Empathy Engines


Games are about connection: use them to connect to something worthwhile. In this guide, Elizabeth Sampat takes designers through a process of reaching through themselves to reach out to others. Drawing on influences as varied as history, politics, psychology and theater, EMPATHY ENGINES sketches a complex network of interaction and community, and shows that system design is at its beating heart. With thorough breakdowns of a multitude of games (blockbuster and indie) and thought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapter, EMPATHY ENGINES will make any game designer think more closely about how to wield systems with intention.


Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap

Videogame development is usually seen as a male dominated field; even playing videogames is often wrongly viewed as a pastime for men only. But behind the curtain, women have always played myriad important roles in gaming. From programmers to artists, designers to producers, female videogame developers endure not only the pressures of their jobs but also epic levels of harassment and hostility. Jennifer Brandes Hepler’s Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap gives voice to talented and experienced female game developers from a variety of backgrounds, letting them share the passion that drives them to keep making games.

Videogames for Humans

Behind the fluorescent veil of modern big-business video games, a quiet revolution is happening, and it’s centered on a tool called Twine. Taken up by nontraditional game authors to describe distinctly nontraditional subjects—from struggles with depression, explorations of queer identity, and analyses of the world of modern sex and dating to visions of breeding crustacean horses in a dystopian future—the Twine movement to date has created space for those who have previously been voiceless within games culture to tell their own stories, as well as to invent new visions outside of traditional channels of commerce.

Videogames for Humans, curated and introduced by Twine author and games theorist merritt kopas, puts Twine authors, literary writers, and games critics into conversation with one another’s work, reacting to, elaborating on, and being affected by the same. The result is an unprecedented kind of book about video games, one that will jump-start the discussions that will define the games culture of tomorrow.


14 complete transcripts, 95 pages, and four years of my life: these are the most well-received and/or controversial talks I've given over the course of the last few years. Starting with the first #1reasontobe talk in 2013 and going through earlier this year, it's all of the advice, warning, and lessons learned that I wish I had starting out.