MAGFest 11 - Video Game Genres

MAGFest 11 Gaming Intellectuals
Video Game Genres

Every year, Scott and I attend MAGFest not just to lecture, but also to sit as panelists alongside the rest of the MAGFest "Gaming Intellectuals" on various gaming topics. This one, from MAGFest 11 (2013), explores the very idea of genre in videogames (and games in general).

Beyond Candyland - MAGFest 11

Beyond Candyland
MAGFest 11

When most people think of board games, they imagine Monopoly, LIFE, Candyland, Pop-o-Matic Trouble, or perhaps Risk: games primarily of luck. There are, however, board games of skill that you've likely never heard of. Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan may have appeared on the Xbox, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Moreso, despite playing a multitude of games, many people never really move beyond Candy Land. Sure, they're playing games that are (in theory) much more complex than Candy Land, but do they truly progress? Move up the ladder and explore the next level of gaming, game design, and play. These aren't the games you played as a child.

PAX Prime 2012 - On the Ethics of Mind Control

PAX Prime 2012: On the Ethics of Mind Control

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"On the Ethics of Mind Control," the third and final of these, and discusses the possibly uncomfortable questions surrounding the ethical considerations of game design. Is it truly ethical to design a game to be addictive, or is "addictiveness" simply a sign of good design? Do games change us in more ways than we might realize? Is regulation on the horizon, a good idea, or even possible? How are games different from other media (or are they different at all)?

PAX Prime 2012 - A Competitive Test of Skill

PAX Prime 2012: A Competitive Test of Skill

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"A Competitive Test of Skill," the second of these, is a treatment of one particular class of games: competitive games where "skill" determines the victor. But what is skill? How do we determine what "skill(s)" a game is actually testing? What does fairness mean, and can it be measured? This is a deep examination of versus games from a variety of perspectives.

The Penny Arcade Expo is a place where gamers of all stripes come together, and while the competitive ones do pay at least subconscious attention to the idea, most don't really consider what it means to play, and more importantly, to try to win, games. We've lectured on this at previous PAXes (How to Win at Games)!

For more GeekNights lectures, see our Convention Lecture Youtube Playlist!

PAX Prime 2012: When the Game Plays the Player

PAX Prime 2012: When the Game Plays the Player

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater. This is the first of them

"When the Game Plays the Player" explores rhythm games, such as Dance Dance Revolution, both from a historical and game design perspective. Dive deep into the sometimes surprising mechanics of these games, a genre often ignored by theorists, and see how their concepts can be applied in places you would never imagine.

For more GeekNights lectures, see our Convention Lecture Youtube Playlist!

Let's Play Money Making Game: PAX East 2012

Games can make their money many ways, but how do these models affect, intentionally or not, the design choices of the game makers themselves? What about the players? Do you play a game differently depending on how you paid for it? Free to play, pay once, subscription, or silly hats, what do these different models mean to games at their core? Only ten rupees; hopefully you won't have to pay the door repair charge.

We presented this first at PAX East 2012.

The How to Run a Panel Panel: Anime Boston 2012

Due to a scheduling conflict, we were forced to choose between presenting at either Anime Boston or PAX on Friday in 2012. But fie on that! Shortly before the double-convention weekend, we recorded the Anime Boston presentation and sent the con a DVD! And people showed up to see it!

We did make it to AB Saturday for two more events that were actually live at least!

Here, we discuss in somewhat random order the ins and outs of running panels and workshops at conventions like PAX or Anime Boston, after realizing that we old men have over a decade's experience doing just that.

We threw this together in a hurry, so expect some rough edges (some purposeful for comedic effect, some not-so-purposeful)!

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