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!

CGD Podcast Episode 32: Contests of Understanding, and Questioning Gun Worship in Games

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Hello everyone! A new episode, finally. This one is a distinct two-parter, coming in at about 45 minutes. I first talk about how games are better described as contests of understanding rather than contests of decisions. The “decisions” aspect of games tends to actually be a bit over-stated.

The second thing I talk about is a new IGN article that asks the question, “Are Guns In Video Games Holding The Medium Back?”

(Above is a screenshot from a new satirical VR game called The American Dream.)

Thanks for listening, and let me know what you think of the episode below.

Liked the episode? Please consider becoming a patron at Patreon.com. You’ll gain access to previews of new episodes, articles, and even get the first glimpses at my games and prototypes.

CGD Podcast Ep. 31 – permadeath, structure, the death of game design writing, and more

Hello everyone. Today I’m talking about a new article I read about permadeath/grinding, as well as what I perceive as the death, or at least curving off of, the world of game design writing.

I also read and responded to a Frank Lantz quote (now on the Dinofarm Forums!) on the topic of structure in games and win rates.

You should also check out the game design subreddit if you haven’t already: http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedesign

(By the way… beware the term “beautiful”.)

As always, you can support the show by visiting my Patreon page.