I suppose it might be strange that I include a designer who is heavily invested in digital games, but Brenda Romero changed my understanding of what tabletop games could do for the player. I was scroll through something or researching something and I came upon her TEDTalk, which ended up changing my life in a way that still is in effect to this day.
a unit in my
Watching this made me think deeper about what games could do. I was in the throws of a unit in my classroom dealing with Human Rights and this video just spoke to me. Granted, her games were considered more art installations and never saw publication for a greater audience, but I thought... what if I have students create games that have a deeper message than just playing the game for fun!
From this video my Tabletop Game Unit was born. The students made some incredibly interesting games. Some bordered on... well... insensitive to a subject, while others really took it to the next level. They're sixth graders... what did I really expect from that situation! But these students tackled these topics with passion and understanding. Therefore creating games for understanding.
Brenda Romero is a woman that I continue to go back to and every time I watch this video, I feel inspired and I feel invigorated. Even on my hardest days when working with my students to create games, I go back to her. I remember that what I'm doing isn't just to make something fun, it's to help develop an understanding. I have, since, moved away from focusing on a Human Rights subject. I've had to tailor my unit to fit our new writing curriculum, but seeing Romero's games reminds me of the limitless possibilities available for creative endeavors.
She took games to the artistic and social commentary realm on a real level that then shocks a player. I love that and I couldn't pass up singing her praises for this TEDTalk and the games that she created.