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)!
PAX Australia - How to Win
It seems obvious that, when playing a game of skill, one attempts to win. Interestingly, this is often not the case, and even skilled gamers rarely analyze to any real depth the underlying mechanics and strategy of a given game. By deconstructing the games we play, you too can make them far less fun for yourself and beat the everliving hell out of your friends. We'll hit the theory pretty heavily, but also specific examples from games like "Stratego," "Settlers of Catan," and even "Football."
Presented at the Penny Arcade Expo Australia 2014 on Friday in the Fruitbat Theatre.
PAX Prime Expo Hall LIVE!
Ever wonder what it's like to walk through a PAX Expo Hall with Rym and Scott? In a lofty experiment, GeekNights livestreams from the Penny Arcade Expo Prime 2014. But, since they're no bandwidth in the expo hall, they actually just record it and upload it later. Let's Play the Expo Hall!
This is an experiment. The audio is clipped. The camerawork is shoddy. Raw and mostly unedited (long conversations, fighting crowds, going to the bathroom redacted for obvious reasons), this is a good sense of what it's actually like to deal with us two jerks at a convention. It's also a good representation of how we actually talk to eachother outside of the show.
How to Win Every Game
PAX Prime 2014
It seems obvious that, when playing a game of skill, one attempts to win. Interestingly, this is often not the case, and even skilled gamers rarely analyze to any real depth the underlying mechanics and strategy of a given game. By deconstructing the games we play, you too can make them far less fun for yourself and beat the everliving hell out of your friends. We'll hit the theory pretty heavily, but also specific examples from games like Stratego, Settlers of Catan, and even Football.
Why No One Will Game with You
Presented by GeekNights at PAX East 2014 on Friday at 1:00pm in the Badger Theatre.
In gaming forums around the world, variations of the same thread forever grace the front page: "Looking for a Gaming Group." Games are ubiquitous, barriers to entry are ever-lower, and the Internet (never mind conventions like PAX) provide what should be a sea of gamers ready and willing to play games with us. So why all the trouble? Why, in 2013, is it still so hard to form a gaming group? Why won't anyone play Air Hockey with me?
In exploring the "LFG" space, there are a myriad of issues which come to light. Skill gaps leave players stranded. Matchmaking systems hurt as much as they help. The longer tail of games available spreads niche audiences further into increasingly specific sub-sub-sub-genres. Play styles differ. (Indeed, in some groups it is impolite to spend more than ten seconds on one's turn, while in others spending less than ten MINUTES is the height of rudeness)!
Let's explore why it's so hard (or why it SEEMS to hard) to find people to play games!
Luke Crane's Burning Wheel is the game that got us into tabletop roleplaying games that weren't for all intents and purposes Dungeons & Dragons. It exemplifies role playing games as idiogames. It is a system of conflict resolution that facilitates collaborative storytelling. It makes drama happen whether you want it to or not. Burning Wheel isn't for every gamer, nor for every game. But, if you want to play out a gritty, dramatic, medieval story, there are few games that serve the purpose so well.