Siddarth RG

Blog Posts


Posted on 2020 Oct, 1st

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. My name is Siddarth Govindan and I’m a game designer based in Brooklyn, NY. I recently graduated from the NYU Game Center with an MFA in Game Design, but games have been a part of my life since I was a kid. I want to share what I’ve learned though the course of my journey with you and I hope it sparks a discussion between us.

Since this is my first post, I figure an introduction is in order.

From the time I was a little kid, I've been obsessed with making and playing games of all kinds - outdoor, computer, board, LARPs[1] or otherwise. I played my fair share of sports - Soccer, Badminton, Gully Cricket[2] and also enjoyed playing folk and traditional games outside like Kabbadi and Lagori. I also invented my own games to play outside with my friends like VIP (capture-the-flag but the flag is one of the players on each team, plus additional roles) and Assassin (tag mixed with RPG style movesets and exercise routines that generated mana for those moves).

This was one of my earliest experiences playtesting my games and coming to terms with the following list[3] of facts:

  1. Ideas in a designer's mind are like flying pigs - they don't exist in the real world.
  2. The first dozen iterations of your game will be broken. The next dozen, less so - and so on and on - not until you reach the perfect version of your game, but until you decide to stop working on it.
  3. As a designer, your game is always going to feel broken or incomplete - but that's no excuse not to playtest your game with players.

Growing up, there were several interests and hobbies that shaped my love for the analog medium. I was and am an avid reader of books and always preferred the feel of pen and paper to digital ink. I played lots of board games with my family which gave me an appreciation for non-digital tabletop interactions. I also loved arts & crafts like Origami & Paper-mâché because I enjoyed making bespoke objects for people. I enjoyed working on tangible 'stuff' that I could see and feel and 'mould' with my own hand and this was my reasoning to studying Mechanical Engineering for my undergraduate studies. Math & Science were delightful 'puzzles' that rewarded me with fresh perspective and understanding of the systems that drive the world.

My love for games and design always lay patiently waiting, like a serpent coiled in my belly. I would feed it by taking design courses, reading books by game designers & kept it satiated by iterating on board games that I had made and making small interactable experiences. My time as an MFA at the Game Center was a feast of knowledge that enriched my understanding of games and their rich tapestry of history. The Game Center has taught me to consider games as a medium in their entirety, being aware that video games are simply their latest popular form. It has been two years of sampling exotic cuisines of games across time and locations as well as meeting with and designing alongside fellow game designers from across the globe.

Most importantly, it has been two years of experimenting with my process and practice as a game designer. I feel acutely aware of the long journey ahead of me as a designer but as the saying goes, it all begins with the first step.

So here's to the sights and sounds on the road ahead.

[1] Although, like most kids, I had no idea what a "LARP" was.

[2] Cricket, but with the rules modified for play in a tiny field, usu. the narrow roads outside our houses.

[3] Of course, this is a non-exhaustive list. But lists are fun so there you have it!