Teaching Games

Here is one thing I haven’t mentioned yet. Last year, I have been approached by the AIB Academy in Bonn to teach a class on video games to a group of Students from Texas A&M University. I put together a syllabus on “Game History and Culture”, started teaching it and the first semester finished just recently. It was a first in many ways. For once it was the first time I was responsible for an entire class of students. With no formal education in how to teach this was definitively exciting. Luckily, I had some experience with being an assistant so I wasn’t completely unprepared. Also, teaching at university level is somewhat more forgiving as you can expect more responsibility from the students.

The other thing is that teaching games is not something I have ever witnessed myself. So I had to precedence on what topics to cover, how to structure them and generally how to approach the subject. Yikes!

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University Students in Berlin

But on the other hand, the lack of precedence is actually an advantage. Games are something that belongs to us. We can decide for ourselves how we want to approach them. And the students I was confronted with turned out to be extremely motivated and ambitious to explore the subject themselves. So the results turned out to be amazing.

Game Genre Timeline

Here is an example of one of the many results – we have complied a sketch of a common time-line for the various game genres.

I have learned a lot during that time. I did quite some research to prepare for lessons. There were some great results from the research the students conducted themselves. I also picked up some intriguing observations. For example it was fascinating to see the shortcomings of written exams from “the other side”. I did a short multiple-choice quiz at the end of the class and some of the students, who have clearly shown genuine interest in the subject, didn’t excel in the quiz. It pretty much confirmed my existing gripes with exams and questionnaires. You often end up testing different things that you think you do.

Anyways, I had a great time and I received some excellent feedback from the students as well. I already have lots of ideas on how to improve the course so I hope I will have an opportunity to conduct that course again next year. I will certainly keep you posted.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

2 responses to “Teaching Games”

  1. Amanda

    Pretty cool! Do you mind if I nick this chart (with credit) to show game genres to my own game design classes? (I am a game teacher as well)

  2. Krystian Majewski

    As long is is for education purposes – by all means, go ahead! :)


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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