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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Latest from Tadhg Kelly

  • What Games Are: Games And Money Are Still Weird

    What Games Are: Games And Money Are Still Weird

    Suppose you have a passion-project game. You want to develop it for iOS, to be “console quality”. You want it to be cool. Given how everything has liberalized in the gaming market over the last few years, you would think that it would be much easier to get a project off the ground than it used to be. You’d be wrong. Games and investment are still weird. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Multiplayer Singularity

    What Games Are: The Multiplayer Singularity

    There’s a tendency in game design circles to think of the potential of games as being wrapped up in some great leap. When we have the breakthrough technology that somehow tells stories for example, or the game/life crossover that makes games meaningful in the everyday. What if that singularity moment, however, is something much simpler? Read More

  • What Games Are: The Wacky World Of Convergent Divergence

    What Games Are: The Wacky World Of Convergent Divergence

    It used to be the case that developers had a binary choice between a multi-platform strategy with lowest-common denominator game ideas, or make a bet on a single platform in the hope that its unique attributes would help them win. Both have historically been difficult because they implied compromise. I’m not so sure that it’s a choice they need to make any more. Read More

  • What Games Are: Squeaky Bum Time

    What Games Are: Squeaky Bum Time

    It’s hard to escape the feeling in the mobile games space that times are tougher than they were. Budgets are going up, investors are staying away and the sense that there’s just too many players in the market is high. At the same time, however, there is no evidence to suggest that players are walking away from playing games on their devices. What does all of this mean for the… Read More

  • What Games Are: The Power Conversation

    What Games Are: The Power Conversation

    Given the degree to which graphics have not changed over the last few years in high-end games, it’s surprising how strong the idea of graphical power remains in the games industry. Gamers are still hotly arguing over which games look best on which console, yet they are doing so over increasingly ephemeral details. Will this power conversation always dominate the gaming medium, or will… Read More

  • What Games Are: The Future Of Pervasive Games

    What Games Are: The Future Of Pervasive Games

    Games as a service exist, but are often still tied to the idea of one primary device. At the same time software is moving away from one device into a more pervasive experience that follows you around on whatever screen you’re using. Arguably the long-held ambition that some game makers have for games that also pervade is finally about to become a reality. Read More

  • What Games Are: A Farewell To Games Stores

    What Games Are: A Farewell To Games Stores

    They still hang on in there selling used games and new releases, but the long-predicted death of the video game store has not wavered. It’s happening inch by inch, but may speed up considerably with the release of new game consoles. As we all go 100% digital in our games, game stores will eventually just go away. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Nintendo Difference Still Exists

    What Games Are: The Nintendo Difference Still Exists

    There are three kinds of articles that regularly get written about Nintendo. The first article says Nintendo’s hardware business is doomed. The second laments the state of the company’s games. The third article, including this one, says that only a fool bets against Nintendo. Nintendo, it says, is different. Because it is. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Unfulfilled Promise Of Videogames

    What Games Are: The Unfulfilled Promise Of Videogames

    Growing up in the age of computers and technology we can almost taste the promise of videogames. We don’t just like to play videogames, we like to imagine what they might be and how they might influence society. We like to think of the 21st century as the “ludic” century. We’re all in agreement that games are on the rise. Yet, frustratingly, we sense that they have stalled. Read More

  • What Games Are: Steam’s Big Bet

    What Games Are: Steam’s Big Bet

    With new consoles and microconsoles starting to pop into existence, this week Valve finally revealed its answer: SteamOS. Steam Machines. Steam Controllers. Boom. Its ambitions are not to launch a console but a whole solution for home gaming entertainment. In a sense it has to. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Perplexing OUYA Reflex

    What Games Are: The Perplexing OUYA Reflex

    With the extended overreaction to the Free The Games fund from the development community, the question to be asked is why do OUYA and the other microconsoles consistently draw a lot of negativity from the gaming community? Is it a sense of threat? Of missed expectations? Is it something else? Some thoughts on why, and what the solution to overcoming skepticism might be. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Marketing Squeeze

    What Games Are: The Marketing Squeeze

    In case you didn’t know, marketing games on mobile has become a big of a nightmare. In this article I talk about how this is part of a wider trend, a squeezing phase affecting many game makers in the middle. Is there any hope for them? Read More

  • What Games Are: The March Of The Muggles

    What Games Are: The March Of The Muggles

    It’s easy to consign tablet and mobile gaming to the lamestream and feel that there’s a detente between that and the more core gaming platforms. However this is both shortsighted and naive. There’s a deep reason why users are moving over to simpler platforms, one that can’t be ignored. For game developers, for everyone really, learning how to engage with a more… Read More

  • What Games Are: Something’s Adrift With Oculus Rift

    What Games Are: Something’s Adrift With Oculus Rift

    Take a step back from what Rift does and consider where it does it. What do you see? A hulking PC at a desk powering it and its games. Oculus Rift’s problem is essentially that it’s a peripheral for a device category which is ever-so-slowly passing into the West. The business case doesn’t make sense. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Win Imperative

    What Games Are: The Win Imperative

    Many readers will be familiar with the idea that games and reward go together. Yet reward by itself isn’t rewarding. The reason is that it’s not the reward that’s interesting, but rather what it signifies: satisfaction of a job well done, a stroke of luck, a problem solved, a situation overcome, an enemy defeated. In short, it’s about winning. All games are played to win. Read More

  • What Games Are: Self-Publishing On Console Will Not Create The Next SuperCell. But Microconsoles Might.

    What Games Are: Self-Publishing On Console Will Not Create The Next SuperCell. But Microconsoles Might.

    It’s interesting to watch Microsoft pivot to liberalize their platform and allow self-publishing for indies, but that doesn’t mean Xbox will suddenly be the home of the next SuperCell. There’s still too much legacy in how console makers think to let that happen. Microconsoles, on the other hand, may well offer that possibility. Read More

  • What Games Are: Apple Needs To Make An iJoypad

    What Games Are: Apple Needs To Make An iJoypad

    The prospect of iPhones supporting game controllers is cool. But why is Apple giving away the opportunity to seize the initiative and make a new cool new add-on of its own? It feels like a big mistake, one symptomatic of a risk-averse sentiment growing around the company. For that and many other reasons, Apple should lead and make an iJoypad rather than wait for others. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Culture Gap In Mobile Games

    What Games Are: The Culture Gap In Mobile Games

    While other formats gain huge swathes of coverage in the gaming press, the talk in mobile is almost always just about process, business models and money. The absence of a cultural layer is notable, and a potential gap is emerging for someone to become a critical influencer in that market. What might that look like? Read More

  • What Games Are: The Ludophile Mindset

    What Games Are: The Ludophile Mindset

    Like the audiophile who spends serious money on her music, the ludophile spends aplenty on games and consoles. Both want perfection. The question for the games industry, however, is whether perfection is really the goal any more. To chase that market is very expensive, and although gamers may not like to hear it, good-enough seems like a better goal industry-wise in the long run. Read More

  • What Games Are: Reinventing The Games Console Half Way Won’t Work

    What Games Are: Reinventing The Games Console Half Way Won’t Work

    You’ve got to feel bad for Microsoft. After years spent trying to find ways to expand its Xbox idea, it’s now having to revert some of them and go back to being a regular old games console. The company has run into a hard truth: In the minds of the market “console” means something specific, and the market is not inclined to expand its thinking. Read More

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