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Brainy Gamer Podcast

The Brainy Gamer is a podcast and blog devoted to thoughtful conversation about video games.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 36

The Brainy Gamer podcast is back! In this edition I talk with Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief of Kotaku, one of the most influential blogs websites devoted to video games in the world. Stephen and I discuss video game journalism, the changes he's implementing at Kotaku, why "you can't escape the numbers," why Rock Paper Shotgun rocks, and why we actually need 24/7 games news....among many other topics. Thanks for your patience while I took some time off from the show, and, as always, thanks for listening!

1hr 5mins

9 Apr 2012

Rank #1

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 37

Welcome to a special Ninja Edition of the Brainy Gamer podcast!  In this edition I talk with Nels Anderson and Chris Dahlen, Lead Designer and Narrative Designer of the new game Mark of the Ninja. We discuss the development process for the game, the challenges and opportunities of working in the independent space, and why Chris is the Oscar Hammerstein of game writing...among many other topics.  I hope you enjoy.

1hr 4mins

7 Sep 2012

Rank #2

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 35, pt. 3

This is the final installment in my series devoted to game designers and the design process. In this edition I talk with Jonathan Blow, creator of the highly-acclaimed Braid and a new game called The Witness, slated to appear next year. We discuss a wide array of topics, including the game community's reaction to Braid and his goals for The Witness. Jon is refreshingly open about his discoveries and missteps in the ongoing development process of his new game. He also explains why he's grown uncomfortable characterizing his projects as "art games;" It's a fascinating conversation, and I think you'll enjoy it.

1hr 17mins

30 Aug 2011

Rank #3

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 35, pt. 2

This is the 2nd in a 3-part series devoted to game designers and the design process. In this segment I chat with Matthew Burns, founder of Shadegrown Games a small studio developing a new music game called Planck. Matthew is also a Producer (contract) for Microsoft, and he's worked on the Halo series since 2006. Note: We do not discuss details of Halo 4. No tidbits. No sneak peeks. The final episode in this series will appear in a few days, and it will feature an extended interview with Jonathan Blow. I hope you enjoy the show. Thanks for listening!

50mins

23 Aug 2011

Rank #4

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 33

This massive edition of the show features a Gamers Confab segment with Mitch Krpata (Boston Phoenix, et al); Nels Anderson (Klei Entertainment); and Brad Gallaway (GameCritics.com). We discuss a slew of games we've played recently, and we successfully persuade Mitch to stop hating LittleBigPlanet. Well, maybe not. Segment 2 features a roundtable conversation with Patrick Klepek (EGMi), Matthew Burns (Shadegrown Games), and Chris Dahlen (Kill Screen) recorded at GDC. We chat about our favorite sessions at the conference and trade a few stories. Did you know Patrick covered his first GDC at the age of 14, accompanied by his father? Segment 3 features a short chat with Sean Duncan, also recorded at GDC. Sean is a professor in the School of Education and the Interactive Media Studies program at Miami University I hope you enjoy the show, and thanks for listening!

1hr 52mins

4 Apr 2011

Rank #5

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 35, pt. 1

This edition of the podcast begins a 3-part series devoted to game designers and the design process. In this first segment I chat with Manveer Heir, Senior Designer at BioWare, about his work and the challenges presented by a complex project. Manveer discusses his day-to-day duties; problem-solving as creativity; why developers keep secrets; and why he routinely "ruins peoples dreams." Note: We do not discuss details of Mass Effect 3. If you're hoping for juicy tidbits or inside info on that game, you will not find them here. Parts 2 and 3 of the podcast will appear later this week. Listen to the opening of this episode, and you will hear me reveal whom those guests will be! I hope you enjoy the show. Thanks for listening!

46mins

15 Aug 2011

Rank #6

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 34

This edition of the show features an in-depth discussion of L.A. Noire with Tom Bissell (Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter) and Brian Taylor (Kill Screen, GamePro). Spoilers abound, but only minor plot revelations are revealed. I think you can listen to this discussion and still fully appreciate the game as a newcomer. In fact, you might even appreciate it more.  Segment 2 features a conversation with Leigh Alexander. We discuss a range of topics, including how she prepares for a big event like E3; the impact of social networking on our lives; and how she manages working in an environment that can be both hostile and nurturing. I hope you enjoy the show, and thanks for listening!

2hr 1min

3 Jun 2011

Rank #7

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - GDC Audio Diary 1

This is part 1 of my GDC '11 audio diary. For more information on this project, read my previous post. Hope you enjoy it!

22mins

2 Mar 2011

Rank #8

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 31

This episode is all about music in games. I'm joined by guests Dan Bruno (Harmonix, Cruise Elroy) and Kirk Hamilton (Gamer Melodico, Joystiq), two excellent game writers who are also talented musicians.We each play a collection of clips from our favorite pieces of game music, and we discuss why each serves the game it's written for so effectively. You'll hear everything from chiptunes to orchestral scores. If you can, listen to the show with headphones to catch all the details in the music we play.I hope you enjoy the show, and thanks for listening!

