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Andrew Petersell

I am a fledgling game creator with a particular interest in the oft-neglected cross section between narrative and competitive games. How does competition inform our understanding of narrative and vice versa?

Why are you studying games?
I've always enjoyed playing and thinking about games, but I've never had the opportunity to dig in and study them in an academic setting. The Game Center has given me the opportunity to surround myself with like-minded creative-types and do just that.
Describe your favorite project made by a classmate.
Two of my classmates (Vivi Yu and Shiyun Liu) made a super cool rhythm game in which two players travel down a 3D pipe while passing through rings to the beat of the Can-Can. It's very simple, but it's there's something wonderfully joyful about it! Also, it has recently been ported to VR, which is super neat!
Describe your most embarrassing playtesting moment.
When I make a game which I think is super balanced and fun, and then a playtester finds in an instant the one degenerative strategy that breaks the whole system. This happens roughly every time I playtest.
What's your secret weapon?
My secret weapon is that, secretly, I have no secret weapon.
Describe one memorable lecture, assignment, or exercise you've had at the Game Center.
In Game Design I, we were working on an abstract game project and everything was going swimmingly. About halfway through the process, we playtest each other's games, and I tested a game that I hated. I actually said "even if the rules for this game were perfect, I still wouldn't like it. It's just not my kind of game." Then, our professor (Namoi Clark) told us that we'd be swapping projects with the group we just playtested for. In short, I inherited a project that I literally hated. I see the value of this exercise in retrospect, but it was a heartbreaker at the time.
How has the Game Center changed your thinking about games?
Being more privy to the process of making game, I've come to appreciate games more as craft. I now look at games with a more discerning eye for how they are put together from a nuts and bolts perspective, rather than just looking at the design philosophy.
What do you hope to accomplish after school?
It may sound cliche to say, but I hope to become a positive force in the industry. I love the game industry, and I look forward to becoming a bigger part of it, but it also has more than a few issues that I'd like to see addressed. I hope to help affect that change.
What's the last great game you played and what's great about it?
The Last Guardian was really something else. It was able to create a moving narrative arc by relying almost entirely on a single AI, which I found astounding. Also, who doesn't like having a really big dog?
What's your favorite New York City spot?
The F train between 4th Avenue and Smith - 9th Street. The above ground bits.