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Month: January 2024

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is dead

Long live King Kardashian: Hollywood.

I remember this game took people like me in crisis. We read a lot of breakdowns to try to understand why this game was so successful at the time. Almost nobody understood the real value of that “exposed gem”.

The system was very simple and the economy was pretty aggressive. Only whales, VIP players, were treated with actual respect and that fit great into the game’s metaphor. Of course, for someone like me with my gaming background (as a Player) all of that looked like garbage. But hey, lots of people prove me wrong. People wanted to be entertained by that sort of point and click dating simulator with dolls mechanics.

There was a perfect marriage among a dominant mimicry and an alea. You performed actions using energy and in change you could get some special perk. Fantasy, narrative and expression were the main aesthetics.

We all learned a lot from Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. So that at the end it will pass to the game history, somehow. That shitty game!

Are you on the right path?

This is a question that pops out often while you are making a new game. Especially when you lead business discussions as a game designer. You often need to see your work greenlighted by some marketer or business guy. That’s because they are often at the top.

But the question focuses on the outcome, on something that nobody can control. Often, there are “fortune tellers” in companies that win the internal battles just because they can be very convincing. But nobody can predict the revenue of a game in development.

You can have the top talent and a system that is informed with data. With that, you can cope, adjust, and leverage the unpredictability. That’s it, and it’s more than enough!

Do you want to know if you are on the right path? Are you making the best game you can with the resources you have? Then, you are.

Play Forms

If you want to learn how to play like a game designer and you don’t know how to start, the Play Forms framework is a good starting point. It is based on a classic book about play, called “Man, Play and Games“. I have never read it, but there is a lot of material out there if you know how to search.

The framework is based on the conception that play has 4 basic forms:

  • Agon means competition, it can be against the game itself, against virtual enemies or against other Players
  • Alea means chance, the random factor that the Player is not able to control
  • Mimicry means the imitation of something belonging to other contexts, such as real life or fantasy worlds or abstract concepts
  • Ilinx means the vertigo, the senses brought to their limits

Ask yourself these questions while you are playing:

  • Am I competing against someone or something?
  • Does my outcome depend on randomness at some level?
  • Am I interpreting some role or adapting to metaphors that I have already seen in other mediums?
  • Do I feel some of the moments are extremely exaggerated and exciting?


Data speaks clearly. In 2023, the game that I absolutely played the most was Vampire Survivors.

Small team, simple idea, true indie gem. Simplicity at its finest. Nothing more to add, this was my personal GOTY.

Happy New Year everybody!