Nearly all of us have played video games as children and some of us continue to do so as adults. Successful video game designers have a surprisingly broad skill set. They combine everything from graphic design abilities and computer programming know-how to creative writing talent and storyboarding.
Academically speaking, you could say that Game Design is an art and a science. It is the art of envisioning the storyline, content, and rules of a game; while it is the science of examining the psychology of the player and his relationship with the game. In short, game design involves figuring out what will get a player hooked to a game and what won’t and creating games that will work.
A Game Designer is someone who has a vision of what the game is as it goes through iterations during its development cycle. Any game you see in the market is usually the brainchild of a Game Designer. You could say that he is the one who makes sure that a Half-life game plays and feels like a Half-life game. He doesn’t design the artwork or does the programming he is to a game what a director is to a movie he can make or break a game concept.
A Game Designer is expected to have an understanding of Art / Aesthetics, Programming, Project Management, Culture, Languages, Sound Design / Music etc. You will be the only person who will have a complete vision of the game in the team and you will have to work with Programmers, Artists, Project Managers and even other Designers to bring the game to life. Knowing a thing or two about such topics removes unwanted friction in communication.
At the end of the day, making games is a business and you are supposed to make a game that people will be willing to pay for. Games are cultural products and you cannot even accidentally offend people of a certain country because you didn’t know something in your game is considered distasteful in their culture cultural awareness is necessary.