What I'm Excited About...

This is an attempt to articulate the basic motivation behind my passion for games, the drive underlying all my explanations of Why I Care About Games. What is it that excites me, at this very basic level?

In the abstract, the things that get me excited are figuring out how to expand the limits of what people think is possible, and helping other people appreciate the things that I find interesting or beautiful. As an example of the former, a big part of the appeal of calculator game programming for me was being able to do things that people would have never thought possible with the horribly inefficient language TI-BASIC, like make a rudimentary raycasting engine for a simple FPS, or an action game with actual pixel art graphics. It was really fun to explore the possibility space of the platform, researching the most obscure functions to see if they could somehow be put to use in making games just that much faster, or establishing a standard set of ugly but beautiful shortcuts and optimizations just to shave off a few bytes or milliseconds. And of course to share and show off these tricks with other calculator programmers online.

Now I direct this creative energy toward exploring new forms for Games (with a capital G) as a whole, expanding on what people think of and what they think is possible with something that is a "game". Not an easy task. The thing that excites me the most, and what I consider to be my life's work, is to help the medium of Games grow into its own as a powerful vehicle for understanding, expressing, and sharing views of the world and dreams for the future. I believe that Games have the potential to be as significant a new medium as the printed word ever was, perhaps more, and as powerful a force for change, hopefully beneficial. I will do what I can to make sure it happens, and happens in the best way possible.

One way I think this will happen, and where I am most interested at the moment, is through transforming education. I am very passionate about improving the quality of education in terms of its effectiveness and potential to benefit all life and living, particularly by using games to teach - teaching through games. As a student, I have experienced, and continue to experience, my fair share of less-than-optimal education. I'm convinced that such instances could have resulted in much more effective and enjoyable learning if only they had been conceived and structured as games. Computer and video games have much to offer to education, not only in game design theory but directly, using actual game software to enhance traditional schooling. It is an area to which I've directed a significant portion of my game design energy.

And as I mentioned earlier, what motivates me from project to project is in connecting those fields that I find interesting and sharing my appreciation with others, whether that is in Persian classical music, the martial art and philosophy Aikido, the beauty of plants, or Northwest Coast native art, among many others. Games simply happen to be the default mode of expression I turn to when imagining how to accomplish this.


tm65 said...

Hi Alex,

Good blog. Education through gaming, particularly social gaming is indeed an under explored territory. Quite interested in hearing more about your ideas on your blog.



axcho said...

Thank you. I'm glad to know that you're interested in hearing more about this stuff on my blog. I never really know what people will want to read about, so that's a good suggestion. :)

I'll start thinking about what to write...