April 8, 2018
The "ideas" person. We all probably knew someone who claimed to have the best game design idea. Or maybe that was you, or is you. Often video game professionals mock such people, claiming they need to get skills because "ideas are cheap, everybody has them."
For Rob, this approach rubs him the wrong way because it discourages creativity and passion. Kip tries to balance Rob's optimism with realism! That said, both agree that while hard skills are vital, ideation shouldn't be thought of as unimportant.
March 30, 2018
Rob attended the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco in March, so in this episode, he reports all the various things he saw and experienced at the show!
Million Onion Hotel (Available now on iTunes/Google), designed by Yoshiro Kimura, legendary designer of Little King's Story! Rob almost got to meet this game design legend (listen to learn why he didn't!).
Huntdown by Easy Trigger Games.
Squadron 51 by Loomiarts.
Errata: The game Rob mentions called "The Last Light" is actually "The Last Night."
March 24, 2018
Between colds and GDC, it's been a busy week for Rob and Kip. As such, this is a solo podcast with just Rob, talking about one of the surprise hits of 2018, Warhorse Studio's Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Rob also talks about the new idea of "cozy" games, as well as games he's been playing recently.
March 14, 2018
Roar! If you were a gamer in January, you were probably playing Monster Hunter World, Capcom's smash hit action RPG. The series has roots that go back to the Playstation 2 era, and Rob, Japanese Game Correspondant Patrick and Pac-Man Champion Jason Gahler discuss most of the games in the series.
While Rob and Patrick somewhat disagree on the visual style of the first two games, everyone agrees that the series' game design was firmly established from the start. Funny anecdotes are shared about Rob's futile attempts to get fertile mud in Monster Hunter Tri, as well as the struggle for the Zinogre Jasper in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the WiiU!
Finally, we discuss Monster Hunter World itself: the incredible environments, dynamic level design, and smart changes to the game to benefit newer players. However, there is one thing that Monster Hunter World doesn't do quite as well as the previous games (even though we love it). To find out, you'll have to listen!
March 7, 2018
Solid Snake. Revolver Ocelet. Metal Gear Ray. These are but some of the iconic designs from world famous artist Yoji Shinkawa. In a special art focused episode, Rob and Kip welcome back art director Ken Hogan to discuss Shinkawa's career, influences, technique, and more!
Interview from MetalGearSolid.net
Biography from the Metal Gear wikia page.
February 28, 2018
By popular demand, we go back to the arcades with Adam Pratt! Rob and Adam discuss the latest arcade news, including the exciting Exa-Arcadia board, Tomb Raider Arcade, and a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game! We discuss arcade game design, getting into the nuts and bolts of gun games like Aliens: Armageddon and The Walking Dead.
Finally, we talk about the business of arcades, in which Adam describes how 2017 was his best year ever in almost a decade of business. Listen to find out which games did best for him, and which didn't! Finally, we get some field reporting from Rob's daughter, Helena Howard, who reviews a few arcade games on location at Round1USA in San Jose California!
Tomb Raider Arcade
Exa-Arcadia releasing in the United States - new Neo Geo style multi-game in one cabinet:
Adam's awesome arcade t-shirts on Teepublic:
Adam's book, The Arcade Experience:
February 21, 2018
Game worlds and levels need to be organized. One of the most effective ways to layout a level for realism, sense of space, and fun is the "hub and spokes" design pattern. Pervasive throughout many genres of games, the guys talk about what they like about this design pattern as well as their own experience using it in games they have worked on. Additionally, the real life applications of "hub and spokes" are discussed, in regards to Disney theme parks.
Shout out to Scott Rogers and his blog, particularly for the article about Disney and game design: http://mrbossdesign.blogspot.com/
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Prey 2 (Human Head)
February 13, 2018
In the most unique Grid Snaps yet, Rob and Kip discuss that bastion of low cost well designed furniture, Ikea. Ikea, more than any other store that Rob and Kip shop at, is designed like a game level. Rob discusses how the store follows certain level design principles, particularly using edges to create drama and reveals. Shout out to Nathan Cheever at http://www.curiousconstructs.com/, who wrote about edge based level design in his educational materials.
For the breaks, we used Swedish music in several genres. The music used is credited here, and can be found on youtube:
Veronica Maggio - Jag kommer
Födelsedagsfesten (Traditional Swedish Folk Song)
Monica Zetterlund / Nilsen - En gång i Stockholm (Once in Stockholm)
February 7, 2018
Rob and Kip wrap up their discussion on destination games. Rob goes all the way back to Pole Position, which he identifies as one of the first video games to effectively utilize a real world location (Mt. Fuji). Kip contrasts his experiences in Hong Kong with the set dressing used in various Street Fighter games. Rob brings up The Getaway from Team Soho, which attempted recreate a section of London as accurately as possible, while Kip discusses the difficulties with this literal approach. Finally, Rob and Kip agree that often a representational, not necessarily literal, can be effective in establishing the flavor of a real world location. Kip says to google "dingbat apartments" to learn something about Los Angeles!
Street Fighter II
Street Fighter III Third Strike
January 29, 2018
This podcast is a tribute to a dear friend, Eric "ECM" Mylonas. We discuss his career in video game journalism and his personal relationship with Rob and a number of friends from all over the globe. This takes the form of a roundtable discussion, which includes regular podcast guests (and ECM friends!) Patrick and ArcadeHeroes.com's Adam Pratt. The roundtable also includes ECM friends Ruben Pintos of Tomatazos.com, professional musician Jason Gahler, and Eric's favorite Canadian "Snow Elf," Chris Millar (of Millartime.com). In the course of this, many games are discussed, from Monster Hunter to MUSHA to Final Fantasy. Games were a huge part of Eric's life, and his skill as a gamer was legendary. For all of us, however, it was Eric's generosity, loyalty, sense of humor, and spirit that most moved us.
Many of Eric's favorite musical compositions are featured throughout. Get ready to bang your head to 80's rock and classic game soundtracks!
Thank you for listening to this special podcast.
Errata: I refer to "Hardcore Gamefan" at numerous points, but the correct name of the magazine if "Gamefan." Hardcore Gamefan was a name used later, after Eric's tenure.