GSPC Episode #21: Rob, Patrick, and Jason Talk MONSTER HUNTER!

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!


GSPC Episode #20: Art Director Ken Hogan Discusses the Art of Yoji Shinkawa

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

Biography from the Metal Gear wikia page.


GSPC Episode #19: Arcades with’s Adam Pratt

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:



GSPC Episode #18: Hub and Spokes Level Design

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:

Games mentioned:

Mega Man


Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Monster Hunter

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Prey 2 (Human Head)

Lost Within

Bioshock Infinite



GSPC Episode #17: The Level Design of Ikea

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, 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)


GSPC Episode #16: Destination Games Part 2

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!

Games Mentioned:

Pole Position
Rad Racer
Cruisin' Blast
Street Fighter II
Street Fighter III Third Strike
The Getaway


GSPC Episode #15: A Memorial to Eric “ECM” Mylonas, Editor of Gamefan Magazine

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's Adam Pratt. The roundtable also includes ECM friends Ruben Pintos of, professional musician Jason Gahler, and Eric's favorite Canadian "Snow Elf," Chris Millar (of 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. 


GSPC Episode #14: Nintendo’s Labo Announcement

January 18, 2018

Nintendo announced a brand new product today: The Nintendo Labo, a series of papercraft DIY kits that come with software. Rob and Kip are really excited, and discuss Nintendo's continued capacity to surprise. Additionally, Rob talks about Labo's engineering genuis, while Kip speculates that this is a great answer to the "plastic peripheral" problem that plagued the Nintendo Wii.

Contact Rob at,, rohoGames on twitter, rohoGames80 on instagram, and rohoGames on facebook.

Contact Kip Carbone at, nervousPixels on twitter, and nervousPixels on!


GSPC Episode #13: Destination Games, Part 1

January 17, 2018

Rob and Kip have a wide ranging discussion on games that take you somewhere: destination games. Whether it is a famous city, a rustic wilderness, or even back in time to an earlier era, the guys discuss why games that use real world settings have unique game design requirements and attributes.

Kip calls out Rockstar Games in particular for using detailed worlds based in reality to establish an incredibly strong sense of place. Rob points out that it isn't just the main gameplay systems or most expensive aspects of a game that can establish a world, it is the small, lightly interactive bread crumbs distributed throughout a game that makes a difference in how effective these designs can be.

Rob and Kip speculate on what an indie game based in San Jose might be like, to give a sense of place on a budget.

Additionally, they discuss the industry term called the "vertical slice," and why this production technique might be frowned upon by some developers.

Contact Rob at,, rohoGames on twitter, rohoGames80 on instagram, and rohoGames on facebook.

Contact Kip Carbone at, nervousPixels on twitter, and nervousPixels on!

Games Mentioned

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Grand Theft Auto Series
Lego City Undercover
Red Dead Redemption
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
LA Noire
Assassin's Creed Series
Uncharted Series


GSPC Episode #12: Xenoblade Chronicles 2

January 9, 2018

In 2010, Monolith Soft reinvigorated the JRPG genre with Xenoblade Chronicles, an instant classic on the Nintendo Wii. In late 2017, the third game in the series was released (yes, the third, not the second, I know it is confusing...), Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Rob discusses the unique level and game design properties of the game, and why it stands out from other RPGs.

Contact Rob at,, rohoGames on twitter, rohoGames80 on instagram, and rohoGames on facebook.

Contact Kip Carbone at, nervousPixels on twitter, and nervousPixels on!

Shout outs:

Under The Card Board Box Podcast

Game Dev Club Podcast