Tag Archives: Michael John

“What is Game Design?” with Michael John

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Michael John, Senior Creative Director at Electronic Arts, where he works to build and grow a community of strong, passionate game designers and creative directors. MJ’s long career as a game designer includes hits like the Spyro the Dragon series, Daxter and God of War: Chains of Olympus.


EL: To start with, what is game design?

MJ: Right, what is game design… you asked me that question yesterday, so I got to think about it overnight, which is a blessing and a curse. So, here’s the funny thing. Design is a noun and a verb. And I think that in noun and verb they mean different things.

So, in a noun form, you say game design. I think what that is a description of the art form. If what games are as an art form is something that comes to life in the hands of a user, which is certainly true, then the game design is sort of the capsule in which that art sits.

But then as a verb, I think it’s much broader, actually. So the act of designing a game encompasses the fact that a game is so cross-disciplinary. And that involves technology, it involves artwork, and it involves mechanics.
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