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Pretentious Game Ideas

The monthly game design podcast that you haven't been waiting for! Join us as we discuss, explore, and get out of our depths in a new game design topic every episode.
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Apr 15, 2019

We're back with a new interview episode! Special guest Casey Yano drops by to discuss the experience of developing his hit game Slay the Spire using early access development, in which a game is made available for play and purchase while it is still being actively built by the developer.

Together we explore how to recognize if early access is right for your project, what value it can create for you as a developer, how to convince your players to pay for an unfinished game, and strategies for avoiding the dreaded scope creep.

Dec 30, 2018

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 mavenTowerFall 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.

Nov 22, 2018

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.

Jul 23, 2018

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.

May 22, 2018

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.

Mar 30, 2018

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!

 

Mar 5, 2018

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.

Jan 28, 2018

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.

Nov 23, 2017

We talk a lot about how to make your games better, but how do you make yourself better? Emma Larkins joins us to discuss honing your analytical skills, the importance of daily practice, valuable game design resources, and how to not take feedback personally.

Join in the fun by posting your own design practice to #gamedesigndaily on Twitter, Instragram, or your hashtaggable social media service of choice!

Oct 20, 2017

We're back with the next episode of our increasingly numerically fraught Reading List subseries! This time Ryan, Rob, and Jon are joined by special guest Vivian Wong to discuss some of our favorite 'unpolished gems' -- games that might not be remembered as best in class (or remembered at all), but that still have great ideas that are worth taking a second look at.

Games covered this time include Candy Box, Dream Quest, High School Dreams: Best Friends Forever, and Chulip.

 

Apologies for the inconsistent audio quality this episode. We had some technical issues while recording, and Jon had to patch the episode together from multiple backups like some terrible audio Frankenstein. (Happy Halloween, everybody!)

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