Girl Scouts can earn videogame design patches now

It’s hard to turn down a Girl Scout, and that’s no accident—I should know, I am one. From the start, we learn valuable business and communication skills through selling cookies (that are, objectively, pretty damn good). Community service often has an emphasis on sustainability and environmental justice, meaning our projects will continue to have an impact long after they’re over. Workshops and field trips allow us to explore new interests in a safe, encouraging environment. We do all this hand-in-hand with our own girl gang. The end result? Girl Scouts are fearless. With the encouragement of STEM programs, they’ll be…


Prepare for the Clinton-Trump debate with a political drinking game

If the current presidential election has not yet driven you to drink, the first of three debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scheduled for Monday (yes, today) may well prove to be the tipping point. Before it has even begun, it is already infuriating: one candidate is likely to be declared presidential if they manage to avoid a sudden bout of incontinence, whereas the other’s supporters have been preparing for this injustice with their normal reserve. Is it over yet? The desire to drink through debates is oftentimes a purely rhetorical gesture meant to signal just how frustrating the…

board games oliver quinlan

Isaac Vega wants to make board games for everyone

An hour into our interview, Isaac Vega is still brimming with energy, gesturing and talking about his next project with all the verve of a life coach or an eager teenager. Vega’s a lead designer for Plaid Hat Games, who have published the board games Dead of Winter (2014) and Summoner Wars (2009). It’s obvious he loves what he does. “I’d like to break the barrier in board games that we don’t see in other media,” Vega tells me. Tabletop gaming has a unique barrier to access that no other media has: a steep learning curve. To gather a group…


The problem with videogames that don’t trust their players

Imagine that you’ve started a new level in a game that sets the scene for endless opportunities. A new environment riddled with context clues that allow the player to consider their options on how to proceed—until an uninvited UI prompt coddles their decision-making and shatters the illusion of choice. This is the problem that Luis Antonio, creator of the upcoming Twelve Minutes, presents through his examination of the recently-released Hitman. His game is about creating a dynamic environment that responds to the player. The game is about a man who is trapped in a time loop of 12 minute intervals, where the…

Luna Antonio

How babies can help teach game design

There are many different types of people to consider when making a videogame and a lot can be learned by discovering their needs. There are those that don’t normally play games, children, as well as the elderly, but there’s one group that’s easy to dismiss, if only because they seem too young: babies. Babies themselves are constantly learning new things and conveying their thoughts and feelings in a way only they can. Observing the way they learn and applying that to game design can be incredible beneficial, as a child learning about the world is similar to a player interacting with a new…


Ancient India: The Birthplace of Modern Game Design

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel Ancient India produced some of the oldest and longest surviving games in history, and though the country’s videogame creators face modern day challenges, its contributions to game design are undeniable. They’ve gone by many different names and variations, but games like Chess, Chutes and Ladders, Parcheesi, and even the six-sided die are all believed to have originated in ancient India. Mostly created during a turbulent and formative time in the country’s history, the nature of these games gives a better understanding of the ideas, values, and social climate surrounding them.…


Finals Fantasy creates game design lesson plans anyone can use

As tablets continue to move into schools and games like Minecraft (2011) are repurposed to educate, the idea of gamification, or using games to teach students about the world, has been gaining popularity as of late. However, as an increasingly diverse artistic medium of its own, others are developing new ways for students to learn about games themselves. Described as a series of “speculative projects for game art students,” Finals Fantasy has gathered together a small group of notable artists, educators, and critics to challenge and expand how game design is taught. (Oh, and so you know, Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren…


What effect do different drugs have on the Mario Maker levels you create?

Let’s face it, Mario doesn’t make much sense. He’s an Italian plumber living in a fantasy mushroom world which is populated by living toadstools and constantly under attack from a turtle dragon. Fans usually excuse this psychedelic setting out of an appreciation for the series’ gameplay and an exhaustion with how often it’s brought up by jokesters, but that doesn’t mean the topic isn’t worthy of discussion. Many have attempted to explain Mario’s weirdness through careful dissection, but others prefer a different approach. Perhaps the series’ most iconic power-up, the super mushroom allows Mario to grow larger and take an…