Professor Lemarchand explores Infinite Play

9 July 2015
Professor Richard Lemarchand back at GCU

It is all about the journey, not the destination.

That was the overriding message from Professor Richard Lemarchand as he returned to Glasgow Caledonian University last night (July 8) to deliver a second masterclass.

The world-leading game designer and GCU honorary graduate hosted a masterclass entitled Infinite Play, which investigated design whereby play does not necessarily result in victory or defeat. 

Students and staff heard how Professor Lemarchand believes that by removing ‘competitive elements’, the player is instead given an ‘experiential’ or ‘reflective’ game.

“Games that are reflective and open might help our attitudes towards life,” he added. “When the point of a game is the journey rather than the destination, we are given opportunities to think and feel deeply about the experience the game gives us.

"Open games are like languages, giving players a way to express themselves through game mechanics. This style of gameplay has a lot to offer thoughtful game designers when looking at the future of game design.”

A former Lead Designer at Naughty Dog, responsible for the award-winning Uncharted series of games, Professor Lemarchand previously delivered a masterclass at GCU in 2013 before being awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology at the University’s graduation ceremony. 

Brian McDonald, Programme leader for Games Software Development and lecturer in Games Programming at GCU, said: “Richard is one of the clearest thinkers in game design. I am sure his masterclass will prompt debate, push creativity in our field and, more importantly, push our understanding of game design forward.”

In 2012, Professor Lemarchand was appointed Associate Professor in the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, where he teaches game design, development and production as part of the USC Games program, and has started work on the development of a series of experimental research games in USC's Game Innovation Lab.

A passionate advocate of indie and experimental games, Professor Lemarchand is involved with the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games. He organises the annual GDC Microtalks, a session that celebrates games and play with short talks by diverse speakers, and he is a former faculty member of the GDC Experimental Gameplay Sessions.

Professor Lemarchand spoke of his pride in returning to GCU.

He said: “I was deeply honoured to be awarded an honorary degree by GCU. I’m so glad to be back. The University has a visionary games programme, loaded with an amazing faculty and students, with the focus on not just preparing people to work in the incredible game industry of today but priming them to influence the industry of tomorrow.”

Professor Lemarchand is to host a six-hour game jam-style workshop on campus today (Thursday, July 9). He will, with participants, create a small game while introducing them to key concepts in terms of gameplay and production values.