Mar 152012

This is post #2,342 on this blog (not counting the dozens of articles, snippets, and presentations not in the blog database)… yet more of the over a quarter-million words written here since the site started in 1997 and the blog in 1998. And I have to admit, I tend to take for granted the idea that people have read all the stuff that matters, so they understand me when I throw around terms or assume that they know what my past writing on the topic is. Which is ludicrous, of course.

So I got asked on Twitter for a list of my juiciest game design posts, to serve as a central jumping-off point.

This was hard. But here’s a list of ones that I think are my best. Many of these are actually talks, rather than posts. These are usually in sort of rough reverse chronological order, but there’s plenty of places where they are just in the order I found them in, or random cut & paste order.

Feel free to list your own favorites in the comments. And if you haven’t seen some of these before, well, this is the best way to catch up on my overall beliefs and philosophies on games.

Theory of fun (cognition and games) and game grammar overview. This covers the very highest level structure of the thinking on these two interrelated subjects.

Game grammar articles, diving deeper into specificall analyzing a single feature, or a single aspect of the grammar.

On the game development process. These articles are about the process of making the sausage, about production.

On experience/narrative design. Even though I have been on a ludologically-inclined blogging kick lately, I have also spent plenty of time on the narrative and environmental qualities of games.

On games as art. I got on this hobbyhorse around 1996 and have never stopped. This section includes reactions to a few games analyzed as art.

General game design. Just a catch-all. Most of these are about MMO design in one way or another.

Game economies. A large enough sub-category of the design stuff that I pulled it out.

Community design. These all have community in common in one way or another. They do not touch on community management, however — see lower down for that.

SWG design articles/anecdotes.  No full post-mortem though.

UO design articles/anecdotes. For this one, the postmortem comes first. :)

Misc other game postmortems. I have never written up anything about dozens of the games I have made. But here is some stuff, particularly the design blogs for Andean Bird.

On ethics in game design. Another long-standing hobbyhorse. These have to do with ethical game design specifically.

On player rights. These are about treating players ethically.

On serious games/gamification. I started writing about serious games around when the book came out, long before “gamification” was a buzzword.

On games as a business. Most of the business-related articles are obsolete, since they were of their time. However, I linked stuff here that was either generally useful, or that dealt specifically with large-scale changes in the industry.

On community & marketing. Two deeply related topics. These are mostly advice on how to do community relations.

  17 Responses to “The best game design articles on the site”

  1. Can I reserve a spot next year for a reply?

    You have dissected industries, corporations, and brains like no one else has ever done. This is thicker than your book. You are a mad scientist.

  2. This is amazing… soooo looking forward to reading through these (and have often wished that you would do something like this). Thanks to whomever tweeted the request that you do this! Can’t wait to learn all of Raph’s arcane knowledge about the magic circle! 😉

  3. This is amazing! Thank you!

  4. I remember late last year when I first came hear through a link I kinda just followed links between posts. But after 5 or 10 I was just like, screw it, and I started from the beginning. It took me a couple weeks to get through it all. It kinda makes me sad, I check back every day but only once a week is there something new. Raph get on that 😛

  5. I would like to let you know that reading your posts has been incredibly inspiring. I’ve made some changes to the game I’m working on and I feel like it’s 10x better now. Thank you thank you thank you.

  6. I’ll hardily (heartily?) second all of the above. You are an amazing source of critical erudition, and I can’t thank you enough for all of the free education and… wel, everything here, really. You’re a professor in the original sense. Thank you! :)

  7. […] SWG design articles/anecdotes . No full post-mortem though. UO design articles/anecdotes . Raph's Website » The best game design articles on the site […]

  8. One thing I’ve always said about Raph: even when he’s wrong, he’s wrong in interesting and educational ways :)

  9. You’re right, Yukon Sam. And the best thing, to me anyway, is that he even talks about and highlights some of his mistakes and uses them as “teachable moments” for the world to learn (and take amusement) from… like you said, interesting and educational!

    As for the information linked in the blogpost above, I have to say the “community” section has been my favorite so far. They all rock though.

  10. […] week, Raph Koster posted a lengthy article on his website in response to a request (via Twitter) for his “juciest game design posts”. Most of the […]

  11. […] UO in the context of Raph Koster’s history and linking to a summary he put together, of his best game design articles. If you have the patience, look at some of those articles – UO and Ultima get mentioned quite […]

  12. […] Best of Raph Koster blog – I begged him to compile a list, and he almost cursed but did it! […]

  13. […] The best game design articles on the site […]

  14. […] week, Raph Koster posted a lengthy article on his website in response to a request (via Twitter) for his “juciest game design posts”. Most of the […]

  15. […] Ralph Koster posted his curated set of the best game design articles on his site. Worth checking out! […]

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