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DESIGN ESSAYS

Here are some of my most notable game design articles and essays, including critical analysis, research, and no small amount of editorializing.

Are Designers A Necessary Evil?
In which I deconstruct one argument to that effect and provide a counterargument for what I believe to be the actual, healthy role of game designers in the industry.

Art Games: Reality vs. Potential
In which I argue that an awful lot of people are doing "art games" wrong.

Breaking In? Make Games!
In which I implore would-be game developers to ignore the conventional wisdom about breaking into the industry, and instead follow two simple words of advice: make games.

Designing Happy Accidents
In which I explain how we can cede authorial control to players without losing our ability to influence the experience they have.

Epic Crunch Is Epic
In which I springboard off pro-crunch comments by Epic Games to argue for better quality of life in the games industry and a greater sense of social responsibility among studios to exert their influence in support of that goal.

Failure For Fun and Profit
In which I describe and justify the three rules of failure: do not break narrative flow, provide a clear way forward, and raise the stakes.

Gameplay Isn't Everything?
In which I propose a distinction between games and experiences, both being built on interactivity, and both being valid forms within our medium.

The Missing Foundation of the Games Industry
In which I explore how AAA went so terribly wrong, what we need to do to fix it, and what we might face if we don't.

The Myth About Game Pricing
In which I argue that games are too expensive, that we can make more money and reach a wider audience with a lower price point, and that there's a growing body of evidence that supports this claim.

On Social Games
In this 2010 article I explored the reasons for my opposition to social games, and predicted the replacement of "game design" with "business design" as a function of profit motive.

Reactive Design
In which I describe an approach to game design that asks what the player wants to do, rather than what we want him to do.

Shrink to Success
In which I argue that more focused, short-form games might be better from both a game design and a financial perspective.

Syndicating Games
In which I suggest that a syndication model for vintage games might be one answer to our industry's ever-growing production costs and risk aversion.

Tear Down The Ivory Tower
In which I rant at game developers who are too busy being full of themselves to pay attention to the fans, hobbyists, and students who need their advice and mentorship to one day inherit our medium.