Rob Reed is a Programme Tutor for Games Design at Leeds City College. Here, he tells us about his background and what he enjoys most about teaching in the Visual Arts department.
Tell us about your background
“I used to play games from a very young age, and my passion developed from the days of Atari and space invaders. At that time however, it was just a hobby. When I was older, I became interested in language and literature, with ambitions to become a writer. I put this interest to good use in the education sector, as an English teacher at a secondary school in East Leeds.
“In 1999, I put my teaching career on hold and decided to venture out, resulting in opening my own video company with a friend. This was another interest of mine and I enjoyed experimenting with video technology and effects. For 10 successful years, we were involved in creating a mix of videos for clients, from special occasions and weddings to promotional and corporate moving image. Despite its success, I had to close this business once I got a full time job at Leeds City College.”
How did you become a games teacher?
“I joined Leeds City College 12 years ago, initially as a Film Studies teacher. Five years later, I moved into Games Design, specifically looking at the theory behind games. It was an interesting transition for me, as games have the same theory and principles as film. I discovered that I enjoyed analysing them more than films and I haven’t looked back since.”
What do you enjoy about your role?
“I enjoy teaching students how to see games differently and start to think critically about text, audience, culture, representation and gender. Seeing them develop and understand the theory behind games and applying it to practice is very rewarding. I have a great bunch of creative students that are a delight to teach and it’s a bonus that research at home involves playing games! I have also recently created a blog for my Higher Education (HE) students, where I review games and delve into their concepts and themes.”
What do you do outside of work?
“Apart from playing games and writing, I enjoy long walks, get-togethers at home watching 80s action films and general geeky things! I also perform at spoken word nights on a semi-professional basis and play in a band called The Housekeeping Society. Last year, we played at The Cavern in Liverpool, as part of the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) festival.”
What’s your favourite game?
“My favourite game at the moment would have to be ‘Firewatch’, a first person mystery adventure game that follows a national forest fire lookout, as strange things start happening. It’s a creepy yet emotional game and I felt like I had actually been there.”