1hr 34mins

4 Dec 2010

Rank #9

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 30 pt. 3

This show is the final in a 3-part series called Gatherings of the Tribe in which I talk to a variety of people about the big events that bring gamers together throughout the year: GDC, PAX, E3, etc.This episode features my conversation with game developers Matthew Burns (Shadegrown Games), Nels Anderson (Hothead Games), and David Carlton (Playdom).We discuss a variety of topics, including why developers attend PAX and GDC; why developers keep secrets; and why developers enjoy "spreading their cognitive genetic material."Hope you enjoy the show, and thanks for listening!

1hr 2mins

20 Sep 2010

Rank #10

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 30 pt. 2

This show is the 2nd in a 3-part series called Gatherings of the Tribe in which I talk to a variety of people about the big events that bring gamers together throughout the year: GDC, PAX, E3, etc. This episode features my conversation with critic bloggers Kirk Hamilton (Gamer Melodico) and Rob LeFebvre (Games Are Evil, The Portable Gamer). Stay tuned for Part 3, which will feature three indie developers offering their perspectives on these big events.

58mins

14 Sep 2010

Rank #11

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 30

This edition of the show begins a 3-part series called Gatherings of the Tribe in which I talk to a variety of people about the big events that bring gamers together throughout the year: GDC, PAX, E3, , Comic-Con, Gameloop, Games Learning and Society...the list goes on and on.  This episode features my conversation with veteran game journalists Gus Mastrapa (Wired.com, et al) and Chris Dahlen (Kill Screen Magazine, et al). Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, which will feature critics and developers offering their takes on these big events. Those segments will appear in the coming week.

1hr 11mins

10 Sep 2010

Rank #12

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Favorites of '09 pt.3

Part 3 of my "Favorites of '09" series includes writer Tom Bissell, whose work has appeared in Harper's Magazine and The New Yorker; Manveer Heir, lead designer at Raven Software and author of the Design Rampage blog; and Mitch Krpata, who reviews games for The Phoenix and Paste Magazine and writes the Insult Swordfighting blog.

1hr 11mins

5 Jan 2010

Rank #13

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Favorites of '09 pt.2

Part 2 of my Favorites of '09 series of podcasts features Leigh Alexander, news director at Gamasutra; Corvus Elrod from Zakelro Studio; and Nels Anderson from Hothead Games and his blog Above 49. Segments 3 and 4 will arrive in the coming days. I hope you enjoy!

53mins

3 Jan 2010

Rank #14

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 26

Had your fill of the 'Are Games Art?' debate? This edition of the podcast, featuring an interview with veteran game designer Brenda Brathwaite and art historian John Sharp, takes the conversation in adifferent and, I hope, more useful direction. Focusing on Brenda'sremarkably poignant game Train, we discuss the intersection ofart and game design and consider how a designer's personal vision and game design skills dovetail in the conception and development of a new game. We also discuss John's views on the coming Ludic Age, and bothguests share their thoughts on educating young designers for careers in the game industry. These and a variety of other topics - including anexciting conference announcement - in this edition of the Brainy Gamer podcast. Note: If you're unfamiliar with Train, I highly recommend reading Ian Bogost's thoughtful account of it at Gamasutra. I'm linking to the section of his article that deals directly with Train, but I hope you'll read the entire piece. C'mon, it's Bogost. You know it'll be interesting. :-) The Art History of Games conferenceBrenda's Applied Game Design blogSCAD - Interactive Design and Game Development program

1hr 2mins

9 Nov 2009

Rank #15

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 25 vol. 2

Gamers Confab #2 features a conversation with guests Deirdra Kiaifrom Deirdra Kiai Productions and Hothead Games, Corvus Elrod from ManBytes Blog, and Matthew Gallant from The Quixotic Engineer. We discuss two significant controversies that arose this year, and we consider the growing momentum enjoyed by indie games. Stay tuned, as I'll be releasing 3 more Confabs in the days ahead. I hope you enjoythem. Listen to any episode of the podcast directly from this page by clicking the yellow "Listen Now" button on the right. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here.Subscribe to the podcast feed here. Download the podcast directly here. Show links: Deirdra Kiai Productions - Deirdre Kiai's websiteThe Little Girl Nobody Liked - a game by Deirdra KiaiMan Bytes Blog - Corvus Elrod's blogThe Quixotic Engineer - Matthew Gallant's blog

57mins

2 Sep 2009

Rank #16

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 14

This edition of the Brainy Gamer Podcast features an interview with Steve Gaynor of 2K Marin (studio developing the next Bioshock game) and author of the Fullbright blog. We discuss game design, the first Bioshock game, and Steve's desire to help create a new vision for interactive expression.

57mins

21 May 2008

Rank #17

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 13

A week of GTA IV run, gun, and fun (all while not playing the game!); the emergence of the gaming tripod; IGN video madness; and an interview with Kirk Battle (AKA L.B. Jeffries) - all in this edition of the Brainy Gamer Podcast!

1hr 15mins

6 May 2008

Rank #18

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 12

An interview with Chris Dahlen; the gaming community on shaky ground; and it's PS3 go time - all in this edition of the Brainy Gamer Podcast!

1hr 19mins

21 Apr 2008

Rank #19

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Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 11

An interview with Leigh Alexander; a week of Zelda love; meditativegaming; and blogs worth your time - all in this edition of the BrainyGamer Podcast!

1hr 9mins

31 Mar 2008

Rank #20