Podcast with Keith Burgun


Game talk

I did a 90 minute interview with Keith Burgun of Clockwork Game Design and Game Design Theory fame. We talked about all sorts of things — my emulation cabinet, the state of game design theory, naturally occurring ludic systems — and argued towards the end over whether a games are made of games. There’s a shoutout towards Katharine Neil’s recent work, especially her wonderful article giving the history of late 90s/early 2000s attempts to codify game design practices.

You can listen here: Game Grammar and Game Design Theory – Interview with Raph Koster – keithburgun.net

Recent videos & interviews


Game talk

I tweeted about these, but neglected to mention them here on the blog, so here’s a roundup!

First up is my favorite, this video by Zoyander Street of Critical Distance, for First Person Scholar. He was in town and came by my house to talk games; we ended up in my loft, where I keep the boardgame collection and do boardgame design, talking about abstract games and their rich history. You can just barely see the arcade machine off to the left there; it’s got a huge chunk of videogaming history emulated on it.

We didn’t talk about all the games on the table — there’s quite a range. I did get asked on Twitter what the book was — it’s R. C. Bell’s Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations.

Next is a pair of things from GDC, where I spent time chatting with GamesIndustry.biz. The first is a podcast I did alongside with Justin Ma of Subset Games, makers of the phenomenal FTL. Listening back, I feel like I kinda stomped all over him speaking. 🙁 But we did have some great conversation before during and after. You can listen to it here.

Separately, Dan Pearson, who hosted the podcast, also interviewed me about a collection of random topics: metrics, VR, Theory of Fun, and more.

The danger, when you get people who don’t know game design but do know metrics, is that they conclude that they’ve ‘solved game design’ by reducing it to a certain set of metrics. That was actually something which was said to me by someone who was working on Facebook games: ‘we’re done, we’ve solved it. The metrics will tell us what to do, we don’t need a designer any more.’ It was ignorant, clueless. They met their deserving fate, eventually.

These have been added to the Interviews section of the site… and while I was doing that, I also happened to find the transcripts of a few way-old interviews I did for f13.net back in 2007-08. If you want to see how on or off the mark I was about industry trends, here you go: