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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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Jun 10, 2020

The gang digs into the audacious design of Doom Eternal, which manages to be too similar to its predecessor for new players to learn, yet is also too different for some existing fans to enjoy. You can punch the ribs out of a giant brain with a gun bolted on top, though, so Jon and Rob love it anyway.

May 25, 2020

After taking a few months off, we're back ready to discuss the latest and greatest in digital games... by talking about a five-year-old mobile game.  Rob's been grooving on Clash Royale's clan battles, and the gang discusses how these types of alternate game modes can expand a game's audience by providing multiple modes of play that appeal to different players.

May 4, 2020

We're back with another dive into the fascinating world of tabletop roleplaying! This time, Jon comes to Kyle with a problem -- he feels anxious that the last session he GMed didn't go so well, and he's not sure how to deal with this in a constructive way.

This sparks a long discussion about the importance of creating intentional spaces that invite feedback and sharing, and the risks and potential toxicity of making assumptions about the expectations of your fellow humans around the table.

Mar 30, 2020

We're back to discuss more of the hows, whats, and whys of GMing tabletop roleplaying games! This time, Kyle and Jon discuss how to get your players to engage their imaginations and provide more colorful contributions to the ongoing story.

Among other things, we cover the importance of making your players feel safe at the table, how to create opportunities for players to showcase their imaginations, and how to get your players to build out the elements of their characters that will fuel the story for future sessions.

Mar 15, 2020

We're trying something new! While video games are cool and all, we've been spending a lot of our design energy recently playing, running, and thinking about tabletop RPGs.

RPGs are some of the most fascinating and unique gaming experiences you can experience today. They're intricate machines that synthesize the efforts and desires of the players, the game master, and the game's original designer to create something that none of them ever expected. They simulate complex worlds that exist only in the minds of those sitting around the table. They're a constant conversation between the players and their game master, between the mechanics of the system and the needs of the story, between the desires of the players and the in-universe goals of their characters.

In short, RPGs are dope, and we want to understand them better.

To begin this journey to take apart RPGs and see what makes them tick, Jon sits down with new co-host Kyle Pulver to discuss how game masters can better work alongside their chosen game system, rather than struggling against it. We dig into how your GMing style should match the fidelity of your chosen game system, how you can tell the focus of a system based on where it expends most of its detail, and how embracing all the rules of a system can teach your more than attempting to work around or undermine the ones you don't understand.

Jan 1, 2020

It's the end of the 2010s, and the gang is looking back to try and make sense of what just happened. Join us for a jaunt down memory lane that is almost as insightful as it is exhausting. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be amazed at how many games we're still playing today came out over a decade ago.

Happy new year, and here's to another decade of great games.

Nov 11, 2019

The gang discusses Really Bad Chess, which is actually really good. We dig into how developer Zach Gage made a classic game more fun and accessible, and Rob expresses his surprisingly deep love for Backgammon.

Nov 4, 2019

The gang discusses the gorgeous visual album game Sayonara Wild Hearts, heaping praises upon its aesthetics but picking apart its bizarre relationship with its scoring system.

Oct 21, 2019

The gang discusses comedy in games and how Untitled Goose Game and What the Golf? each tackle this difficult design area.

Sep 20, 2019

The gang discusses Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the latest entry in the long-running tactics RPG series. We dig into how Three Houses uses its character development mechanics to encourage the player to invest in their characters both mechanically and emotionally. We then contrast this approach with those taken in XCOM 2 and Darkest Dungeon to see how each game uses its systems to reinforce its unique themes and tone.

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