Listening to Game Designers

As good as interviews with game designers can get, designers are sometimes more open about their work when they’re talking with other designers. The Idle Thumbs podcast network has two great podcasts with these kinds of interviews, get blasted:

  • Tone Control
    Steve Gaynor (Tacoma, Gone Home) interviewed developers for 13 episodes. You’ve got your Ken Levine and Tim Schafer interviews in addition to greats like Tom Francis of Heat Signature and Gunpoint and Brendon Chung of Atom Zombie Smasher and more.
  • Designer Notes
    Adam Saltsman (Canabalt, Overland) and Soren Johnson (Civilization 3 & 4 and Offworld Trading Company) even interviewed Steve Gaynor with their take on this genre of podcast. It’s so good at giving you insights into game designers. I’m currently on episode 2 of the 4 episode series with Sid Meier and there’s so much great stuff in there about the process of working on his incredible games. Some of the best episodes are with designers I wasn’t familiar with at all. One of the recent episodes had Margaret Robertson on and she discussed her work with a game about a movie where a woman was found dead in her apartment after three years.

Devouring Essence

Reconcilable Differences podcast logo

There’s this terrific podcast called Reconcilable Differences. The hosts are Merlin Mann (who you may recognize from past podcast recommendations) and more pertinent to this site is John Siracusa.

Siracusa is this uniquely expert individual in the science of breaking down and explaining almost any topic in a way that nobody else does. Even with topics that I think I understand, I gain a new understanding by listening to his podcasts. He’s more typically known for the recently ended 15-year streak of reviewing versions of Mac OS X. In this particular episode of the Reconcilable Differences program, #8, he describes why Destiny’s raids are fun to Merlin who hasn’t had much recent experience with any games besides Mario Kart. The way that Siracusa talks about this raid is more interesting than listening to almost any typical gaming person talk. You should really try out the episode if you are bored with other gaming podcasts. Unfortunately it is one-of-a-kind, Siracusa doesn’t tend to talk about games elsewhere or on other episodes of this podcast.