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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 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:44:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design
"They're just entertainment." "It's not our problem." "No, they don't." "Do you want games to be censored?" Lots of developers don't want to talk about if and how games affect people! But let's do it anyway.

Posted by Raph Koster on Wed, 03 Jun 2015 02:15:00 EDT in Business/Marketing
To quote Paul Simon, "every generation throws a hero up the pop charts." We all know the game industry is cyclical; here's how it works.

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?

Raph Koster's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/02/2015 - 01:19]

Keeping things straight is never ...

Keeping things straight is never not useful : r n r nThere 's too much to answer in detail here so I will just hit some high points. r n r nFirst, yeah, I disagree with Dan 's arcs idea to some extent. He ends the arc on feedback. But ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/30/2015 - 07:44]

I apologize if I gave ...

I apologize if I gave offense. r n r nI quite intentionally selected one book that is widely reviled one book that is generally seen as a positive and one somewhere in the middle, and tried to use the phrase depending on your philosophical bent to indicate that different groups ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/11/2015 - 01:08]

Nah. The same games, not ...

Nah. The same games, not that long ago, were 15 to 60 sold via casual portals or even on disc. You used to be able to buy Bejeweled for 40 in a box. Candy Crush Saga is actually quite noticeably higher value to that original release in pretty much every ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/03/2015 - 02:15]

I think marketing is MORE ...

I think marketing is MORE critical than a good game, as it is in all mature markets. r n r nTop KSes now regularly spend tens of thousands just on the video, for example. r n r nI also think that there aren 't enough LPers and YouTube channels with ...

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 ...