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Author Archive

Fascist Cultural Co-optation: A Curious Example

With a few strokes of the pen, you can turn your cultural heritage into supporting your fascist agenda.

GPT: Like Crocodile Tears in Rain

What if we changed the system and made AI useful and welcome for everybody?

What Unity’s CEO John Riccitiello Thinks About You

Behold the beauty of Unity’s giant strawman!

Unity’s C-Suite Is Showing Its True Face


Embracer’s Building a Kind of Library of Congress for Physical Games

Imagine all the paintings in the Louvre were hidden inside boxes and you could only read their descriptions.

Valve Loses Bid to End Antitrust Case Over Steam

No offense, but it’s high time Steam got its ass kicked.

Square Enix Dumps Western Game Studios and IPs

Selling off some of your jewels in a fire sale to invest in cryptoshit seems totally reasonable.

An Old, Dank Pub

I was blown away by SMBC’s metaphor of liberal education as an “old dank pub.”

Indie Game Developer Funomena Is Shutting Down

Terrible news chasing terrible news.

Consolidating Memories in the Photographic Field (Part II)

Paging Dr. Benjamin.

New Yorker Interview with Miyazaki Hidetaka

An illuminating interview with FromSoftware’s game director Miyazaki Hidetaka.

Ukraine Charity Bundle at

Paid products only, all download-ready, no external keys or other bullshit.

Buy Me, I’m Toxic

Being open to buy-outs is now the fashionable thing to do if you’re a toxic publisher.

America’s Army Calling It Quits After 20 Years

Haven’t played it for years, but it sure feels like the end of an era.

Even More Graphic Wordle Greatness

You can now turn your lovely little Wordle graphs into lovely little buildings.

“Something Free and Fun on the Internet”

Wordle is a rare game that doesn’t want much of your attention.

Managerial Lego

Turns out, I was still way too generous regarding Ken Levine’s 2014 GDC talk.

GAN Theft Auto: Playing Within a Neural Network

You’ve seen AI play within an environemnt, but here the AI is the environment.

Narrative Lego

“Radical Recognition” sounds catchy, but I’m not holding my breath.

Kimberly Voll & Robin Hunicke on Player Behavior

Great podcast chat to listen to.

John Danaher’s “Case Against Teaching”

This is the bleakest assessment of teaching I’ve read in a very long time.


A few minor changes to my Secret Level.

The Zombie Model of Cognitivism

The problem with cognitivism is not that it doesn’t want to die, it’s that is hasn’t noticed it’s already dead.

Consolidating Memories in the Photographic Field (Part I)

Photographs don’t merely focus, but narrow down and even constrict our memories to those moments we chose to illustrate.

A Few Words on the Politics of Combating Extremism in Germany

There are three intrinsically distinct challenges for combating extremism in online media, and Germany is probably going to drop the ball on all three of them.

Opening Schools in Times of Plague

True to its nature as a fetish, schools demand the willingness to sacrifice.

Hanukkah Special — Day Eight | Summary & Outlook

Today, on the last day of Hanukkah, we will wrap everything up; talk about period style, game type, and game loop; and draft a list of tasks needed to advance this conceptual sketch toward a pitchable game treatment.

Hanukkah Special — Day Seven | Architectonics

Today, we will engage with the fourth and final design territory of the Ludotronics paradigm, Architectonics.

Hanukkah Special — Day Six | Narrativity

Narrativity, our design territory for today, is all about “emotional appeal,” seen from the viewpoint of narrative qualities or properties that work toward conveying specific meaning in a specific dramatic unit for a memorable gameplay moment.

Hanukkah Special — Day Five | Plurimediality

So what’s the aesthetic experience of our Hanukkah game going to be? To answer this question, tentatively, we will look at the game’s style and sound.

Hanukkah Special — Day Four | Interactivity

Today, we will explore the first design territory for our Hanukkah game, Interactivity.

Hanukkah Special — Day Three | Audience & USP

Today, on the third day of Hanukkah, we will explore possible target audiences and the game’s unique selling proposition, or USP.

Hanukkah Special — Day Two | Theme & Core Experience

Today, we will turn to the meaning Hanukkah has acquired over time, from the Talmud until today, to find our game’s theme and its core experience.

Hanukkah Special — Day One | Intel

Along the eight days of Hanukkah, of which today is the first, let’s sketch a game concept about Hanukkah along the Ludotronics paradigm as an exercise.

Native Informants in Game-Based Learning: Gender

Calling in native informants as consultants is exceptionally useful for avoiding mistakes, designing convincing characters, and broadening a game’s reach beyond its mainstream audience.

Boss Exam!, or: Grading in Games

“Tests” in well-designed games not only test the player exclusively on what the game has taught them, but push their proficiency even further.

The Other Thing on the Doorstep: Games and the Classroom

If games and new technologies can’t be integrated into the classroom, then we should start building our own multilearner online game-based learning classroom today.

The Thing on the Doorstep: Technology and the Classroom

To become a true knowledge society, learning and teaching must become a shared quest of lifelong exploration.

Ludotronics: On Lectures, Levels, and Learning Outcomes

In terms of learning outcomes, game levels have a lot in common with university lectures and can be planned in similar ways.

Book Release: Ludotronics

Release of my book Ludotronics: A Comprehensive Game Design Methodology From First Ideas to Spectacular Pitches and Proposals for intermediate and advanced game designers.

