There’s an old saying in the computer and videogame business – well, it can’t be that old because the discipline is not all that old – and it goes something like this: Design is Life. What’s particularly curious about this phrase is that even today almost no one who works at the craft of creating electronic games can agree on what it means to “design” a game. Is the designer a software engineer? An art director? A storyteller? An architect or a builder?
A pitch person or a visionary? Can an individual indeed be in part all of these? And most importantly, who the %$!#&* cares? It has been said that the “designed by” credit in interactive entertainment is akin to the “directed by” credit in filmmaking, which in fact allows it to share DNA with perhaps the single most controversial, overstated, and too often entirely lacking in humility credit grab ever propagated on commercial art. Good company, eh? Yet if Design is Life, then perhaps it is time we spent some quality cycles thinking about what it is. Eric and Elisabeth Freeman have intrepidly volunteered to look behind the code curtain for us in “Head First Design Patterns.” I’m not sure either of them cares all that much about the PlayStation or X-Box, nor should they. Yet they do address the notion of design at a significantly honest level such that anyone looking for ego reinforcement of his or her own brilliant auteurship is best advised not to go digging here where truth is stunningly revealed. Sophists and circus barkers need not apply. Next generation literati please come equipped with a pencil