Daily Illuminator

March 16, 2011: Lectures On Game Design

Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving two game design lectures at Northeastern University. It makes me very happy to have made it to a century in which game design is actually taught in schools. I'm glad to be a small part of that, and I'd like to do more.

If I were putting together a degree in game design now, though, I'd recommend some of the courses I took 30+ years ago that are still helping me today:

  • Basic journalism: how to explain things clearly, in as few words as possible, starting with the single most important thought and working from there - and how to do it ON DEADLINE.

  • Contracts and Legislation, the two most useful courses I had in law school: how to write "rules" documents that define their terms, are not open to multiple interpretations, and clearly cover all contingencies.

  • Probability and Statistics.

  • Poli Sci 101: because it's very important to have an idea how people make decisions in groups!

Courses that I didn't take, but wish I had, include technical writing (for obvious reasons), basic architecture (do you have any idea how many floor plans I have drawn without knowing what I was doing?) and some sort of Business 101. That's right, I've never taken a business course, but I'm not bragging; I'm sure it would have done me good.

-- Steve Jackson

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