Seminar Talk 2013-11-08

Jiro Dreams of Game Design

Brenda Romero
Program Director for Master’s Program for Games & Playable Media at UCSC
Department of Computer Science
University of California, Santa Cruz

In the career of every passionate game developer, there is at least one moment where he or she wants for greatness. Beyond budgets and time, independent of our teams, we feel driven to create something great, to perfect our art form, not for profits, but for the pure pleasure of perfection. From the first to the lasting impression, every part of a perfect game experience is an obsession so many chase and so few achieve. >From early on in the careers, in a parallel profession, three-star Michelin chefs – a rarified 103 in the world at present – have a similar ambition. They insist on perfection in every ingredient, in temperature, in presentation and in accompaniment. Interestingly enough, it is something they do because they are driven to, not for money or fame, but because of the pursuit of perfection itself. It is a passion many of us share and struggle to achieve in a world where shipping a game often means compromising on our ideal vision. Brenda Romero explores this world and takes from it lessons for every designer at every level.

About the Speaker:
Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. Brenda worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space. In recent years, Brenda has become known for an award-winning series of non-digital games titled The Mechanic is the Message. So far, Train, Síochán Leat, the New World and Pre-Conception have been released. In 2009, her game Train won the coveted Vanguard Award at IndieCade for “pushing the boundaries of game design and showing us what games can do. Brenda serves on the advisory board of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play. Brenda served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and chaired its IGDA’s Women in Games Special Interest group. She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft and previously was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes “12 Women in Gaming to Watch” in 2013, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007. Nerve magazine also called her one of the 50 artists, actors, authors, activists and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place.