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Raph Koster's Blog   Expert Blogs


Raph Koster is a veteran game designer who has been professionally credited in almost every area of the game industry. He's been the lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies; founded his own company; worked at places like EA, Sony, and Disney; and he's contributed writing, art, soundtrack music, and programming to many more titles ranging from Facebook games to single-player titles for handheld consoles. He's also the author of the classic book A Theory of Fun for Game Design.  In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online. Visit his website at


Expert Blogs

Posted by Raph Koster on Fri, 17 Apr 2015 02:06:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online
Star Wars Galaxies has been controversial for years thanks to a series of design decisions made both before and after launch. Among these was how Jedis were handled. Here's the design postmortem!

Posted by Raph Koster on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 02:24:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online
World of Warcraft has now been with us for ten years, dominating the MMO landscape in the Western market. From where did it spring, why was it so successful, and what has its influence been on MMOs?

Posted by Raph Koster on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:49:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
We toss around the word "clone" pretty liberally. What actually is a game clone? Why isn't every game in a genre a clone? What does "genre" even mean? Augh!

Posted by Raph Koster on Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:40:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Smartphone/Tablet
The art game Mountain has caught a lot of people's attention, but it also challenges both those who want more "game" in their game and those who want more "experience." Why?

Posted by Raph Koster on Wed, 07 May 2014 04:50:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Market forces seem to be leading us to a crash for lower-end developers. Here's a (probably crazy) proposal to fix it.

Posted by Raph Koster on Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:19:00 EDT in Business/Marketing
Yes, gamers are upset about the sale of Oculus to Facebook. But the long-term arc of Oculus isn't aiming at games. And the rendering tech was never going to be where the action really was.

Raph Koster's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 04/17/2015 - 02:06] r n r nYet ... r n r nYet another. :

Comment In: [News - 03/02/2015 - 03:20]

Parable of the Polygons which ...

Parable of the Polygons which is itself a restatement of the Schelling work using cellular automata simulations -- I first presented on that it GDC 2003 was indeed in the deck. You may want to check the slides themselves which are now on my blog. r n r nThe psych ...

Comment In: [News - 11/03/2014 - 04:05]

I have posted the slides ...

I have posted the slides for the talk here: r n r n

Comment In: [Blog - 09/22/2014 - 01:44]

If the community itself becomes ...

If the community itself becomes unwelcoming, it will cap itself. If the community itself is not diverse, it won 't even realize the ways in which it restricts itself. It will have huge blind spots. r n r nYes, people make choices on where to engage. But locations for engagement ...

Comment In: [Blog - 09/23/2014 - 09:06]

No other artistic medium is ...

No other artistic medium is defined around a single intended effect on the user, such as 'fun. ' They all embrace a wider array of emotional impact. r n r n- A Theory of Fun, ten years ago.

Comment In: [News - 09/12/2014 - 05:33]

I spent so many hours ...

I spent so many hours on this game. Probably more using the level editor one of the first ever shipped with a commercial game than on playing the levels.