How to Know the Unknowable

There’s a simple technique to figuring out stuff that people usually get incredibly wrong. Here’s how it works. Let’s say I give you a complex question with a bunch of moving parts and unknown factors. For example, “Is it feasible to create an original pokemon-style game with an additional mmo-like quest system, using a team of 7 […]

Bad ideas are mold, they flourish in the right environment

It’s helpful to think of BS, incompetence, bad ideas and so on like mold spores. They’re always around looking for an opportunity to take hold. The harder it is to determine objectively who is right/wrong or who is to credit/blame for something, the more the mold flourishes. I work in a creative, team-driven field with […]

What is “fun” anyway?

Fun = Satisfaction + Flow State. It’s that simple. Think of it like that and you’ll have a useful, actionable and practical definition for the classic definition of game-generated fun. People use the word ‘fun’ for lots of things (notably any positive experience with no clear long-term value, such as a ‘fun movie’), but nearly […]

The Misunderstanding of “Say Yes”

Basically everyone has heard of the common improv rule of “always say yes”. This is because improv theater can’t afford to slow down and solve a conflict, it’s designed to run full speed ahead and often creates hilarious results. There’s a reason why improv comedy is rampant but improvisational drama doesn’t work quite as well. […]

A Blasphemous Improvement to Pokemon

I grew up playing Pokemon. It’s an incredible series. The games are brilliant in many ways. Let’s just assume I’m not hating on the series and move on. Pokemon has a simple problem: Catching Pokemon is largely pointless. Higher level pokemon gain absurd advantages over their less powerful counterparts. The game also provides better stat […]

The Most Frustrating Product Designs

A design exercise I often use is to try and create the *worst* possible version of a project. This helps shake up my thinking and reveal the core points of the experience, because I have to identify them in order to thwart them. I recently found out Katerina Kamprani tried the same thing with everyday items. […]

Push the Enablers, Not the Threats

WOTC R&D: This is safe to read. There are no custom card designs in this article. Magic: the Gathering is in the midst of what seems to be a downward spiral for the game’s diversity and balance in its Standard Format. Players are complaining and the recent standard bannings, which haven’t had to happen in years, […]