Not all game developers or designers have the chance to actually play games. That’s not too uncommon as most developers and designers remain busy with their work and other responsibilities.

While this is true, many people wonder (game developers and designers included) if developers and designers should be playing games to begin with.

From a game design first perspective, the answer is a definite yes. However, from the game developer side, the answer is a bit more complex.

The Definition of a “Gamer”

Alone, the word “gamer” is pretty vague. Literally, it means someone who plays any game at any frequency. However, there are some who believe that “gamer” means someone whose entire life is playing games.

game developers should be gamers

Something that adds to the confusion is that there are specific communities of different gamers that are divided based on the type of game they play. These divisions include Minecraft players or rougelikes such as Nuclear Throne. There are also gaming groups divided into indie title players and first-person shooter games.

This may leave you with the question – who really qualifies as a gamer?”

For the purpose of this article, a gamer is defined as anyone who plays an array of games at a minimum of a few times a month. You don’t have to be a die-hard gamer – just someone who plays frequently enough they can discuss gaming in a meaningful way.

That being said, it’s important to note that even if a game developer or designer made the decision to play more games, they don’t have to increase this time by a significant amount. If they attempt to achieve the vague goal of becoming a “hardcore gamer,” they may go too far and spend too much time playing games.

The quantity of playing isn’t important as long as you are playing with attention to detail and insight.

Designers vs. Developers

Something else you may need to know more about is the difference between a game designer and a game developer. – 

Read more – Designers vs Developers: Is a Perfect Workflow Possible ?

Game designers is the person who comes up with the creative concept of a game. They consider the flow and mechanics of the game being created. Gamers are also responsible for creating the pillars that define the game and determining how the game “feels.” They consider things like guiding a player’s brain through the experiences they craft and about immersion tactics.

The game developer is someone involved with the materialization of a game. They work on everything from molding graphics to programming the gameplay logic and recording the sound. While it’s a general term, a developer refers to anyone involved with making the software for the game.

Put simply, game design is creative and game development is technical.

game developers should be gamer

Benefits Offered When Game Designers and Developers Play

If you play chess, you have to practice to get better. If you write, you have to write more to get better. The same concept applies to games.

Game designers and developers are more effective at their jobs when they play. Some of the specific benefits offered by playing games for designers and developers can be found here.

Read more – Game Development Services

New and Unique Experiences

When you play games, you have a palette of lessons and experiences you can use when designing or developing a new game. The more games you play, the more you learn what works and what doesn’t, and you have the opportunity to see what others have tried and what they haven’t tried enough.

This is a useful way to gain new knowledge and allows for more guidance when creating your own games. Also, by playing more games, you can think like a player when creating your own games.

Ability to Train Your Inner Critic

When you play more games, you can train your inner design critic, too. For developers, you gain more insight into how game design works, and this will help improve the designer side of you, which is useful when you are working in a team environment. The more you take time to play, the more mechanics and mechanical systems you encounter.

Every game has a unique set of mechanics, which is the system that creates the game’s backbone. The interactions between the mechanics work to craft the experience a player has. Some of the systems work better than others, and if you are a game designer, you need to know why they succeed or fail, what systems and mechanics work, and other vital factors.

More Reference Points

For game designers, titles of games are a unique language. These individuals can reference an array of games to communicate situations, mechanics and feelings.

While this is impressive, it is also useful. If they want to know more about how well a concept will go, or how poorly it is executed, they can study some of the games they already know or ask another designer about the concept while studying the games that are mentioned during the conversation.

While this knowledge comes from working with other game designers for longer periods of time, with a guide like this one, and staying aware of game trends and news, it also comes from playing various games.

Design, Develop and Play

As explained in the information here, game designers and developers who also play games are better equipped to create better games. This is something all designers and developers should consider making time for, as it is going to help improve their own skills and abilities.\