Notes on Jonathan Blow’s Reddit Ask Me Anything

Jonathan Blow did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit Friday: I am Jonathan Blow, game development person; ask me stuff.

I was specifically interesting in advice type tidbits, here are my notes.

Who Is Jonathan Blow?
Game designer and programmer for the games Braid and The Witness; Partner in angle investor Indie Fund; And creator of programming JAI.

What advise do you have for aspiring game designers?

  • #1 advice for the creative process, do “Deep Work” as explained in this lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0m0jIzJfiQ&index=3&list=PL_c7zXuU-zzfg3nxNmQp8IYpR_TO0UNj3
  • Ideas aren’t worth much, it is execution that matter.
  • Learn to program, because then you can create your vision. (see above)
  • Take on ambitious projects
  • Design is an interactive process, try stuff, keep what works, throw out what doesn’t.
  • In fiction writing, there is this concept that you want every sentence to do more than one thing: you want to describe the setting and set the mood and introduce the character. You want to say what happened and show how a character feels about it and foreshadow a later consequence.
  • Video’s that go in depth about the puzzle creation process (some is universal to game design):
  • Do not listen to the Internet: “The internet is an extremely distorted lens. It is basically useless for understanding how your game is really reaching people.”
  • How did you keep at it for so long without giving up? “There are low points, as with anything, but you just know what what you are working on is good, and you keep going. 7 years is not that long. If you watch a movie like Jiro Dreams of Sushi you’ll see someone who is very serious and for whom 7 years is no big deal.”
  • How much time do you put into the craft of making games?  “Most of them.”

What games to you recommend?

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