If Video Game Design School Was Really Like A Video Game

By Jeremy M. Zoss in Features
Friday, October 14, 2011 at 10:00 am
Guest article by Greg Voakes

Video game design is a dream for a lot of people, mainly because they love video games and don't understand what "design" is. Luckily that's not a problem. People not understanding things is why we have schools in the first place! We wondered what the world would be like if schools really resembled their subjects: history courses would be taught by zombies, modern film schools would be constantly exploding and rotating in slow motion, while students arriving at med school would be immediately sued by people whose lives they'd saved.  

But what would video game design school be like? 

Infinite Retries 

Gamers regularly achieve the "impossible." The entire universe vs. you isn't unfair, it's standard operating procedure, and millions of players take those odds on every day. Many of those same heroic space marines would give up after two tries to fix a leaky tap, and they'd expect the same "heroic" adjective for the second attempt. The difference? Free retries! Retrying college costs tens of thousands of dollars, meaning most people can't afford to do the level all over again. Just like the rest of real life, you only get one chance! 

How will you allocate your education points?
Learn Whenever You Want 

Facts about the alien races in Firefly, pictures of women who must be very cold in those clothes, and evil galactic empires to overthrow: computers make sure you can access whatever you want whenever you want. College classes are a little more restrictive, requiring you to actually be in certain places at certain times like some sort of highly educated caveman. Which is fair enough, because that's pretty much what you are. Some online courses have learned from the fantastic world of video games and let you take classes online whenever you want. Unfortunately, many suffer from the same problem of "getting people in the real world to take completing those online things" seriously. Make sure you choose a credible course before investing years of your life. 

Meal Plan/Health Insurance 

In this economy you have to save money and apologize for using phrases like "in this economy." Luckily video games are all about repeating ancient cliches and making them awesome. In the real world eating three whole roast chickens would make you sick. In the video game college it wouldn't just fill your stomach, it would fill your health bar and cure your stab wounds while it's at it! This would be the only school with zero sick days. 

You Would Be Beaten to a Bloody Pulp 

This is why you'll need the magical medical cafeteria. If you're one person going somewhere on a mission, video game logic demands that everyone else already there wants to kill you. It's just the way things are. Our advice is keep moving forward and resist the urge to take out the most dangerous enemies first. You need to take out the gangs of generic thugs first so that they don't swarm you! 

Books Are Easy to Read 

People who don't understand either say that video games are destroying books, but that's ridiculous. First, someone in the mood to detonate a galaxy of evil face-ripping aliens won't settle for Shakespeare as second-best. Second, video games make books even easier to read! In video game land every book can be read with a single button press, because when they even bother to have words they're only a few sentences long. In games like Dead Rising you don't even need to read them - just holding the text is enough for the magical powers of knowledge to diffuse into your body. We don't understand why people complain about video games. They spent most of the 80's making very bad cartoons claiming that books could transport young children into a magical world, and then when we invented a way to actually do that with joypads they got all upset. And just in case you need facts and figures, it's scientific fact that playing Bioshock is one million times more fun than reading Atlas Shrugged, because it's two million times better written. 

It's A Lot of Fun 

The most important thing about video games is that you choose to get involved, they're something you really want to do, and are therefore a lot of fun and you're prepared to make a real effort to succeed. Wait a minute... video game design school really is like that!

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