My long-term ambition is to eventually become a researcher, or a teacher, or a hybrid of the two. I passionately believe that games are fascinating, because among other things they help us bring people together, they help us learn, laugh and rise to abstract challenges in associative ways. Crucially, they are interactive and I think agency is the primary factor as to why the games industry has dwarfed the creative television, film and music industries combined. I trained as a game designer with a very practical viewpoint. I’m a particularly strong adherent to the ideals of User-Centered design and feel that many commercial game productions often cater to clusters of player typologies or demographics, because it is more convenient and profitable to do so than considering intrinsic, personal desires to play games. The salient detail here is that it is at the convenience of the production entity, not the user.
I’d like to challenge that paradigm. The arts have a long history of patronage and many creative works, particularly during the renaissance era, were bespoke and commissioned at the behest of a wealthy benefactor to an artist. We see some evidence of this economic style of production working successfully, in crowd-funded platforms such as Kickstarter and Patreon. Today’s game development industry is built upon industrialized commercial frameworks and I’d like to suggest that there is much to gain by developing a much deeper, personally focused understanding of what motivations the user may (consciously or even sub-consciously) have when selecting games, the way they engage with games and their perceived outcomes and expectations of games. I suspect many surveys will have had the same top-down approach and consequently the same problems and so I intend to examine the relationship between game publisher and end consumer from a much more user-centric perspective. I think this is one area where collaboration between the field of psychology, anthropology, sociology and game studies may trailblaze new ground, when individual disciplinary approaches might be frustrated.