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On Game Design with Andrew Mayer

I spoke with Andrew Mayer, Creative Director at Sojo Studios, about game design and creative direction. Andrew’s 20 year career includes working for PF Magic, Cartoon Network, PlayFirst, Mob Science and Sojo Studios, where he recently launched WeTopia for Facebook. In addition to designing games, Andrew is the author of the steam punk series Society of Steam.

EL: So the question I start everybody out with is, what is game design?

AM: Okay. How many more questions do you have? Because, uh, [laughs]

EL: There are eight more.

AM: All right. All right. I think for me, the phrase I always use is “artful frustration.” Game design is about properly placing distance between yourself and the audience.

So, when you work with people who aren’t game people traditionally, they want to start pushing back this relationship between the audience and the game. And simplifying stuff. That’s a good instinct but, ultimately, if you simplify it to where the player can get everything they want whenever they want, there isn’t a game there.
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