"Let my playing be my learning, and my learning be my playing."
–Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
If you're a game-lover, if you're the type of person who “plays by her own rules,” if you've ever thought about how to combine Chess and Checkers to create a brand new game (Cheskers?), then this is a class for you!
In this hands-on workshop, we'll discuss the many kinds of games out there to be designed, prototype and test some games of our own, and then analyze our games to determine how we might take them to the next level.
No previous game design experience is necessary, just an open mind and a playful spirit. In fact, everyone will have previous game design experience, because life itself is a game. As Dutch social theorist Johan Huizinga wrote, way back in 1938, "We have to conclude that civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play like a baby detaching itself from the womb: it arises in and as play, and never leaves it."
After this class, you'll see new game opportunities everywhere–in the office, in traffic, on a trip, or on a date. Play on, players!
The class goes like this:
Mat Cusick is a lifelong game-player and teacher of many things. As a kid, he loved to spend time with friends altering the rules to Risk, making new board games, and playing their own advanced version of RoShamBo called DragonBall. As an “adult,” Mat has explored the four corners of the education industry, working as a classroom teacher, private tutor, athletic instructor, debate coach, nonprofit educational program director, and founder of a cultural center in Mexico. He has helped elementary school students to fundraise and design community service projects, organized middle school students to write and shoot a short film (satirizing their teachers), taught high school students to rock out on the guitar, trained college students to teach free test prep classes, and guided adults of all ages find their perfect tennis serve.
Mat's favorite game is definitely tennis, which he has sought to explore from every angle he can: as a competitive youth player, as a high school coach, as a private instructor, as a ballperson for the U.S. Open, and as the tennis office administrator during the launch of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York. He currently runs an education research and redesign project called Research & Develop, and an arts education foundation called the Q Arts Foundation.