Being a game designer is very much like being an architect and an artist at the same time. Game designers must split their focus between form and function to achieve a final product that is both pleasing to the eye and fun to play. The game design process has always fascinated me as the two design requirements originate in different halves of the brain.
The left-side of our brain is geared towards numbers and letters, language and reading. The right-side of our brain is geared towards pattern recognition and artistic attributes like art and music. It is my opinion that game designers must use both halves of their brain equally to create a game that is both challenging to the player but also allows for creative thinking and play. It is an interesting balancing act that can really pay off if done well. Some of the best games available for us to play clearly have one foot solidly planted on either sides of the brain, which keeps the players engaged on different cognitive and emotional levels.
Doug Arduini, the designer of the trivia game, Non-Trival Quest, recently sent us a brief summary of how his game came to life and went from a simple idea to a fully realized self-published product. His words provide us non-game designer types a brief glimpse of the work and dedication it takes to make a game.
What is “non-trivial”?
That is the question everyone asks me when I tell them about my new Non-Trival Quest board game. Through the years I saw all the people playing trivia-type games, about the unimportant things in life. But I thought that it would be great if there was a non-trivia-type game that was about all of the important things that we need to know in life. So I set out to develop such a game that could be fun learning and remembering things that we should know in today’s complex world. It took me many years of hard work to finally self-publish it and put it on the market in March of 2011. It has well received and got great reviews plus many awards including “10 Best Games for 2011” by Dr. Toy.
First I picked six subject areas of importance. Then I had to pick important non-trivia-type questions and multiple choice answers. It was not easy to decide what was important enough to pass my subjective test to have in the game. I also didn’t want to make it too easy or too difficult for the family and friends market of Jr. High School through adults, plus to make it fun and interesting. But it also needed to be more educational and engaging than just a simple solution. So I added an answer description with much more depth of the subject, with the goal of stimulating conversation together with playing the game.
If you are interested in my game, it can be found on Amazon.com and would make a great present for friends, family, and for yourself. You can also see the game, rules, subject categories, with sample questions, answers, and descriptions at the game Web site.
Our thanks to Mr. Arduini for taking the time to send us his story on how Non-Trivial Quest came to life! It is always refreshing to find a game that not only entertains and challenges, but also educates at the same time.