Jenova Chen on game design

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Jenova Chen, Co-Founder and Creative Director at thatgamecompany. Jenova’s meteoric rise began at USC after a viral success with Cloud led to a fortuitous meeting with Sony. Jenova’s hit games include the PSN exclusives Flow, Flower and Journey. EL: Can you start by introducing yourself, talking a little bit about what your background is and the games you’ve worked on? JC: I grew up in China, went […]

On Game Design with Ray Mazza

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Ray Mazza, Lead Designer Worldwide for Playfish.  Ray’s titles include The Sims 2, The Sims 3, The Sims Social, and a whole host of Sims expansion packs. Find out more about the multitalented Mr. Mazza on his blog. EL: To start with, what is game design? RM: What is game design? It’s figuring out what is fun. It’s trying to understand the concept of fun and then […]

On Game Design with Dan Chao

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Dan Chao, Lead Designer at Funzio.  Dan’s work runs the full gamut of design, including releases in the Core, Casual, Social and Mobile segments of the industry.  Dan has worked as gameplay engineer on Xbox launch title New Legends, lead designer on the casual game Wandering Willows, and most recently lead designer on social/mobile games Crime City, and Kingdom Age. EL: To start with, what is game […]

“What is Game Design?” with Paul Barnett

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Paul Barnett, Senior Creative Director at BioWare/Mythic.  Paul currently oversees a number of projects in the BioWare family, including Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes and BioWare Social.  EL: To start with, what is game design? PB: Oh, dear, crikey. If I knew that, then I’d be rich. I’m with Stephen King. It’s probably telepathy. I thought that was the greatest answer to what is story writing is telepathy. […]

“What is Game Design?” with Michael John

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Michael John, Senior Creative Director at Electronic Arts, where he works to build and grow a community of strong, passionate game designers and creative directors. MJ’s long career as a game designer includes hits like the Spyro the Dragon series, Daxter and God of War: Chains of Olympus. EL: To start with, what is game design? MJ: Right, what is game design… you asked me that question […]

Soren Johnson on game design

The following are excerpts from a discussion with Soren Johnson, Design Director for Zynga. Previously, Soren was the Co-Lead Designer of Civilization 3, Lead Designer of Civilization 4, Designer/Programmer on Spore and Lead Designer of Dragon Age Legends. Check out his blog Designer Notes. EL: To start with, what is game design? SJ: Well, it’s a broad question so you’re going to get a broad answer. The simplest way of putting it is, game design […]

Flash Development Life 2012

Click the play button to listen to audio of the talk Slides and audio from the Flash Games Summit 2012 panel I moderated with Andrew Sega, Dan Stradwick and Sean McGee.  Inside we discuss the many issues that face Flash games developers in 2012, including funding, distribution, platforms and technology.


or, Ben Cousins was Too Gentle On Wednesday of GDC, Ben Cousins of ngmoco delivered easily one of my top talks of the show, “When the Consoles Die, What Comes Next?”  This succinct talk painted a clear picture of the collapse of the Cinema relative to TV and a similar collapse of Arcade relative to Console.  Cousins’ hypothesis stated that a transition is already underway; Console is rapidly giving way to Mobile, and in the […]

No One’s Better than Cloning

On the first day of GDC, I was introduced to a designer from a venture funded, Bay Area mobile/social start-up interested in BioWare Social.  I recognized the studio name from one of the dueling sets of recruiting billboards adorning the 101-N, and its top performing iPhone App.  When I asked why she wanted to change companies, she said “All we do is make clones, and I’m better than that.” “No one’s better than cloning,” I […]