GeekNights PAX South 2016 Schedule

Friday December 18, 2015

We have THREE panels at PAX South 2016!

Atari Game Design
Saturday, January 30th at 11:30am
Bobcat Theatre

Game design is a wide subject. The best approach to mastering it is to focus on the fundamentals, and what better place to do that than with Atari 2600 games? Join us for a deep game design analysis of classic competitive Atari games like Outlaw, and how their core concepts extend to modern games. When you can literally count the pixels with your eyes, and the code will fit in your calculator, the core principles of good (and bad) design become starkly apparent.


Scared Yet: A Discussion of Horror in Games

Saturday, January 30th at 5:30pm
Bobcat Theatre

Jump scare! Kris Straub (Broodhollow, Candle Cove) and a panel of esteemed horror and video game enthusiasts hold an informal roundtable on where fear works best in gaming, and where it doesn't make the cut. Come for the frightening… stay for the enlightening! Nope, that was bad. Please delete that.

Kris Straub [Chainsawsuit], Susan Arendt [Managing Editor, GamesRadar], Dabe Alan [Penny Arcade], Brandon Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights]


Designing Game Rules

Sunday, January 31st at 1:00pm
Bobcat Theatre

The rules of a game literally define it. In videogames, they are intrinsic limitations. In tabletop, players must enforce them. In all games, players need to learn them. There are good and bad ways to teach a game. From awful tutorials to unparseable rulebooks, elegant demos to hour-long slogs, join us for a mechanical discussion of how game rules are (and should be) written, how players learn games, and why so few people are willing to read a 100 page rulebook (nevermind the appendices)!

Live at PAX South 2016

Wednesday December 2, 2015

We have two panels at PAX South 2016!

Atari Game Design
Saturday, January 30th at 1:00pm
Bobcat Theatre

Game design is a wide subject. The best approach to mastering it is to focus on the fundamentals, and what better place to do that than with Atari 2600 games? Join us for a deep game design analysis of classic competitive Atari games like Outlaw, and how their core concepts extend to modern games. When you can literally count the pixels with your eyes, and the code will fit in your calculator, the core principles of good (and bad) design become starkly apparent.

Designing Game Rules
Sunday, January 31st at 1:00pm
Bobcat Theatre

The rules of a game literally define it. In videogames, they are intrinsic limitations. In tabletop, players must enforce them. In all games, players need to learn them. There are good and bad ways to teach a game. From awful tutorials to unparseable rulebooks, elegant demos to hour-long slogs, join us for a mechanical discussion of how game rules are (and should be) written, how players learn games, and why so few people are willing to read a 100 page rulebook (nevermind the appendices)!

GeekNights PAX Prime Schedule

Tuesday August 18, 2015

GeekNights will be live at PAX Prime 2015! These constitute our 33rd and 34th consecutive panels or lectures at PAXes since 2008. Both are brand new never-before-seen experiences for senses.

The Far Future of Gaming
Sunday Aug 30 @ 1:00pm
Sphinx Theatre

Few industries, even on the bleeding edge, are able to make accurate projections even ten years into the future. At thirty years out, all bets are off. Games are no exception. Accelerating technology, evolving design, even entirely new mediums, spring suddenly into being. You probably have some sense of what the next few years hold for games. But what about the next 30? The next 100? Could gaming in 2015 have been predicted from gaming in 1985? What drives it? What will hold it back?

Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights]
Scott Rubin [Host, GeekNights]
Luke Crane [Community Manager for Games, Kickstarter]
Catt Small [UX and Game Designer, Brooklyn Gamery]
Josephine Fu [Lead Game Producer, Date Nighto]
Emily Compton [3D Animator, What Pumpkin]

Sports are Games
Monday Aug 31 @ 4:00pm
Sphinx Theatre

Gaming live streams are some of the most popular television programs in the US. There are entire TV networks covering gaming that have existed for decades. Yet, many self-described gamers will eschew "Football" and "Ice Hockey" as being somehow distinct from "DOTA 2" and "CounterStrike." We even like to use the term "esport" to separate them from "sports." Sports and "esports" are fundamentally the same. American Football is frighteningly like a distributed turn-based strategy game. Esports, regular sports: it's all just sports.

Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights]
Scott Rubin [Host, GeekNights]

Online Story-Driven Games
Wednesday Sep 2 @ 7:00pm

After PAX, don't forget that Rym will be lecturing at CHIFOO in Portland! Games don't just have UX: games are UX.