Academic Paper: “Learning to Play, Playing to Learn: An Integrated Design Approach 
for Learning Experiences in Video Games”

Academic Paper: “Learning to Play, Playing to Learn: An Integrated Design Approach 
for Learning Experiences in Video Games”

Entering Game Space: A Very Compact Primer

A brief essay on passages in game design that I wrote for my university’s news room page.

Academic Paper: “Tuning Aristotle: An Applied Model of Emotions for 
Interactive Dramatic Structures”

Academic Paper: “Tuning Aristotle: An Applied Model of Emotions for 
Interactive Dramatic Structures”

On Flow and Flow Control

A brief essay on “flow” in game design that I wrote for my university’s news room page.

Academic Paper: “Making Sense: Juxtaposing Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic 
Design Elements to Create Meaning, Reinforce Emotions, and 
Strengthen Player Memory Formation and Retrieval”

Academic Paper: “Making Sense: Juxtaposing Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic 
Design Elements to Create Meaning, Reinforce Emotions, and 
Strengthen Player Memory Formation and Retrieval”

Academic Paper: “A Functional Model for Dialogic Speech in Video Game Design”

Academic Paper: A Functional Model for Dialogic Speech in Video Game Design

Breaking Down Siloed Educational Subjects & Learning with Computer Games: Finland Leads the Way

What I feel now is the powerful urge to immediately move to Finland.

Thing Is, Austin Walker Is Creating Great Video Game Criticism (And You Can Chip In Some for It on Patreon)

Or, in the immortal words of Harlan Ellison: “Pay the Writer.”

#ECGBL 2014: The Pitfalls of Gamified Learning Design

Game-based learning can provide us the tools to learn and create collaboratively, and to teach us to learn and create collaboratively, for sustained lifelong learning-experiences.

#ECGBL2014: Welcome and Keynote

8th European Conference for Game-Based Learning & 5th International Conference on Serious Games Development & Applications in Berlin, October 9–10, 2014.

“#GamerGate Isn’t Over But” Addendum

“I got into the game industry to make games. And it’s time for me to get back to it.” —@spacekatgal

#GamerGate Isn’t Over But

We should keep our defenses up but not let GamerGate eat up our time and energy anymore. Now is a better time than ever to develop great games that make a difference.

The “Actually, It’s About Ethics in Journalism!” Game

Please note: You might not be able to sign out again. Ever.

Brianna Wu Is Third Woman Since August to Be Driven From Home by Death and Rape Threats for Views on Gaming

I like to thank Elizabeth Simins for providing this article’s headline for free.

What’s Wrong with NPCs?—One of Numerous Questions Austin Walker Nails Perfectly

In most video games most of the time, non-player characters are the meat in the player character’s power fantasy sandwich.

European Conference for Game-Based Learning

This week, I’ll be off to the ECGBL 2014 in Berlin.

It’s All in Your Head: How Do We Get People to Understand Programming, Math, Literature?

Game-based learning should be designed in such a way that a) you can walk up to it and start playing and b) you can walk up to it and start learning.

No, @intel, That Is Not an Apology

The only thing this “apology” demonstrates is that Intel’s PR department is run by spineless weasels.

What About #GBL and the Humanities?

Two fatal mistakes the humanities must avoid at all costs: putting themselves on the defensive about their own self-worth and/or positioning themselves in the “training” camp.

The Declining Value of the Indie Game Customer

Puppyblog’s long, rambling, and eminently realistic blog post about indie game customers everybody interested in gaming culture and indie games should read.

A Game-Based Learning Reading List

Five recommendations for critical readings on games and learning from ProfHacker.

“Let’s Make Earnest Games, Not ‘Serious’ Games”

“Maybe what we want are not ‘serious’ games, but earnest games. Games that aren’t just instrumental or opportunistic in their intentions.”

Don’t Let Your Simulation Game Become a Shit Sandwich

Common knowledge, and often among the main rationales for developing simulation games, is that wrapping entertainment around course material will boost motivation.

Learning with Your Body

I think the peripatetics got it right.

A Design Paradigm for Serious Games

While Gunter et al.’s paper is not a rigorously written research study, we can still extract its basic idea and expand on it.

The Trouble with Game-Based Learning Research

With their often defensively positioned arguments and study designs, game-based learning proponents paint themselves into a corner.

Operation Play

Worth checking out. I almost missed this.

“Educators Had the Right to Feel a Little Freaked Out”

Microsoft’s never been education-centric, to say the least, and Minecraft is huge in game-based education across STEM.

Learning “Trust” With Co-op Games

When “Trust” as an educational objective has to take dynamically changing contexts into account, most serious game mechanics are not even close to being useful.

Teacher Survey: Digital Games in Class

Impressive, but I wonder whether tablets are particulary suited for collaborative game-based learning (which playing games in the classroom was all about in the first place).

“LEGO’s Girl Problem Starts with Management” Indeed

LEGO should be ashamed. And the whole videogame industry suffers from the same problem.

A Huge Potential with a Capital “B”

At the Joburg Serious Games Conference, Ernest W. Adams mentioned “stealth learning” as a very effective way to convey a specific message in a serious game.

Ready to Go, But Not Yet Publishing

just drafts is one part news ticker with commentary and one part real-time research about game-based learning & education, game design, and game & media ethics.