“Sir yuh play game too?”
This question never fails to put a smile on my face. Growing up in the mellow, relaxed, “highly vegetative” district of Williamsfield, (St. Elizabeth) life was rather interesting as a lad. Nevertheless, as different as I might have been from my peers, one string still weaves us together, video games. The plethora of impacts that creative media like video games have are both frightening and alluring to an Educator like me. I have some “dull- uninterested” students who “light-up” the moment they hear Pub-G, Free fire, Roblox, Naruto and Fifa. I have touched their world. Video games, are tools for and of learning but more than just that, it is a world shaped by Homosapiens where you are in control.
Therefore, seeing a price-reasonable and inviting opportunity to tap into this rich world of video games would undoubtedly peek my interest. Though hesitant, my Instagram feed (nor my conscience) would not fail to remind me of the Seprod’s Foundation Flyer. I wanted to apply right away but as a man of many hats, my time was low. However after speaking with a dear friend I took a leap of faith and applied for the Scholarship. “If a dirt a dirt. God yuh see and yuh know.” These were my words as I submitted my online application. I was nervous yet confident about what this experience could be like. Eventually, I received a call while at work and that’s where my new chapter would begin.
In the beginning I had a few hiccups along the way but then the staff assisted me graciously. Once I had gotten through I was greeted by a new platform. (I must add that I had no prior programming or training in this field.) However, my fears were eased when I saw how structured and clear the information was. In Act 1 the essence was Rational Game Design, Forms and Functions and the structure of the team who work to produce these games. (Personally, the Creative Director holds my interest). I also learnt a great deal about the mechanics of games and how certain skills can be honed. This was where my objective was met, as I was now learning about the relation between video games and certain skills. These offered the framework of what game I wanted to build. I focused on mental skills (like memorization, logic, etc.) and social skills like Cooperation, leadership and personality reading. I would dedicate my evenings and then my Saturdays to making my notes. All was going quite smooth until I had mistimed one of the deadlines when finishing my final exam. However, that was quickly rectified in a few days and I had successfully finished my first Act. The final project was a breeze thanks to the available layouts and I even left likes on the presentation of others. (Shout-out to the Maroon- fighter game idea! Very creative)
Tackling Act Two I made sure to set my alarms and calendar reminders! I was determined to give this my best and see if I could land one of those top scores. The topics covered were from Prototypes and the Dynamic systems to a new concept I learnt about called the “flow state”. (I encourage everyone to dive into this topic.) I tried a new approach in terms of studies and found that I was able to get through most of the content with the aid of the resources mentioned. I made sure to use my “keys” (these were rewards that unlocked additional content). Fun fact: Watch the interviews and hear about the real world application to all that you are learning. I was excited to see that my alma mater, Concordia University was there! (Gladly, I did video game testing while on my exchange programme). The final project was not as mountainous as it seemed and I closed the course with a 90% for the final exam. My presentation took the format of a Zoom Conference call and I felt confident in drafting my first game. I have now “wet my foot” in the water of game designing and look forward to the ocean of opportunities that I may embark upon.
My final words for anyone embarking on this course are to be dedicated, take notes and enjoy the experience. Though there is work to complete, proper planning and your motivation will see you through. I am eternally grateful for this scholarship as often times; youth from the rural communities are often robbed of these opportunities because of a lack of resources. I hope one day to aid a dedicated gamer in covering these costs. I plan to use my new-gained knowledge to encourage those students and fellow Homosapiens who are passionate gamers, to consider venturing into this field. Even if you don’t love video games in general, you’d be surprised to know how creative, logicians, and all the personality types are needed to produce the overall package. If you know someone who may benefit from this program, please encourage them to apply! After all, “there is nothing wrong with Jamaica, that can’t be fixed by Jamaicans.” Looking forward to sharing and learning with you! Till next time gamers, walk good!