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System and Story

‘Interactive’ is a convenient buzz-word that we’ve been using to describe games for some time. What separates games from other art, so we say, is that the audience acts upon the game and the game in turn acts upon them, a stable loop where each shapes the experience. 756 more words

Problem Machine


As time goes on and I write more posts for Problem Machine, I notice certain themes emerging, repeating themselves in slight variation. One of these is the idea that there are no good or bad elements of game design, only ineffective and effective combinations of these elements; that, indeed, the effectiveness of the design can only be gauged by its overall effect on the audience. 665 more words

Problem Machine


I liked playing through Dark Souls 3, but something seemed off about the experience to me. Immediately after starting the game, in the menu, the silence of the Dark Souls menu and the spooky music of the menu in Dark Souls 2 is replaced by a GRAND ORCHESTRAL SCORE – of the sort that these games have typically reserved for boss battles. 569 more words

Problem Machine


I keep on circling around thoughts about how not to be manipulative, how to respect your audience, and I end up not writing them down because, well – obviously, right? 512 more words

Problem Machine

The Grind

Say something true.

Now say something else true.

Keep doing it. An hour or a day, or whatever pace you feel comfortable with; any pace will eventually take you to the same place. 351 more words

Problem Machine

In Place

I’ve spent so long feeling I am training to create greatness that I cannot countenance the idea that anything I’ve created might be good already, or to describe it as such. 658 more words

Problem Machine


I think it’s interesting that, even as I consider myself someone who enjoys thinking about art, I find myself growing increasingly distrustful and annoyed by art debates. 600 more words

Problem Machine