This is me.
This is my eyebrow raised so high you'd think that I was consuming something illegal. Peter Molydeux's 'teaser' trailer for his eponymous game design institute is as trippy as his tweets. It posits the idea of a school that can only be reached if you 'travel through vast mountains and then an almost endless network of caverns', where innocent nudity is a requirement (?!) and part of the curriculum involves forgiving Howard Scott Warshaw for making Atari 2600's E.T. The whole idea is bonkers. Especially that last bit.
Were this something presented by anyone else, the video would have been dismissed with a quick, confused laugh and maybe a short discussion on Twitter. But Peter Molydeux, the parody account of the legendary Peter Molyneux, has a history of making weird things happen. If anyone can breathe life into such an avant-garde concept, it's him.
"The video is a series of ideas. Can we get the designer of E.T (Howard Warshaw) to come in every day and be available to hug our students? I doubt it but it could be possible to temporarily do something like that. As for everyone being naked during study that is something I'd ideally like to see happen but if that is putting people off coming into the institute then we may need to adjust some of the ideas we see in the video. So really the video shows a glimpse of what I want to see and what I will work towards."
The Peter Molydeux Institute (PMI) is apparently a response to questionable game design education. In the e-mail interview, Molydeux explained its exact roots: "I first started to think about PMI after we took on a student in their third year when I was at my previous studio. He was called Clint and he thought he was all that. He would say stuff like 'I read this study that says gamers need to be rewarded every 46 seconds or they get bored.' We're breeding designers who are trying to appeal to everyone. Trying to make games that get high scores on Metacritic to keep their publishers happy. We need to be creating courses specifically for indie game development. "
The culprits, according to Molydeux, is current state of game design education. To quote the Peter Molyneux Institute's inaugural video, it's failing the industry. "I once did a lecture at the University of Teesside and I showed the class a video of Pac Man. I asked one student what makes Pac Man come to life? She started talking about pixels and animation. That for me sums up the problem with game education right there. "
Surely, there are some doing it a little less wrong than others, right? "Generally, they are the same. You get some that are only after you money and those are especially bad. Most schools only create these classes because 'games are cool' and so they take on more students then there are positions in the industry. "
According to Molydeux, his vision for this place of learning will neither includes attire nor grades. Enlightenment is the solitary pursuit here. No concrete details were provided in regards to what exactly the syllabus may consist of but Molydeux did hint at the possibilities. Guest lecturers will be a thing but not power points. Students would be asked to play the games that their teachers have made, to discuss the kind of emotional response the experience evoked. Because of a desire for diversity, Molydeux says the faculty will not just consist of celebrated games industry personnel. "We have ideas to bring in firefighters, priests, homeless people, terrorists, animals, doctors, fortune tellers and so forth."
It gets weirder. And wilder. "Right now, we're thinking of making Peter Molydeux Institute a 7 day course. Monday to Friday. Two of those days will actually involve being out and taking in the nature that surrounds us. That will involve a 2 hour walk that is only 100ft in distance (This will be teaching students the benefits of slowing down their mind and body). There will also be attempts at communicating with wildlife and trying to listen to their ideas too."
"My main objective is really to show that Pac Man was given life because of his emotional dilemma. To understand it you have to place yourself into the mind of Pac Man. The PMI will provide students with an environment in which to do this. "
What. What. What. To enroll in the Peter Molydeux Institute, you're going to have to first complete his upcoming game Enlightenment. You can't have criminal records and you'll be required to complete a questionnaire first. Oh, and there will be branding. Apparently, it will involve the color green, somehow.
For those curious about the phantasmagorical video, it's apparently an attempt at divining interest. A more polished version will eventually follow as will a Kickstarter. " We have some really cool unique ideas for rewards too! For example rewards where you will get to share a bath with a designer for one hour."
"There is nothing immoral about bathing with one of the guest designers, " Molydeux replies primly. "For one thing I'll be there keeping an eye on you as well as helping to pass the soap, hair products and foot scrub if needed."
Words fail. I suspect this is either an elaborate marketing scheme or a clever attempt at trolling the Molydeux account's 70, 000-strong battery of fans. Still, who knows? Molydeux now talks to Molyneux, has inspired a global game jam and helped precipitate a panoply of oddball games. On the off-chance that this somehow gets off the floor, you heard it here first, folks. You heard it here.
All we need now is to get the Horse_ebooks to be the Principal and Bob's our uncle.
(If you don't already follow the Peter Molydeux account, you should. It's rad and possibly stranger than this interview.)
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