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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 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.

Posted by Raph Koster on Mon, 13 Jan 2014 06:26:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
We all have ways of looking at other people's games and breaking them down for craft analysis. Here's mine.

Posted by Raph Koster on Thu, 02 Jan 2014 04:47:00 EST in Business/Marketing
An assortment of tips on self-promotion the right way, and being a good community citizen.

Raph Koster's Comments

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.

Comment In: [Blog - 08/04/2014 - 01:49]

I always go back to ...

I always go back to the early 8 bit stuff for examples. : It cuts away the cruft

Comment In: [Blog - 07/10/2014 - 07:40]

I have been using ludic ...

I have been using ludic artifact. My logic on it is here: r n r n r n

Comment In: [Blog - 05/07/2014 - 04:50]

The crediting piece is only ...

The crediting piece is only really there so that you can know where to send the checks... the other aspects to it are nice but peripheral.

Comment In: [News - 02/05/2014 - 11:33]

Darren: I have a graduate ...

Darren: I have a graduate degree in English, and have been studying formal properties of games for over a decade. If you cannot work out why I was complaining, I really don 't know what else to say beyond Your teaching style is broken.

Comment In: [News - 02/19/2014 - 12:05]

I have to point out ...

I have to point out that the dinosaurs talk is from 2006. It predates social games, the mobile explosion, and the indie movement. r n r nIn other words THIS is the future it predicted. I actually think that in terms of prediction I did pretty damn well. : r ...