The Teaching Game

17 07 2007

Steve Swink left a game design job that was wearing him down to work on indie game development and teach game design.

In an excellent answer to a letter at Game Career Guide, he talks about making the transition from mainstream developer to educator. Part 1 is here:

If you’re going to grind your life away in a masochistic profession – and make no mistake, game development is unadulterated masochism – I say to you this: make it mean something. Spend your life making meaning. Create things that excite you, which get you out of bed early in the morning and keep you up late at night. Create experiences that will set minds on fire and inspire, in turn, to create experiences for others. We all have a reason for wanting to create games and, at some level, it boils down to an experience we had playing someone else’s creation, their dream. What was that game for you? Think of that experience. Now, imagine giving that experience to someone else. There’s just no excuse for hunching over a keyboard 80 hours a week, forgoing health, hygiene, socialization, and everything else a balanced life needs, to squeeze out something you don’t believe in.

What is teaching at the Art Institute like? Is it satisfying? What are your responsibilities?

I must say, it’s been one of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable experiences of my life. There is Yiddish word, naches, “pride from the accomplishment of a child or mentee” which synopsizes the feeling nicely. Many of my students have graduated and gotten awesome jobs. This fills me with a sense of satisfaction, purpose, and meaning I’ve rarely known.

Part 2 is here. He gives a wealth of tips on teaching in general.

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