How do you turn an idea into a game, and how do you make sure that game maintains the spirit of that idea as you develop it? We're joined by Meat Boy level design maven, TowerFall world champion, and all-round charmer Kyle Pulver to solve these problems once and for all! Along the way, we discuss the value of applying constraints to your design, how to define your game by 'pivoting' through your design space, and how making a game is kind of like navigating a canoe. Or blowing up a flour mill. If you like strained metaphors, this is definitely the episode for you.
It's been a little while since we got everyone together in front of the mic, so we're taking it easy this episode to catch up and talk about some games we've been playing!
Rob's been exploring Fantasy Flight's line of Arkham Horror tabletop games, Jon's got lost in Hollow Knight, and Ryan took a relaxing vacation in Super Mario Odyssey.
Join us as we talk through what we like and dislike about each of these games... except Super Mario Odyssey. There's basically nothing bad we can say about that game.
The classic trio is back on the mics, and we're celebrating by diving into that most classic of game mechanics — grinding! Join us as we debate grinding's definition, discuss why it has such a bad reputation, and explain how it can help players get more from your game and make your life as a game designer easier, then marvel as we do all of this without any relevant credentials or experience to back up our convictions. With no guest to guide us, we're loud, we're sassy, and we're just as pretentious as ever.
The multitalented JR Honeycutt stops by to talk to us about dexterity mechanics, those precise and speedy tests of skill that make everything from Devil May Cry to pool so satisfying to play. Together we dig into the different types of dexterity mechanics: what types of dexterity mechanics exist, makes them fun, and what risks you should be aware when utilizing them.
Then we get extremely sidetracked arguing about the distinctions between games, sports, and sports games. And e-sports. It's a whole thing.
How do you make games that feel competitive for players of all skill levels, while still feeling fair to the players with the most experience? Catch-up mechanics!
Joseph Chen joins us to chat through different kinds of catch-up mechanics, how overpowered catch-up mechanics can take over your game, and that dark cousin of the catch-up mechanic: the runaway leader.
How do you open your game with a bang, hold the player's attention through hours of gameplay, and wrap things up in a way that feels satisfying and complete? We sure the heck don't know, but special guest Nina Freeman (Cibele, Tacoma, how do you Do it?) does!
In this episode, we discuss game introductions, how difficulty progression and story can both drive player engagement, the value of vignette-style storytelling, the way that sports tell stories, and whether games even need endings, plus lots more incisive and indecisive discussion about your favorite games!
More is always better, right? Wrong!
We're joined by games critic and all-around smart egg John Brindle to discuss his Waypoint article analyzing Frank Lantz's brilliant clicker game Universal Paperclips. Along the way, we cover why simple games are often the most impactful, how to make sure your game says what you want it to say, and the dangers of including mechanics without considering all of their implications.
We also talk about paperclips. Lots and lots of paperclips.
Everyone plays games, but games aren't always designed with everyone in mind. In this episode, we're joined by [Dee Del Rosario](https://twitter.com/scumbling) as we discuss how to build games that include and appeal to as many people as possible. We cover why representational inclusivity is so important, tools for making your games more accessible, how to support marginalized creators, and the importance of putting in the effort to do your research and remaining critical of your own work.
Plus, we recommend tons of great groups, conferences, and talks for you to investigate and get involved with to learn even more!
Remember: be critical of your own work, keep and open mind, and always be willing to listen.