“magician’s escape” is a stage in taito’s cameltry that begins with the player’s marble encased in a cage of blocks through which she must smash to make her getaway. this isn’t a level design lesson: i’m moving from the bronx to the san francisco bay in twenty-four hours and the theme of escape seems pertinent to me.
for the past four months i’ve been attending the guildhall, a videogame design school. it’s been a very frustrating experience, as the curriculum is focused on job placement within the industry rather than teaching good design. after four months of butting heads with conservative instructors, i was finally asked to leave.
“we’re not going to change, and you’re not going to change,” the director of the school told me.
the problem with the program, to put it as briefly as i probably will over the next few months, is that it was built for the industry and not for the students. it “prepares students” for the industry by molding them into exactly the kind of workers big publishers are looking for: the program simulates crunch time all the time, so that graduates won’t complain when being asked to sacrifice their own time for the schedule. as others have pointed out, this type of curriculum favors the existing dominant paradigm of the industry: young males with no children or family to depend on them (only two of my classmates were attempting to raise children while attending the school, and just a handful more were women). the problem, obviously, is that the industry will never change when the school provides exactly what it demands.
if you’re interested in having me write or build a game for you, now would be a perfect time to contact me. my email address can be found in the sidebar at the right of this page. this also seems like a good time to point out that there’s a “donate” button on that sidebar too.
i feel like a tremendous weight’s been lifted from my shoulders, but that’s small comfort when the ground’s opened up beneath my feet.
we’d better get off our asses if we want a videogames medium we’ll be proud to show our grandchildren! i’m eager to get my hands dirty with a new blog.