Couple of days ago a thought blazed through my mind “What was the first game I designed?”. I’ve posted the question on GameIS – the facebook group of the Israeli game designers association, and the answers were quite surprising. Most people told of the first computer game they programmed. Some of board games, and very few told about the games they played as kids. I must admit, I was sure most will tell about their childhood games, the ones they invented or changed the rules – creating something new. And yet it was interesting enough.
Games are key element in our evolving as human beings. They give us a free liberated space to do as we wish, in a set of rules that we take upon ourselves. When I remember the games that accompanied me in childhood, and I’m not talking of soccer or hide and seek, I remember the games I used to invent with my siblings in the living room. We usually made a huge castle out of the pillows available and fought each other over dominance. I sometimes recall the games I played in kindergarden, building motorbikes from wooden building blocks or my G.I Joes and toy soldiers. These are games I used to play, and sometimes invent the rules, but these were not the first game I designed. Every game designer has one he considers as such. It’s like the first time you rode your bicycle, the first time you played the piano or the first time you kissed a girl. It’s something the leaves an impression on you , and it always stays with you.
For me it was back in 1989. I was a third grader who had troubles in bible class. I was bored, I hated the teaching method, and I didn’t find the inner strength to do homework. My teacher, in an act of true insight of my young bored troubled soul, offered that I’ll make something special that will summarize the story of Moses. So I found myself in the living room, with the aid of my family, making a board game named “Mommy, Plagues!” – a combination of monopoly and trivia which required using the bible to find the correct answer of various questions. I still have the game with me, and it serves as a reminder for the first time I actually invented and designed a game.
What’s the first game you designed?