Games to Get’s Luke Evans on exploring games and wellness with students of Brunel University
Earlier this year, Games to Get – the firm behind the popular line of Sussed games – teamed up with students of Brunel University on a board game brief.
Students were tasked with exploring ways in which the Sussed line could be expanded, with issues of social health and wellness in mind.
We caught up with Games to Get’s Chief Product Officer, Luke Evans, to find out more about how the students got on.
Hi Luke, great to catch up. First off, for anyone new to Games to Get, how would you describe the sorts of games you guys create?
Hiya Billy, likewise! Thanks for speaking with me.
We make games about getting to know the people around you better – games that explore how well you know yourselves and others in a way that’s fun, original and never gets old. We call these games Sussed. We’ve created Sussed content for everyone from families and friends to couples, businesses, and charities.
Great stuff. Now, we’re here to talk about an exciting collaboration between Sussed and Brunel University. How did this partnership come about?
We first heard that Brunel was looking to collaborate with toy and games companies thanks to an article in Mojo Nation! And thank goodness we did – it’s been a really rewarding experience for everyone involved.
There we go, we have our uses! So what did you work with the students on?
We decided to work with three students who had an interest in games or wellness, who then based their final year major projects around Sussed.
Am I correct in thinking the brief covered issues of social health and immersive game experiences?
Yes. Social health has always been a focus of ours. The University of Hertfordshire, for example, has just finished a report into how playing games like Sussed can help improve your relationships and for years we’ve supported mental health charities with original content and fundraising events.
We knew this was something we’d want to explore further with the students. And of course, the hallmark of any good game is how immersive the experience was!
Can you give us an insight into some of the things the students created?
With the brief in mind, each of the students chose an area that was meaningful to them and that they could bring something new to.
Carys, for example, did a lot of research and focus group testing into identifying how Sussed might be adapted to suit the needs of elderly people. On the back of this, she then designed a version of Sussed that focused on connecting them with different generations of their family and got them physically active in a safe way.
Sebastian took one of our classic Sussed games themed on fantasy and imagination and brought the written content of that game to life with illustrations, new card designs, an animated video and 3D models.
Mario took a different approach and decided to create an interactive Sussed game for kids aged 8 – 12. Think Sussed meets Pie Face or Speak Out!
It was great to be able to work with people who were passionate about game design. Most of the students chose to virtually meet almost once every week throughout their final year to keep on track and explore different ideas.
Sounds brill – well done to Carys, Mario and Sebastian. Why do you feel it’s important to engage with students on the subject of game design?
It’s important for all of us to show that game design is an accessible space. I think it’s often considered to be a ‘risky’ career choice, but if you put in the hard work, it’s a great industry to be a part of, with loads of scope for creativity and innovation.
It also shows that there’s always room to reimagine and adapt existing intellectual property – even with Sussed, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. I feel we’ve barely scratched the surface!
10 years! Huge congrats to you and the team. Now, is there anything to come from the students’ work that you’ll be taking forward?
Yes, Carys’ report is available to read in full on the Sussed website – www.sussedcardgames.com – for anyone who’d like to know more about her project, and Sebastian is continuing to work with us now that his course is finished.
If ever Brunel or another university runs a similar scheme again, we’d love to be involved.
There we go! We’ll put the call out. Luke, always a pleasure to chat! Thanks again and well done to all on what sounds like a fantastic collaboration.
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