The Stack (things I think are cool/interesting)

Mike Acton: How to Write Code the Compiler Can Actually Optimize

This talk from GDC 2015 contains a lot of programming ideas that are useful beyond games. In some ways I prefer it over Acton’s infamous Acton’s infamous CppCon 2014: “Data-Oriented Design and C++” talk because it simply presents examples of effective programming with evidence, rather than worrying about ideology (not that there isn’t a place for that […]

Sid Meier GDC 2010: Player psychology

In a continuing tradition of enjoying free, old-yet-great videos on the internet, this keynote from GDC 2010 is a great overview of how players react to different design approaches. This is mostly explored in broad terms, but Meier gives examples from his experience. The main takeaway may be that players given options often don’t make fun […]

Brenda Romero: Empathy through games

In a TED talk, Romero (who has changed her name since the 2012 presentation) discusses how she realized games can teach us about the empathic experiences games can provide. This is mostly a very condensed version of a GDC panel from 2010 in which she discusses how she first began making board games. While these […]

Gaming in Iraq

This article from The New Yorker casts games as a means to escape, but not in the usual, pejorative sense.  From the trouble they have getting new Western releases to the eerie relevance digital weapons have to their lives, it’s difficult to imagine. It’s also a chilling reminder that the game one person berates in Youtube […]

Gender inclusiveness made Dance Central more fun

Pretty cool article from Polygon. Dance Central is a blast on its own, but as a role-play experience it gives players an environment  where they can have fun doing something or acting in a way that  might otherwise be uncomfortable. Experiences where just enough rules are provided to prevent you from feeling silly are common in […]

Sacrilege–a “dating sim” by Cara Ellison

This is fairly old news, but it’s new to me, basically. Sacrilege is a short game made with Twine by a writer for lots of things who seems pretty swell. More importantly, it contains ideas that games usually don’t touch. Obligatory warning about language and sexy/very unsexy themes, and potentially triggers.

Papers, Please is built on meaningful, hard choices

Anthony Burch (Borderlands 2 writer) has a review of Papers, Please that really nails the game’s unique take on morality. The game’s premise may sound mundane and boring, but this is really an example of a game whose mechanics inform the player’s experience…in a way that makes you lay on the floor and reassess humanity.