The Rage of the Quitter
PAX West 2017
The table gets flipped. The healer sits down in spawn and plays Rick Astley over the voice chat. The tournament ends in chaos. Friendships die. Why does the quitter rage so? This panel will explore the inglorious exits of gaming. Presented live at PAX West 2017 in the Hippogriff Theatre.
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.
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)!
Scared Yet: A Discussion of Horror in Games
PAX South 2016
Rym appeared at PAX South 2016 alongside several smart people on a panel about horror in games, moderated by Kris Straub!
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], Alanah Pearce [Editor, IGN], Dabe Alan [Penny Arcade], Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights], Alex Steacy [Loading Ready Run]
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.