Game Grammar and Game Design Theory – Interview with Raph Koster

Today I had a conversation with the author of my favorite book on game design, as well as a designer on one of my favorite interactive experiences of my high school years, Raph Koster. The conversation goes for about 90 minutes, and like Raph said, we could have easily gone another four hours afterward. It was a great conversation that touched on a number of topics:

  • How videogame history both has a lot to teach us, but at the same time hasn’t changed much in some ways since the early days
  • Raph’s guideline for designing good abstract strategy games
  • Game grammar, and the books Raph has been working on for a decade
  • The state of game design theory discourse

Check out Raph’s website here. Also at the end of the podcast he mentions this article.

Enjoy the show!

As always, you can support this podcast by becoming a patron over at my Patreon page.

 

CGD Podcast Bonus – Introducing The Dinofarm Community Podcast

Hi everyone! This week, instead of a normal Clockwork Game Design Podcast episode, I bring you an episode of another podcast that I was very recently on – the Dinofarm Community Podcast. This is a podcast hosted and run by members of the Dinofarm Games community, over on the discord and forums. I came on this episode, #3, to discuss core mechanisms, and we contrasted them with Redless’ idea about core decisions. Overall, it was a good conversation, one that I think Clockwork Game Design podcast listeners will get a lot out of.

Enjoy! And subscribe to the Dinofarm Community Podcast, which will have new episodes weekly.

Brett Lowey’s Game Design Commandments

Grab Minos Strategos when you can.

Today, in Episode 36* of the Clockwork Game Design Podcast, I had a great conversation with BrainGoodGamesBrett Lowey. If you don’t already know BrainGoodGames, they make some of the best single-player strategy games out there. All four of Brett’s games—Militia, Axes & Acres, Skyboats, as well as his latest, Minos Strategos—are available on Steam.

But making great games isn’t necessarily enough for me to want to have a conversation with someone. What made me interested was “BrainGoodGames’ Design Commandments” which he posted on his site recently.

The conversation was great and went to a bunch of interesting places. We covered his commandments, of course, but discussed his origins and what he considers to be the successes and failures of his games.

I should mention also that Brett is one of the editors over at gamedesigntheory.org, the new site I recently launched that highlights current game design bloggers and media producers.

Enjoy the episode!

*PS I think I said it’s 35 in the episode itself – ignore me!

 

Interview with Carolyn Petit of Feminist Frequency

Today I spoke with Carolyn Petit, the managing editor of Feminist Frequency, which you’ve probably heard about, since they’re easily the most successful and influential feminist/socially progressive games criticism outlet out there. A heads up: this is not a big formal “game design” conversation

Instead, here are some of the things we did talk about:

  • Some follow-up to my point about “be critical of the games you love” thing from the last episode with Tevis Thompson
  • A bit about Carolyn’s background, how she came to a “feminist awakening” after working at GameSpot
  • How game developers, especially indie white male game devs like myself can do a better job with representing people who don’t look like themselves
  • How the future is looking for representation and social issues in games

… and a lot more. I’d like to thank Carolyn again for her time, thanks to you for listening, and as always, thank you to the patrons who make this show possible.

To support the show, visit here.

CGD Podcast: Episode 34 – Videogames and Game Culture with Tevis Thompson

Writer and critic Tevis Thompson has been on my radar a long time as a rare person who talks about games in a way that is markedly less alienating to me than usual. I recently heard him on the 1099 podcast, which I recommend people check out, and I thought we could have a really good discussion about games and games culture, which that conversation just barely touched upon. And that’s just what we did! In this conversation we talked about big-budget games like The Witcher and The Last Guardian, violence glorification and other toxic politics of games, the hyper-defensive culture surrounding games, and a lot more.

Check out Tevis’s site here. Follow him on Twitter here.

As always, I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about it in the comments. And if you want to support the show, do so here.

CGD Podcast Ep. 33 – Flow, Formalism, and the Depth/Accessibility Trade-off

First of all, I’m not really a formalist, and I explain why in the episode. Also: why I’m not sure anyone really “is a formalist”.

I talk about the “flow” concept that you’ve read about in almost every game design article and you ever read that wasn’t written by me.

I also address a number of other topics, answer listener questions, and I even talk about some of my favorite podcasts at the end of the show.

Enjoy!

And as always, if you enjoy the show, please consider becoming a patron on Patreon.com!

EDIT: I said that I would be talking about self-expression in games. I didn’t get around to it in this episode, but forgot to edit out the mention of it in the header. Apologies!