Play (Dirty) to Win: PAX East 2017
Ostensibly, you play games to win. (Assuming we're talking about competitive games: you're not playing to "win" Dungeons & Dragons… are you?) But are really? Shouldn't you be winning a lot more often? Maybe you should try that cheap strategy you've heard about. Punch below the belt. Memorize the deck. Read the FAQ. What's the line between playing to win and cheating? Is "playing dirty" even really a thing? Come for the degenerate strategies, stay for the soul-crushing revelations on winning.
Presented by GeekNights at PAX East 2017.
Quitting: MAGFest 2017
Ragequit isn't the only form of quitting. People stop playing games for a huge range of reasons. They get bored, they get frustrated, they get distracted, they sometimes literally just forget. It seems simple, but it isn't. Quitting is an option that's there whether the game designer wants it or not, an instrinsic mechanic of all games, and it's a far deeper topic than you might expect.
Presented by GeekNights at Magfest 2017 as part of the MAGES track.
The Grind: PAX Prime
The Grind. We've all experienced it. We've all complained about it. Some of us secretly love it. But ask 100 people what it actually IS, and you'll get 40 different answers. Join us for a mechanical discussion of what "grinding" really means in games. Is it necessary for a "classic MMO?" Is it part of the genre of a "JRPG?" Does it exist in board games? Is it bad? Is it good? Is it necessary? Part storytelling, part game design, part game theory—let's explore the grind from all angles.
Atari Game Design
PAX East 2016
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
PAX South 2016
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)!
How to Run an Anime Club
Anime Boston 2016
Presented at many conventions since 2002, from Otakon to Anime Boston, GeekNights finally videoed their advice on how to run an anime club. Some things have changed over the years (you don't need LaserDisc player or VHS library anymore), but most things haven't (dealing with "that guy"). Here is the brutal, honest truth on what it takes to run an anime club.
Sports are Games
PAX Prime 2015
Gaming livestreams 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.