Oh. My. GOD.

by

All right. I think if I stay in this class, I am actually going to go insane.

Unfortunately, I need the grade. So it looks like starkers is the way I’m going.

The class to which I am referring is a “Game Level Design” class. I signed up thinking it was going to be pretty cool. I thought I was going to get an inside look at design philosophy, theories of flow in gameplay and all sorts of other cool things.

Instead I get a teacher whose voice is several shades beyond sedative. He’s an old man who uses terminology that would shame Ted Stevens. We haven’t looked at a single screenshot of a single game. He’s been showing us PowerPoint slides. The questions he’s asked in class have been the rhetorical-sounding kind, but he always leaves a giant, lengthy pause as if he expects someone to answer him. Uh, do you want me to read, out loud,┬áthe fucking slide you just put up?

I understand many teachers feel that asking questions is a way of drawing students into a lecture. The questions he is asking could be reasonably answered in two ways- reading the fucking slide, or giving a subjective, philosophical dissertation on the subject he has broached. He wants neither: he wants the “right” answer, which is almost always a massive, massive oversimplification.

For instance, he brings up aesthetics. “What ARE aesthetics?” he asks. The slide behind him says that aesthetics are a way of “artistically drawing the player into the game by providing interesting visuals.” Someone answers that aesthetics are “a set of design philosophies which provide interesting and beautiful things for the player to see and/or interact with in order to increase immersion in the game.”

The professor pauses for a moment. “Yes, you could say that,” he clears his throat and looks around the classroom. “But another way of saying it is that aesthetics are about making the game look GOOD!” He smiles and looks around, obviously pleased with himself and expecting the faces of his students to reflect appreciation at his wit.

Then he starts talking about Spider Solitaire.

This class makes me want to kill myself. This class is an affront to intelligent life in the universe.

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