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: Xbox One Is Microsoft’s Spruce Goose

    What Games Are: Xbox One Is Microsoft’s Spruce Goose

    Microsoft’s Xbox One presents a big and complicated machine whose primary purpose is a menu layer for watching television. This in an age where living room television is irrelevant. Having bet the farm on this vision, the company looks so out of step as to almost be laughable and has built the digital equivalent of the Spruce Goose. Read More

  • What Games Are: Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Xbox?

    What Games Are: Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Xbox?

    With Xbox 360 having started well but ended in a very confused state, I worry that Microsoft is about to carry over much of its baggage to the new console. Will the company make the same mistake of not listening to the market that it has often made in recent years? Will it continue to believe that there is a burgeoning market for an everything box? Or will it refocus on what matters? Read More

  • What Games Are: There Is No Iron Throne Of Games Anymore

    What Games Are: There Is No Iron Throne Of Games Anymore

    We all know that big changes are happening in games, with the profusion of formats. What less of us realize is how much those changes have affected the underlying idea that one console or platform is the “gaming king”. Some of us even pine for a return to those days, but they are gone. Likely forever. Read More

  • What Games Are: Ok Glass, Let’s Talk Games

    What Games Are: Ok Glass, Let’s Talk Games

    It’s a little bit sexy and a little bit dorky, but Google Glass has finally arrived. Beyond the initial productivity uses of the device, how important are games going to be for driving its adoption, and what kind of games might work for it? Read More

  • What Games Are: The Scientism Delusion

    What Games Are: The Scientism Delusion

    While it makes game makers often feel better, the idea that designing games is a science is largely a delusion. The industry often thinks of itself in those terms, and self-reinforces the notion that being successful in games is all just one big engineering problem. Not so. Games are an entertainment business, and that means being crazy and willing to take chances is vital. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Shady Side Of Games

    What Games Are: The Shady Side Of Games

    A lot of recent moves in the gaming space to ban, investigate or curtail certain aspects of its output can seem egregious. However seen in the light of how shady game makers tend to behave, and the need to keep their sleazy tactics at bay, such moves are often understandable. Still, there are costs to games as a medium that this sort of thing keeps happening. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Reviewers Are Wrong About OUYA

    What Games Are: The Reviewers Are Wrong About OUYA

    Reviews of Ouya have thus far perhaps been unfair because they tend to either rate the machine against Android devices or existing consoles, when it is neither of those. The new microconsole-style of game machine is more like the netbook of gaming, and they should be seen in that light. However the fact that they aren’t seen in that light is itself a problem, one that needs fixing. Read More

  • What Games Are: My Three GDC Themes

    What Games Are: My Three GDC Themes

    Women in games, the continuing rise of microconsoles and the normalizing of real money gaming. These were the three themes that I noticed most at this year’s Game Developers Conference. Read More

  • What Games Are: ‘Twas The Night Before GDC

    What Games Are: ‘Twas The Night Before GDC

    The annual Game Developer’s Conference rolls into San Francisco next week. The event is always worth attending if only to see what the future will bring. This year’s, more than most, will be a real bellwether for what shape the industry will take over the next five years. And perhaps that shape will have much to do with microconsoles. Read More

  • What Games Are: Where Did Wii U Go Wrong?

    What Games Are: Where Did Wii U Go Wrong?

    Remember that console that Nintendo launched with the tablet controller? No, not the Wii, the other one. No? Strangely most of us seem to have forgotten all about it too, and quickly. Sales are terrible and buzz about the system is almost nil. Is it salvageable at this point, or does Nintendo need to go and have a good long think about how it got to this point after riding so high. Read More

  • What Games Are: The PC’s Struggle To App-Up Continues

    What Games Are: The PC’s Struggle To App-Up Continues

    Sim City 5 is yet another game that exposes an inherent conflict at the heart of the PC, about how connected and app-like or independent it should be. Publishers like EA might be trying to convince PC users to think of their games more as services, but PC users are still as reluctant as ever. So are operating system developers. And so the PC continues to muddle on. Read More

  • What Games Are: Real-Money Gaming Is Really Boring

    What Games Are: Real-Money Gaming Is Really Boring

    It may be the case that real-money gambling is inching its way to reality in the U.S., much as it has in the rest of the world, but if so it’s a phenomenally boring story. It’s hard to get excited about a sector that only ever sells the same few game types over and over, and it leads me to wonder when will real innovation ever really make its mark in this space. There’s more… Read More

  • What Games Are: Consoles Are Sinking. Get To The Lifeboats!

    What Games Are: Consoles Are Sinking. Get To The Lifeboats!

    While the Sony press event this week has largely been received as a wasted opportunity, it speaks more to the fate of the game console than the PS4. Microsoft may win the next generation, but will winning really look like total victory or merely an example of being the best loser? With microconsoles shaking up the entire industry from top to bottom, the game console as we know it looks doomed. Read More

  • What Games Are: The “Beyond Games” Mirage

    What Games Are: The “Beyond Games” Mirage

    Both Microsoft and Sony like to wow us with big numbers proclaiming how they are moving beyond games, but the numbers don’t really stack up. For all its vaunted efforts in TV partnerships, for example, the average Xbox is only used for a couple of movies per week. All the rest is games. Both need to stop distracting themselves with some ur-market fantasies of media hubs, or be destroyed. Read More

  • What Games Are: Why The Xbox’s $5 Problem Is Great For OUYA

    What Games Are: Why The Xbox’s $5 Problem Is Great For OUYA

    The news that next-generation consoles may lock games to devices is not controversial by itself, but the willingness to price those games effectively is not historically a strength of Microsoft or Sony. More likely a have-cake-and-eat-it attitude is at play, but that risks driving away younger players to microconsoles like the OUYA. Read More

  • What Games Are: Should Sony Move Beyond PlayStation?

    What Games Are: Should Sony Move Beyond PlayStation?

    On Feb 20th, Sony is holding a press conference in New York for which we assume is the PlayStation 4. Yet, is that really the smartest move that the company could make? With the argument that the PS idea’s time has gone, wouldn’t Sony be better served by rejuvenating their entire operation (including its brand) and letting go of the past? Read More

  • What Games Are: Games Need Their Nielsens

    What Games Are: Games Need Their Nielsens

    With Facebook deciding to hide monthly and daily active users, we have lost the one game platform that could give us reasonably objective data about game performance. We are back to the Dark Ages of vanity metrics as a result. This is something that needs to change. Read More

  • What Games Are: Playing In Interesting Times

    What Games Are: Playing In Interesting Times

    Increasingly, the sentiment in the games industry is that 2013 is going to be a very difficult year. With Facebook effectively over as a platform, social gambling being weaker than anticipated and forthcoming console hardware looking troubled, everybody is worried. As the proverb says, game makers seems to be living in interesting times. Read More

  • What Games Are: The Fun Boson Does Not Exist

    What Games Are: The Fun Boson Does Not Exist

    Perhaps the biggest roadblock facing the development of generation-two social games is the addiction to metrics. Social game makers still believe that fun is about finding the right behaviours, the right metric to measure fun and the right way to maximise that. They are wrong. Fun is, and always has been, a dynamic quality. They need to learn that there is no “fun boson”. Read More

  • What Games Are: Here Come “Local” Mobile Games

    What Games Are: Here Come “Local” Mobile Games

    While the single- and parallel-game types have streaked ahead on mobile platforms, multiplayer games has been more tentative. Particular “local” multiplayer games, of the kind that you play with friends in a location like a pub. However with the arrival of a little game called Spaceteam, I think that may be about to change. Read More