Dartmouth at Play Recap

This past Friday was the second annual Dartmouth at Play event and it was a blast!


There were great discussions happening all afternoon, and it was enlightening and inspiring to hear alumni panelists talk about games and game design. Topics ranged from the fun, with questions such as, “Tell us of your biggest career success and your biggest failure,” to the serious, “Do games promote violence, or are they unfairly targeted? Has media desensitized the public?” to the practical, “How do you interest players with diverse play styles?”


The panelists all came from very different game design backgrounds and it was therefore great to hear their varying perspectives.

Some quotes I wanted to share include:

-Linden Vongasthorn from Microsoft gave some wise advice when she said, “You can’t design a game and expect people to play the way you want them to.”

-Justin Kreter from Hasbro made an interesting point about keeping your player in mind when he said, “With preschoolers it’s not really good to have a winner; because someone goes away crying.”

-Mike Mearls from Wizards of the Coast talked about game relevance as players get older, and his attempts to make Dungeons and Dragons a flexible play experience. He said one of the key questions designers have to worry about is, “If [a player’s] play style or availability changes, what can [they] move on to?”


We also received some fun insights into the gaming world. It was interesting to hear how important story has become in the games. Gabriel Schlumberger from Disney told us that in current times, “he expectation on story has risen so much.” With all that expectation on story, one of the audience members asked how companies keep all the history of their game worlds straight. Cate Gary from Blizzard shared that, ” We [at Blizzard] actually have historians whose entire job is to make sure we don’t say a dead character has come back.”  I definitely didn’t realize such a cool job existed.


The day was full of great conversation and eye-opening insights into the world of games we love. Dartmouth at Play really showcased how awesome the game world is, and how amazing our alumni are!