• Steven Doughty

Critical Experiences : Project Reflections.

I am still processing how exactly to respond to this project. In the beginning I was a bit overwhelmed with the scope of the topic and I struggled to find an element or aspect that felt interesting and non-trivial. This led me to reading, taking an intermission of googling new words or concepts, and then re-reading papers. This pursuit of research and knowledge which I personally find rewarding is quite time consuming and was not allowing me to generate material or experimental results at a pace or scale that inspired any self-confidence and to some extent it even produced feelings of guilt. These negative feelings in turn exasperated some time management challenges I was having. At some point in the process out of necessity I made a commitment to a narrower view of my topic, classical conditioning and nutritional health. This commitment allowed me to begin generating drafts and outlines of work helping to reverse some my previous missteps. The lesson learned here is a common one I have likely attempted to learn a dozen times and it is that I need to have a clear internal timeline which involves making choices and seeing them to the natural conclusions as opposed to having too many back up plans.

I was quite pleased, at least conceptually, with the outcome of the project. Board games have an immense ability to teach and inform people by engaging them in play. There is an incredible depth and history to games making the form ripe with opportunities to subvert, comment on, and examine any number of ideas. I think there is absolutely room to improve and develop the concept and style that I presented, I may produce some additional iterations in the future. Some valued feedback was to consider the physical design of the game itself instead of relying on industrialized norms such as die-cut square cards or machine printed art elements and questions about how the game facilitates interactions not just between the game and the players, but among the players themselves. Questions such as, Is the game competitive or co-operative?, does the nature of competition implicitly elevate or demote certain aspects or player views?, and can or should this be used to impart moral or ethical commentary onto the topic itself?. It occurred to me later that similar issues and questions were raised by the creator of the popular board game "Monopoly" which was initially conceived of as a way to teach people the angers of capitalism. I wonder what sort of design insight the various iterations and eventual outcome of that game has for my work.

Overall I think that more time could have been invested into the project, I am not sure if I could completely realize a final version both artistically and mechanically in the time frame, but I do think there was time for experimental making and a bit less technical and conceptual knowledge. Explicitly setting aside more time for making would have certainly led to stronger and more communicative final design choices.

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