can dissect the mechanics of engagement, others can argue the strengths of specific design techniques, and others can tell you how to code these elements to make a game successful, but they all share one trait: they love to play video games.
This summer, American University Professor Lindsay Grace’s personal video game picks run the gamut from old-school throwbacks to up-and-coming newcomers. Grace, director of AU’s Game Lab, has been playing:
- “Broken Age” — A novel point-and-click graphic adventure
- “Gradius” — A shooting game with an outer space setting that Grace is playing on the original Nintendo Entertainment System
- “RC Pro-Am” — A single-player racing game that is playing via Sega Genesis
The distinct differences between these games is giving Grace a holistic approach to research during the summer break of 2017. For instance, “Broken Age” has a unique narrative that delves into how dystopic actions play out in a world that is seemingly without conflict.
“This is particularly interesting for both narrative and game design because we often create both of these around some form of conflict,” Grace said.
Although “Gradius” and “RC Pro-Am” are much older, with simpler graphics, Grace is gleaning much joy and many ideas form his time spent playing these games, too.
“‘Gradius’ and ‘RC Pro-Am’ are helping me re-experience algorithmic-level design and ramping up challenge in a satisfying way,” he said, adding that all three of his summer gaming forays are activating his creative juices.
“I’m considering combing all three of these game experiences into a game I’ll create this summer,” Grace said.
- According to GameSpot, “Gradius” was one of the most difficult side-scrolling shooter games available on the NES. “Contra” was the only game rated as more difficult.
- Did you know that “Broken Age” began as a Kickstarter Project?
Learn About the Game Lab
Learn more about how professors and students from American University’s Game Lab are helping shape the way video games affect our world. Visit www.american.edu/gamelab today.