SNHU Game Design Showcase and Exhibition

In my time at Southern New Hampshire University, I’ve been on a long search for a way to leave my impact on this place. Game Design is a big part of my life, and I believe it should tie into most of what I do. I’ve worked hard over the past four years to have a meaningful experience both in my education as well as my extra curricular involvement on campus. I was an RA for three years, trying to incorporate my knowledge of games into fun and interactive activities for the brilliant minds in my hallways.

I joined the campus newspaper, the Penmen Press, in order to spread objective finite details in the form of game reviews. While it was fulfilling, I knew that my true calling was creating a sense of connectedness between the university and local game developers.

Over the summer I created the site you’re currently reading this on, and by extension a lot of the creative content including the podcast and other discussion based creative work. The more I focused on what made games good, the more I came to the understanding that game design is an inherently social beast, regardless of the shape it takes. In order to truly understand the social elements of game design, we must understand the types of games people around us are developing, and expand the social consciousness of our entire industry.

I started planning the SNHU Game Design Showcase and Exhibition in an attempt to show that I believe in the game industry here in New Hampshire, and the noteworthy achievements of my peers. I’d done one Game Design Expo before, back when Mustapha’s Game Room was a baby blog and I was just an overly ambitious high school student. This event lacked the same sort of purpose and resources, as it was more of a charity fundraiser for a library I worked for.

This new event was going to build on similar ideas and principles, that games have the potential to bring people together, but combine it with four years worth of university level game design teachings.

Now that I’ve gone on for ages about the philosophy behind this event, I should make mention of how the event went.

While this event didn’t have the incredible attendance of a PAX or a Boston FIG, it did offer a very good environment of free press and testing for a lot of very talented developers. Students, outside companies, alumni, and more gathered to show off some of the most innovative and intuitive games ever made. Whether they were treading the difficult path of VR development or adding twists to beloved genres such as bullet hell shooters and action packed platformers, these games were using limited resources to churn out some very strong design, visuals, and controls.

We also were honored with the incredibly seasoned Chuck Carter as our keynote speaker, offering all of us some pretty incredible insight into what we can do as aspiring game designers and developers in order to make games for a living. The career elements are present, but perhaps nothing strikes as much of a chord as the mentality that those in the industry are encouraged to have. Dedication and persistence are great to have, and talent is absolutely important, but nothing is quite as integral to a career in the industry as the ability to work hard and work on your own. Creating content to show how you think, how you solve tasks, how you interact with others, and how you approach conflict is the primary way of displaying that you’re prepared for these sorts of things.

 

Chuck Carter and our outside exhibitors were incredibly strong and impactful, but what made me the proudest was witnessing the community of SNHU students who showed off a plethora of games. There’s something to be said for a community that stands together to do great things, and despite what some people may believe, video games are truly great. They are an impactful medium, allowing people from all walks of life to experience real magic. The magic of interactivity, of changed perspective.

To conclude, I created the Game Room on the sole principle of emphasizing the important aspects of the innately social nature of games as a medium. The SNHU Game Design Showcase and Exhibition is just a further extension of those same principles. So a profound thank you is deserved, to all those who helped me plan, who exhibited, who provided funding and support. I owe an especially large thanks to Chuck Carter, who managed to save us when we were very close to having an event with no keynote speaker. I also owe thanks to Professor Ed Brillant, who helped me through an entire year of planning and prevented me from going at this process blind.

Next steps will be to do a post-mortem process and determine what we can do next year to set ourselves on the right track to growing and expanding the event. One last thanks for all who’ve attended, and most importantly of all, a thanks to you, the reader! The Game Room has afforded me so many great opportunities. This website, the YouTube Channel, the Twitter, and more. This brand has given me an avenue with which to share my perspectives and beliefs about this medium. So thank you for sticking with me for so long, thank you for reading this post, and make sure you come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

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