GeekNights Live at PAX Prime 2015

Sunday July 19, 2015

GeekNights will be live at PAX Prime 2015! These constitute our 33rd and 34th consecutive panels or lectures at PAXes since 2008. Both are brand new never-before-seen experiences for senses.

The Far Future of Gaming
Sunday Aug 30 @ 1:00pm
Sphinx Theatre

Few industries, even on the bleeding edge, are able to make accurate projections even ten years into the future. At thirty years out, all bets are off. Games are no exception. Accelerating technology, evolving design, even entirely new mediums, spring suddenly into being. You probably have some sense of what the next few years hold for games. But what about the next 30? The next 100? Could gaming in 2015 have been predicted from gaming in 1985? What drives it? What will hold it back?

Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights]
Scott Rubin [Host, GeekNights]
Luke Crane [Community Manager for Games, Kickstarter]
Catt Small [UX and Game Designer, Brooklyn Gamery]
Josephine Fu [Lead Game Producer, Date Nighto]
Emily Compton [3D Animator, What Pumpkin]

Sports are Games
Monday Aug 31 @ 4:00pm
Sphinx Theatre

Gaming live streams are some of the most popular television programs in the US. There are entire TV networks covering gaming that have existed for decades. Yet, many self-described gamers will eschew "Football" and "Ice Hockey" as being somehow distinct from "DOTA 2" and "CounterStrike." We even like to use the term "esport" to separate them from "sports." Sports and "esports" are fundamentally the same. American Football is frighteningly like a distributed turn-based strategy game. Esports, regular sports: it's all just sports.

Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights]
Scott Rubin [Host, GeekNights]

Online Story-Driven Games
Wednesday Sep 2 @ 7:00pm

After PAX, don't forget that Rym will be lecturing at CHIFOO in Portland! Games don't just have UX: games are UX.

See our panel at PAX East!

Tuesday March 3, 2015

Come see us at PAX East 2015! We've got an awesome panel called What is Losing?!

What is Losing
Friday, March 6th
4:30pm
Bumblebee Theatre

The point of a game is to win. Or is it? Can you "win" Gone Home or The Stanley Parable? Is losing a game of Dwarf Fortress the same as losing a game of chess? Why is Super Meat Boy's difficulty exciting, while Silver Surfer's is painful? Does one lose Monopoly due to player skill, or because you flipped the table? What if we played games that focused not on the "narrative of victory," but instead on the "narrative of failure?" Do games need to have a way to "lose" in the first place?

Afterward, we will be able to answer some questions in the hall and hang out with you guys before we head back to Tabletop Freeplay!

Live at PAX South and PAX East!

Tuesday January 13, 2015

GeekNights will be in San Antonio Texas for PAX South 2015. We will be presenting (in the very least) a lecture titled "Bad Games."

Bad Games
Sunday, January 25th
4:30pm
Armadillo Theatre

We've all played "bad" games, but what truly makes a game "bad?" Is one's miserable experience not simply subjective opinion? It turns out that the problem is not in defining what makes a game "bad," but in what makes a game a "game." Candyland teaches children colors and counting, but is terrible for a serious tournament. Dungeons & Dragons is great for that heroic fantasy adventure, but not so much for your future cyberpunk transhumanist court drama.

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We are also returning for PAX East 2015, where we will be presenting a lecture titled "What is Losing?"

What is Losing?
Friday, March 6th
4:30pm
Bumblebee Theatre

The point of a game is to win. Or is it? Can you "win" Gone Home or The Stanley Parable? Is losing a game of Dwarf Fortress the same as losing a game of chess? Why is Super Meat Boy's difficulty exciting, while Silver Surfer's is painful? Does one lose Monopoly due to player skill, or because you flipped the table? What if we played games that focused not on the "narrative of victory," but instead on the "narrative of failure?" Do games need to have a way to "lose" in the first place?

Live at PAX South 2015!

Tuesday December 2, 2014

We are happy to announce that GeekNights will be in San Antonio Texas for PAX South 2015. We will be presenting (in the very least) a lecture titled "Bad Games."

Bad Games
Sunday, January 25th
4:30pm
Armadillo Theatre.

We've all played "bad" games, but what truly makes a game "bad?" Is one's miserable experience not simply subjective opinion? It turns out that the problem is not in defining what makes a game "bad," but in what makes a game a "game." Candyland teaches children colors and counting, but is terrible for a serious tournament. Dungeons & Dragons is great for that heroic fantasy adventure, but not so much for your future cyberpunk transhumanist court drama.

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