Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Know How To Pitch Your Game

For any entertainment property knowing how to pitch it is integral to getting funding, backers, and sales.

A few weeks back, Paradox did an hour long stream on how to pitch to them. If you’re thinking of pitching to Paradox then you really need to watch it – or any other studio for that matter. They go into brand building, familiarity with consumers, and they reveal that game studios propose non-strategy games (90% of all pitches get rejected!). Be sure to know what a publisher actually publishes before pitching them!

Paradox takes board games pitches on based on their intellectual property, and of course the best way to do that is to send them a copy of the game. For more on board game pitches check out the panel we did with Bamboozle Brothers at Board Game Jam.

Never just pitch an idea – show something that reveals it!

You have to be really short and concise with you pitch! Panelists on the Pitching Secrets Revealed session at GDC 2013 all agree that you should use the minimum amount of time you need to describe your game, then use any remaining time to go into more details. For example, if you have a 15 minute pitch session you should use the first 5 to deliver your pitch and the rest of the time to answer questions.

Pitch for a card game

Pitch for a card game

Similarly, at GDC Europe in 2014 Rami Ismail (from Vlambeer) gave a talk about how to sell and why it’s important to be able to do pitch well. Basically, if you don’t know how to talk about your game then you can’t sell it. And if you can’t pitch it then you can’t sell it. If you can keep the summary of your game in one sentence then that’s even better.

You can watch his talk on the GDC Vault, he starts talking about pitching at the 14 minute mark.

For creating a good pitch deck (AKA PowerPoint) see this early post about Bubble Gum Interactive’s template.

I’m Speaking About Escape Rooms at Transworld

Speaking at Transworld Escape Conference

Transworld Escape Conference

I’ll be speaking at the Transworld Room Escape Conference later this week! The event starts on Friday and runs through the weekend. If you’re not far from Chicago where it’s happening you should come and check it out!

The nation’s largest dedicated conference for the emerging room escape industry features interactive exhibits & vendors, on-site demos, networking opportunities and dozens of targeted educational seminars presented by escape game industry leaders from both the United States and Canada.

My talk is titled Designing Puzzles for Player Flow and this is what it’s about:

Are your players getting stuck and frustrated? Find out ways to rethink your puzzles as part of a greater system and how to retool them in case they aren’t working how you envisioned. Learn how video game design techniques can be applied to physical rooms, how to troubleshoot design issues, and a template to approach your puzzles in isolation through a holistic lens.

If you cannot make it to Chicago for the conference you can always get my book. With the popularity of escape games of all sorts growing it is likely a matter of time until a conference pops up in your area!

Say hello if you see me there.

Get the Update to my Book: Escape the Game

escape the game sale banner

My popular book on escape rooms, Escape the Game, has been updated and expanded! It’s more useful than before for making your own escape game experience.

The book has more information on how you can make your own escape room or similar game experience. I added an entire chapter about an example puzzle that you can use and modify in your escape room (but do so before everybody else does!). If you’ve already bought the book through Amazon then your edition will be automatically updated. All new purchases will obviously be the updated edition.

Included in the update:

  • Template for your puzzle design!
  • List of documents!
  • Better examples throughout the book!
  • And more!

You can buy the book on multiple sites thanks to Smashwords! I’ll announce when the new sites become available on my Twitter and update the list below.

And of course, you can still get the book on Amazon.

If you have any further questions I do consult on – and make – custom escape game puzzles!

A Framework For Understanding Escape Room Games

Puzzle in an escape room
I’m a fan of escape rooms and I keep finding myself writing about them (and bring trapped in them). First it was my book Escape the Game and now it’s chapter in a book on using games in education. Along with Markus Wiemker, and Errol Elumir, I co-authored an article on escape room games titled
Can you transform an unpleasant situation into a pleasant one?

In short, our conclusion is yes you can.

The article goes into more than just thoughts on using escape rooms in learning, we wanted to provide a way to think about and discuss escape rooms as they grow in popularity. We have created a potential framework for understanding escape rooms and discussing the puzzles found within them.

Dialogorientierung & spielerisches Lernen analog und digital
Here’s a short excerpt from what we wrote in Game Based Learning -English Dialog Orientation & playful learning analog and digital:

Puzzle Types in Escape Rooms
Puzzles can be categorized into two basic approaches: mental and physical.

A mental puzzle makes use of the player’s thinking skills and logic. In order to overcome the mental puzzle, the players must deduce, correlate, or decipher clues to arrive at an answer. This type of puzzle is cognitive.

A physical puzzle, sometimes known as a ‘task’ or a ‘twitch’ puzzle requires the manipulation of real world artifacts to overcome the challenge and get the reward. For example, a maze is a task based puzzle. There is no ‘trick’ in solving the maze, you just need to get to the exit. Crawling through a laser grid is another task based puzzle. These puzzles are usually used to eat up time or provide a challenge for people who do not like mental gymnastics.

These puzzle types can obviously be used in combination with one another. A cryptogram may take a while to deduce, however, once the answer key is figured out, it will also take a while to translate. Or possibly a puzzle is obscured by darkness so another player needs to generate light via a bicycle.

Lastly, there is one more type of puzzle which is the meta puzzle. Although not a separate type, this tends to be used as the final puzzle for an escape room. In a meta puzzle, the final answer is derived from solving previous puzzles. For example, let’s say as the players progress through the room, jigsaw puzzle pieces are found with every other puzzle solved. Once they have completed all the other puzzles do they get every jigsaw piece. This jigsaw is the meta puzzle and when put together, it will lead the way out.

Escape Room Games
“Can you transform an unpleasant situation into a pleasant one?”

By: Markus Wiemker, Errol Elumir, Adam Clare

Which can be found in Game Based Learning – Dialogorientierung & spielerisches Lernen analog und digital. You can get the book here, or a PDF here.

If you’re interested in learning more about puzzle and escape rooms check out my book: Escape the Game.

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