Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Game Design Reading List

One of the things I'm proud of since getting Unit 40 Game Design as part of our software development stream (this is our third year of running it) has been the reference section that has been built up in our library. Basically the game design section of our library is a mirror of my bookshelves at home excluding the odd book that is out of print and they weren't able to get (such as the book Game Over by David Sheff). I'm always plugging the books in class, and use them in classroom exercises. It is also a suggestion in the units specification that students should be reading about the subject. Which having a comprehensive reference section in our library allows them to do.
When you look at the units specification they have a list of books that they suggest may be of use to teachers teaching the unit. I think that list is too long and how do the teachers tell what is good and what is a waste of time? Let's face it we also have limited time to do background reading so anything that can make that time more productive is welcomed.
Here is my list of what I consider to be essential books that anyone teaching the game design unit should have on their bookshelves:
  • A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster
  • The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell
  • Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton
  • Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design by Scott Rogers
  • Challenges for Game Designers: non-digital exercises for video game designers by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber
If you only had the time for one book from the list above my favourite is Level Up! A really accessible book on game design and I use the 1 pager, 10 pager and beat chart from the book for our level 2 students on the OCR Unit 22 Video Game Production unit, obviously unit 40 and unit 22 on the BTEC National Extended diploma for our level 3's.

In a future post I will go over some of the exercises I do in class with my students for this unit. I'll also link to an on line copy of an essay from a book not mentioned above that I like to use as a great discussion starter with the students.

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