As small children, play is often the first way we express ourselves imaginatively. We create fantastic imagined stories for ourselves, our family, our friends, even our stuffed animals. The recent rise in video games suggests a passionate desire to continue to play and express ourselves imaginatively in new worlds and through expanded narratives. Video games routinely outsell films, and Grand Theft Auto 5 was the fastest selling property across all forms of entertainment upon its release. Gaming gives participants a narrative agency more akin to childhood play than any other form of entertainment. What drives this continued desire to play? And what can we learn from play that we do not derive elsewhere? How does play, especially culturally moderated play like video games, influence us on an ideological level? Game designer Richard Lemarchand explores these and other questions.
An Associate Professor in the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts, Richard Lemarchand is a game designer, a writer, a public speaker and a consultant. Between 2004 and 2012, Richard was a Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, California. He led the design of all three games in the Uncharted series including Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, winner of ten AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards, five Game Developers Choice Awards, four BAFTAs and over 200 Game of the Year awards. Richard has made storytelling action games the focus of his career, and he is interested in the way that narrative, aesthetics and gameplay work together to hold a player’s attention and facilitate the expression of their agency. He regularly speaks in public on the subjects of game design, development, production, philosophy and culture, and organizes the annual GDC Microtalks, a session which celebrates games and play with short talks by diverse speakers. He is also a faculty member of the GDC Experimental Gameplay Sessions.