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Gaming Mechanics

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Ending Game Stores

Endings of stories are usually bittersweet. It's the culmination of everything and also then end of a journey but games aren't just stories, they also rich experiences involving unique skills. End a game might mean there's still much left to explore so what does it look like to conclude a video game?

Duration: 01:19:40

Replayability in Games

Ever finished your favorite game only to go back for seconds? As part of our series about finishing games it felt fitting to talk about how to keep things fresh during replays. Join Greg as he discusses just what makes a game replayable!

Duration: 01:03:10

Bosses At Work

Bosses can bring an epic note of finality to a section of a game or be a sour note in the harmony between player and game. What makes for a good boss fight? and where did bosses even come from to being with?

Duration: 01:19:38

Loot Boxes: A Behaviorist's Booty

The controversy surrounding the use of loot boxes in triple A titles has come to a head with the release of EA's Battlefront II (2017). The Gaming Mechanics take you on a psychological tour of loot boxes, the problems they present and what they might still be good for.

Duration: 01:09:47

The Story of Destiny's Lore

Destiny 1 and 2 were hugely anticipated titles with all the space-opera epicness you've come to expect from Bungie. How that epicness is communicated to you, the player, has been a point of controversy, consternation and, at last, this podcast. Greg and Mark discuss what worked and what didn't in Destiny 1 and 2's presentation of lore (no spoilers).

Duration: 01:08:16

Finding The Game

Games are so complex and unique that it is necessary for games to teach themselves to players. From the in-world tutorial of Red Dead Redemption to the tutorial-as-world of Portal, the Gaming Mechanics tackle tutelage and trajectory in all its forms.

Duration: 01:01:57

Episode Delayed


Duration: 00:00:18

The Future of Fear

After much spookiness and fright, Greg and Mark take a look back at the last month of gaming and a look forward at what the future might hold for horror genre. Join us as we discuss the innovations taking place to scare gamers (There's also some creepy pasta at the end!).

Duration: 00:50:05

Death and Survival

Survival, death and horror often go together in gaming. The question on our minds today is how can we make survival seem important and avoid making death feel cheap or inconsequential in a game which poses no bodily risk?

Duration: 01:08:39

Expectation and Horror

Expectations play a huge role in any game so it should come as no surprise that the creators of horror games weave the expectation of being scared into virtually every aspect of their game. Mark and Greg discuss how this can be done well and how it might backfire.

Duration: 00:49:40

The Effect of Violent Games

Controversy abounds when it comes to discussing the effect of violent games on gamers. Thankfully the Gaming Mechanics are at home sorting through psychological research and presenting some of the more pertinent findings. It's not conclusive but it's food for thought.

Duration: 00:57:34

Rating Systems

The way a game is rated plays a crucial role in its expectation, audience and reception. Greg and Mark discuss the history and present state of rating games in the US and some notable cases in the history of ratings.

Duration: 00:48:06


"Immersion" is a term used to praise games but it's too vague to be reproducable by developers. Mark and Greg add their own thoughts about a better way to talk about good games!

Duration: 00:58:36

Factorio and Learning Curves

For this episode Mark goes in depth on his blind play-through of Factorio ( and discusses how learning curves are crucial for games even though they carry the risk of overwhelming the player.

Duration: 00:33:01

Choices in Games II: Mechanics and Choice Applied

Greg's mouth has sufficiently healed and so today we are finishing the last of a two-part series by focusing on the applied aspects of choice. Specifically, how much choice you really need for a game and when too much choice can be overwhelming to a player in a way that detracts from gameplay.

Duration: 00:56:04

Episode Delayed

Greg's foul mouth (but actually, he injured his mouth) has caused us to push this weeks episode back but don't worry, we'll be here next week.

Duration: 00:00:42

Choices in Games I: Morality and Story

Video games feature a level of choice and interactivity unparalleled by other types of media. Sometime these choices change the arc of a story or the perception of a player-character in their world but what does it look like to do this well? Mark ( and Greg ( discuss how a game can make a convincing character through these systems.

Duration: 00:56:57

Markets in Gaming

Video games provide an unprecedented opportunity to start an economy completely from scratch. Some of these systems are fascinating, others are deeply flawed. Mark and Greg discuss what sets them apart.

Duration: 00:47:12

MMOs: a Sandbox or a Theme Park?

MMOs are a massively popular genre but were relatively ill-defined until World of Warcraft appeared on the scene. Now there is a buffet of WoW clones but MMOs could be so much more.

Duration: 00:53:22

The Difficulty With Games

Greg and Mark give a fresh take on the video game difficulty debate from a holistic gaming perspective. What makes a game difficult in a fun way even if not everyone is satisfied with the level of challenge? Games that aren't challenging are boring, games that aren't winnable are frustrating.

Duration: 00:48:00

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