segunda-feira, 5 de junho de 2017

Keeping track of your gaming analysis: a personal approach to organizing notes for classes, meetings and projects

Working with game development requires a lot of references and annotations all the time. Sometimes, we need to find a good example for a game designing class; sometimes we need to reach for a fast good reference to explain some mechanics for a company’s gamification project. Or, maybe, we just need to remember a specific game to write an article or post about it. It helps a lot to have all that stuff at hand to create presentations, classes or academic content. In this post, I’ll share one method that I use to create and organize quick notes about the games I played.

1. Every single game I play is registered on an online document

I call this my “ludic journal”. I have one excel file on Google Docs where I register all played games in chronological order. For analogic games (card games, board games, dice games etc.) I write a note on the same day I played the title. For video games (console, PC, mobile etc.) I register it when I finish the game or when I have sufficiently experienced its core mechanics/narrative. It’s important to write fast to put personal impressions in the document. Usually, I write the game’s name, the day I played, give it a personal rate (one to five asterisks), summarize the game’s narrative/plot (if available), make a list of the core mechanisms and attach a pic. Like in the following example:

Title: CARCASSONNE
Type: board game
Date: December 11th 2007
Rate: * * *
Summary: Players are builders constructing the reign of Carcassonne in France. Using some special characters it’s possible to build roads, churches, castles and farms. When you finish one of these constructions, you earn points. The player with the most points wins the game. The game uses tiles and creates a very interesting design on the table and a random result at the end of each match.
Mechanisms: area control, area influence, tile placement.


2. Add tags to your notes

This second step helps me a lot. After describing the previous elements, I always create a list of tags for the game (a very personal “mix” of words to describe the game in its essence). This is very useful because it’s possible to find a game for a specific use doing a simple search for keywords in the system. Still using Carcassonne as an example, I wrote these tags for the game (tags, in this case, could be single words or even complete phrases):

Tags: Carcassonne; board game; tile game; France; historic context; build; competitive; area control; area influence; tile placement; clever graphic design; metaphor for architecture; useful for history classes; puzzle. 


This method helps me a lot to prepare content in many occasions. Last week I was preparing a class about “casual games”. A fast search in my document revealed 40 occurrences for this kind of game. So, I combine “casual games” with “funny narrative” and the system gave me 7 results. As I said: it’s a personal method. It could probably not be so useful for another person other than me, but this post is to inspire people to create their own methods.

3. I complement my notes using social networks

I like to create personal text registers for the games I have played, but I also like to organize visual references and gaming stuff in other platforms, too. My favorite place to store visual references is Pinterest. Check ot my GAMES, RPG and GAME DESIGN boards. It’s a very practical way to access ideas.

I’m preparing a second post about this subject with other personal methodologies to organize content for work. I hope it helped.

Now, on to your opinion!

#GoGamers