7 questions for Farid Ben Salem, game design teacher

Farid Ben Salem
Farid Ben Salem. Carré & Kawaii Photographie

In the game world, I interviewed game designers, illustrators, publishers, etc … But never yet somebody who teaches game design! Today is Farid Ben Salem who answers the 7 questions.

This father from Paris is a jack of all trades. He is: fencing-master, project manager, editor for Casus Beli and Ravage magazines, inventor, game designer (SpellShot a successful hybrid game published by Hasbro in North America), he also worked on rewriting Detective Council for Ystari. As I mentioned earlier, Farid teaches game design, games and gamification at Sciences Po, E-artsup, Paris 8 and Paris 3 universities. And if that were not enough, Farid is also a presenter on WebTV GameStars! All this to serve his purpose: « to promote the game at the world’s largest and virtues of the game. »

Without waiting here are 7 questions for Farid Ben Salem.

1 . How old were you when you played your first board game and what was it ?

« In fact, besides the big classics, I create a lot of games or copy games before playing. Because I had a very strict father, for who only school and conservatory were important I had few toys and games. So, when I was playing a game with a friend, I went home, I hastened to recreate it from my vague memories with paper, tape and pencils. I even created a cardboard pinball my comrades worshiped. The first real game I played, for me, is D & D, a  real slap discovered in Games & Strategy at the time. The first games were stressful and chaotic but it was a good lesson for the future. « 

2 . How and why did you decide to teach game development company ?

« In fact, I teach fencing for over 20 years with children and adults, and I was regularly training because of my oldest professions in the private sector. Suddenly, one of my students in fencing , responsible for licensing in P8 university, was seeking new vectors for students in information science and communication , he asked me if I felt to teach games creation to youth with my background . I obviously jumped at the chance and it was a first successful experience. 30 students gave me as year-end project board games proto. while they knew nothing about it at first. Apart video games. I was amazed . thereafter , I had different applications in great schools and universities. I also animated workshop with and for professionals . « 

3 . What are your favorite games company and why ?

« So I mostly like what we call American style games (ameritrash), I’m more in the mood and the immersion than in the calculation. Undoubtedly, the first is Battlestar Galactica board game from FFG. Never seen a transcript as pleasant and also true of a TV show. Each game is tense and it is possible to interpret the character that you play. In second place, I will choose RuneAge, also from FFG, because it is a deck building, I am a fan of this type of games, but that Corey Konieczka (I burn a candle on behalf of Corey saint, the saint of the game designer, every Sunday) was able to make a themed game, immersive and scripted. and always with FFG, sorry, role playing game Edge of the Empire, a technical marvel, the Rolls-Royce of RPG. « 

4 . For you what is the best combination for a successful game ?

« Either you decide to make a public game, which can affect all classes, all ages, and is easy to access, or you touch a specific public of gamers, or type of gamers, with their corresponding mechanisms . In both cases it is not easy, especially if you’re looking to make money with. The main thing is not to lose some. The approach is different and vectors of distribution are not the same. For me, the creation of a good game is the game that you want for yourself. Working on a command is never easy. I work on games that relate to both publics and the pleasure is different. « 

5 . How do you proceed to create a game ?

« The ideal is to have on hand a few “guinea pigs”, which will be helpful when you have one or more game mechanical ideas. It is essential to have tools and basic materials that will allow you to set up quickly a proto that you will show to your “guinea pigs” and start playing even if it has nothing written, nothing drawn. This allows for a visual representation of what may be the game . The concern is that ideas often arrive around 3am at night, or it makes you cogitate and you make the effort to take notes or you’re too tired hoping you remember them in the morning. Thereafter I’m making a more important proto, retrieving images on the net, and I tweak on InDesign and Illustrator.”

6 . What advice would you give to someone wishing to create a game ?

« Above all, I speak for young people, have a steady income that allows you a peace of mind. Because a game, if it works, will allow you in most cases, to pay for a weekend off or may be some vacation. Otherwise, I would advise you to create multiple games and rotate them in the game conventions, to test them in all directions hundreds of times. This is to get the maximum return and come up with a great product from publishers. « 

7 . Could you give us some information on your next project ?

« In fact, I have several ongoing projects and even some who are terminated, a board game that I have already presented to Volumiques Editions, 2 hybrid games that have already received CNC grants, a party game, a Role Playing Game from a license and the reissue of an old RPG, among other things. « 

Thank you Farid to spread the « good news » of the game and for answering the 7 questions.

Here are some links to learn more about Farid including a link on the WebTV shows about games (in French) : http://www.dailymotion.com/fr/relevance/search/gamestars/1

A paper for the U.S. vice president on violence in games (in French) :http://www.gaite-lyrique.net/gaitelive/la-violence-dans-les-jeux-vs-les-violences-dans-le-interview

And finally a video on the future of games  (in French) : http://gamelier.org/farid-ben-salem-on-the-future-of-tangible-games/



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