Tadhg Kelly

Tadhg Kelly

Tadhg is a video game designer, producer, creative director, columnist and consultant. He has held roles at various video game development, technology and publishing companies. Since the early 90s, Tadhg has worked on all sorts of game projects, from boardgames and live action roleplaying games through to multi-million dollar PC projects. He has served as lead designer, senior producer and a number of other roles at several companies including BSkyB, Lionhead and Climax.

He was a cofounder of the social gaming startup Simple Lifeforms before moving on to becoming a consultant in the game design space through founding noted industry blog What Games Are (www.whatgamesare.com). A recent immigrant to the United States, Tadhg has most recently worked at Jawfish Games, OUYA and for some other studios on a consulting basis.

Tadhg is currently consulting out of Seattle for a variety of companies under the banner of Tadhg Kelly Game Design, as well as writing a book named Raw Game Design to be published next year by Focal Press and a weekly gaming column for TechCrunch. You can reach him at tadhgk@gmail.com.

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  • So Long #Gamergate. What Did You Teach Us?

    So Long #Gamergate. What Did You Teach Us?

    The hashtag is still going, as are the fervent speculations and plans for operations on 8chan and Reddit, but the movement that is #Gamergate is dead. But what, if anything, did it teach us? Read More

  • Why And How To Hire A Game Designer

    Why And How To Hire A Game Designer

    I am a game designer but I don’t envy the task of potential employers or partners in trying to find someone like me to hire. Game design is very difficult to assess from the outside, to understand what role you think it would play in your team and whether it would be a fit. Some thoughts on how to approach it. Read More

  • The #Gamergate Answer

    The #Gamergate Answer

    In response to my article last week I got a fair degree of heated comments, but most civil ones said that the gamergate issue was about journalistic integrity. Is it? Or is it actually about the culture of games? And how does that affect the industry going forward? Read More

  • The #Gamergate Question

    The #Gamergate Question

    Depending on how closely you follow the gaming and tech press, you may have heard of #gamergate. Those of us inside the industry have. This week it’s essentially all we’ve been able to talk about. How has this reactionary movement spawned from sexist roots managed to go so far, and what does it say about the industry? Read More

  • Mobile’s “One Game Wonder” Problem

    Mobile’s “One Game Wonder” Problem

    Mobile gaming is a massive success, but it’s notable how many big game makers struggle to convert their successes into longer term franchises or other offerings. This week’s King news is just another example. Perhaps with stronger community features, however, that could change. Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Three

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Three

    In the last of this three part series on the constant factors of game design we’re talking all about the role of the player as character (or not) and powerful draw of purpose. Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Two

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Two

    In the second of a three-part series exploring the constants of game design, we delve into talking about elegance, naturalism and the role of time. Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    In the first of a two part series exploring game design, this article discusses the idea that games operate within a universe of defined constants, meaning traits to do with play that stand independent of platform, audience or technology. Read More

  • How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    Wearables, primarily smartwatches, are in many ways a compelling idea. Yet do the actual wearables we’re seeing offer anything like that? From a gaming standpoint are they really that big of a deal, or are they more a case of high-hopes and maybe-one-days? Read More

  • The Numinous Veil Of Ignorance

    The Numinous Veil Of Ignorance

    In watching the latest drama unfold over Facebook and its experimentation with users, I’m moved to argue that sometimes you can be too honest. For game makers especially sometimes it’s better for users not to know, for you to hint and inspire but never reveal the inner secrets. To preserve the numinous magic, it’s often better not to show the man behind the curtain. Read More

  • Pirate Radio, YouTubers And Video Games

    Pirate Radio, YouTubers And Video Games

    YouTubers are considered a big boon by some, but also a big threat by others. Game developers in particular sometimes feel that what they’re doing is less journalism/coverage and more like pirate radio, exposing and spoiling their games for profit. Is that true? How will this latest innovation find its place? Read More

  • I Hath Seen The Future Of Video Games!

    I Hath Seen The Future Of Video Games!

    When considering the latest E3 I’m minded by how the games seem very cool, but the industry as represented by E3 has never been more divided. I’m pondering whether the promise of an ultimate platform can be the bridge, and just how likely or unlikely such a device is. Read More

  • Why Does “Just Add Gameplay” Endure?

    Why Does “Just Add Gameplay” Endure?

    It’s interesting to note how a naivety cycle still exists in the educational, social and other peripheral spheres of the games industry. There are a lot of willing believers in the potential of games to cause change, good, educate and so on through some form of gamifying even despite the questionable success rates of such efforts. Why does gameplay retain that power? Read More

  • Finding Game Design

    Finding Game Design

    “Game designer” sounds like a cool job, but often game designers actually do a much more ordinary job. Design is also less and less respected as naught but theory within the industry, which I think is to its detriment. I’m wondering whether design has more of a future under an agency model, and if so what does it need to thrive. Read More

  • What Games Are: Welcome Back, Xbox One

    What Games Are: Welcome Back, Xbox One

    In the tech press the news that Kinect got unbundled from Xbox One has been received as a sign of the company backing away from the future, but in the games press the news has been well received. Why? Because nobody really thought that vision of the future was exciting. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Politics Of Play Matter

    What Games Are: The Politics Of Play Matter

    As Nintendo’s PR gaffe around Tomodachi Life shows, it’s all too easy to get game politics wrong. But more than that the politics of representation, identity and money are becoming important forces in the dynamics of understanding games in general. Game makers increasingly have to be aware of identity, gender, orientations and so on, and not just in a token manner. Read More

  • What Games Are: Is Formal Game Design Valuable?

    What Games Are: Is Formal Game Design Valuable?

    While many people are familiar with the term “game designer”, they’re not sure what that job actually entails. Indeed inside the industry game designers often get little respect because they’re see as vamping frauds that cause more problems than they solve. This is not really true, but there is a gap between the ideal and utility of game design. Can it be solved? Read More

  • What Games Are: What Became Of Social Games?

    What Games Are: What Became Of Social Games?

    Remember social games? Remember how they supposed to be the future, how they were transforming the games industry and all that? No? Strangely not many people seem to think about social games any more, or consider them as a thing. Their central story seems to have faded, replaced largely by other platforms and better functions. Is that a bad or a good thing? Read More

  • What Games Are: Worrying About Indie Games

    What Games Are: Worrying About Indie Games

    It’s been great times for indie games over the last few years, a true golden age compared to what went before. Yet I’m very worried that the great times are over and that – on multiple fronts – the forces of darkness are closing in. Are indie games about to go through a contraction, a difficult phase and a period of being disempowered once more? Read More

  • What Games Are: Valley People And Games People

    What Games Are: Valley People And Games People

    I recently made reference to the idea that Valley thinking and games industry thinking are very different, and some people asked me to explain what I meant. So here you go. Read More