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8:59pm on Thursday, 4th February, 2016:



Every year, I run a class for my CE217 students in which I give them each a wad of A7-sized (so 8 to a sheet of A4) paper with the following printed on them: "Something that annoys me as a player of computer games is:". The students get to vent their fury filling in the slips of paper with as many ideas as they can.

Once they run out of steam, I shuffle them up, add in a bunch of responses from previous years, then I split the students into groups and ask them to sort them out into categories. The aim of this is to show how naturally the complaints fall into particular classes, which mimic how computer games developers are organised, and whether the things the companies concentrate on in the belief that they're important actually are important.

Here's what the whiteboard looked like at the end of this year's class:

There's a lot more there about the games themselves than there is about nefarious business practices or the behaviour of other players. Overall, gameplay was the main category that the students deemed essential. They can tolerate bugs, they can tolerate lag, they can tolerate having to pay over the odds to play, they can tolerate 12-year-olds swearing in Teamspeak. They can't tolerate bad gameplay, though. Also, they really don't like cut scenes.

Why is it that whenever the students call me over to ask me to translate what someone with incredibly bad handwriting has written, it's always something I've written myself?

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Copyright © 2016 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).