Teaching Columbia SPLASH game design and OPTION PLAY classes was energizing!

I arrived on campus, picked up my SPLASH t-shirt and room assignment, and had an awesome day! 

Columbia SPLASH

My first class, If You Build It Will They Play, had six students which meant two teams.  One team designed a game to assist a product manager with lots of work and little time to make a relevant hiring choice.  The other team designed a game which would engage domestic and international students in a high school.  


Both teams surpassed my expectations, doing weeks of work in one and a half hours, and conducting themselves with such levels of focus, seriousness, and regard for their teammates.  Its energizing to work with creative students who think on their feet and work well in groups. 



My next three hours were filled with groups of ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders from high schools in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who played OPTION PLAY.   Throughout all three games all players were very engaged, even those who seemed initially wary

  • It became clear that clarifying that college students are financially responsible for the condition of their room (Scenario 13) is key.
  • Scenario 17, presenting the possibility of needing the room after a party, brings up a number of issues.  Players laugh loudly, but talk about how to get around a distant roommate.
  • Getting a low grade (Scenario 9) happily results in a lot of discussion about finding tutoring or reaching out to the professor.
  • Scenario 26's description of the tug between being shy and having a gregarious roommate often gets players to stop and think.

These game plays really illustrated the multiple ways (as a game, as a tool to identify where more information is needed, a prompt for further conversations) OPTION PLAY can be used.