Cover art for podcast The Panic Mode Podcast

The Panic Mode Podcast

50 EpisodesProduced by Panic ModeWebsite

A podcast about game design and how understanding it can make you a better gamer! New episodes are published every other Sunday.

episodes iconAll Episodes

50 - Asymmetric Games

July 5th, 2020


Asymmetry carries a lot of pros and cons when implemented in games. This week we dive into what asymmetry is, what it’s good for, and how to effectively design asymmetric games.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages …

49 - Race in Video Games with Rishi Barnwal

June 21st, 2020


This week we talk to Rishi Barnwal from On Thin Ice Games about race in video games, and what we can do to be conscious of it as game designers.



Facebook: …

48 - Evergreen Games

May 24th, 2020


Evergreen games are a growing presence in the gaming industry. This week we take a deep dive into what they are, where they came from, and the hottest of takes on where they are going.


Twitter: …

47 - Visual Novels

May 10th, 2020


Visual novels have a (relatively) long and unusual history. This week we get into what visual novels are, where they came from, and why you should …

46 - Scope in Game Design

April 26th, 2020


Scope is important to any project, and doubly so ina field as complex as game development. This week we delve into the practices and consequences of scoping in games.


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet

45 - Art in Games with Wayne Wong-Chong

April 12th, 2020


This week we welcome Pixelmatic’s Director of Art, Wayne Wong-Chong, to talk about everything art in games. And also about our quarantine beards!


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet

Facebook: …

44 - Roguelikes

March 30th, 2020


This week we get into the pointlessly perplexing taxonomy behind roguelikes (with a ‘k’), roguelites (with a ‘t’), and all of the useless criteria associated with each. Seriously. Some people think ASCII graphics are a …

43 - Designing Metagames

March 16th, 2020


Metagames: gamers hate ‘em, competitors love ‘em, and in some ways it feels like game designers only discovered them in the past ten years. This week we breakdown all you need to know about metagaming.

Website: …

42 - Team Communication with Chris Wood

March 1st, 2020


Communication in team environments is crucial to any big project, even more so in game development. This week we speak with Chris Wood, the COO of …

41 - Game Feel

February 16th, 2020


As a belated Valentine’s Day nod, this week we’re focusing on *feelings* in games. Or as it is more colloquially known: “game feel,” or less …

40 - Applied Game Design Theory Vol. 2

February 3rd, 2020


We’re back with more applied game design theory! This week we’re looking at Fortnite, Stardew Valley, and Mario Kart and try to get a sense of what makes them tick from a game design perspective.


39 - Making Your First Game

January 20th, 2020


Making your first game is the first baby step towards becoming a game designer. So why do so many aspiring designers struggle to take it?


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet


38 - Unified Board Game Design Theory

January 6th, 2020


This week we discuss Dan Ackerman’s article “Towards a grand unified theory of board game rules,” AKA our diatribe on why lengthy board game …

37 - 2019 in Review

December 23rd, 2019


This week we pause to reflect on what 2019 meant for games and game design, as well as recapping The 2019 Game Awards!


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet


Medium: …

36 - Gameplay Loops

December 8th, 2019


This week we take a look at a core concept of game design: gameplay loops. Are they different from feedback loops? Yes. Or are they…? No, they are the same. Unless they aren’t. They are different. Probably?

Website: …

35 - Hopepunk & Grimdark

November 24th, 2019


In this episode, we discuss the emergence of the grimdark and hopepunk subgenre, and their potential to influence game design. And for the record, it’s pronounced “hope-punk” not “hopunk”. Just saying.

Website: …

34 - Types of Fun

November 10th, 2019


This week we look at the many ways gaming academia has tried to quantify “fun”. Fun fact: funnily enough, researching “fun” is a decidedly unfun experience despite “fun” ostensibly being “fun”. Does “fun” sound like a …

33 - Panic Radio Vol. 2

October 31st, 2019


Panic Radio is back! What’s spooky gaming stories have gotten you in panic mode lately?


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet



Music Credits:

Unseen …

32 - Progressive vs. Emergent Gameplay

October 13th, 2019


Understanding what is meant by progressive and emergent gameplay is an important tool for communicating about game design. And yes, we promise we …

31 - Girls and Games

September 30th, 2019


This week we tackle myths about girls and games.

We’d hoped we wouldn’t have to, but apparently we do.


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet

30 - Character Creators

September 15th, 2019


Who knew character creators could be so complicated?

Shelby did.

Shelby always bloody knows.


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet

Facebook: …

29 - Progression Systems

September 1st, 2019


It’s our podcast’s one year anniversary! In this episode we take a look at progression systems, and talk about the past and future of Panic Mode.


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet

Facebook: …

28 - The History of the First-Person Shooter Genre

August 18th, 2019


First-person shooters have been around in one form or another for over forty years now. This week we discuss its history, its subgenres, and the design philosophies that informed it along the way.


27 - Panic Radio

August 5th, 2019


Hello internet, what's got you in panic mode today?


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet


Music Credits:

AhDah by Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By …

26 - Zero Sum Fun

July 21st, 2019


A grab bag episode this week on the podcast. Everything from the persistent presence of crunch in the gaming industry to how to make losing fun. And not to spoil anything, but the signoff is a little unique this week...

25 - Collectible Card Games

July 8th, 2019


This week we look at collectible card games - what they are, why they're popular, and some heuristics for designing them.


24 - Empathy in Games

June 23rd, 2019


Games can evoke empathy in its players in ways unlike any other medium. But as we discuss this week, that’s not always a good thing.


Twitter: @panicmodedotnet


Show …

23 - Accessibility in Video Games

June 9th, 2019


This week we discuss accessibility in video games, both in terms of what we can do to improve gaming experiences for disabled gamers, and the merit …

22 - The Souls Genre

May 26th, 2019


Shelby and Aidan discuss the Souls games, how they spawned an entire gaming genre, and how they contradict what we think we know about game design.

21 - Historical Accuracy in Video Games

May 12th, 2019



Shelby goes rogue in this episode, explaining her …

20 - Operant Conditioning in Video Games

April 28th, 2019



This week we discuss operant conditioning in video games, …

18 - Narrative Design in Board Games

March 31st, 2019



After years of research, analysis, and discussion, we …

17 - Analysis Paralysis

March 17th, 2019



This week we take a look at analysis paralysis - what it …

16 - Applied Card Game Design Theory

March 3rd, 2019



We're back with more applied game design! This week we're …

15 - Implicit Communication in Game Design

February 17th, 2019



Effectively communicating with your player is a key …

14 - Social Deduction in Game Design

February 3rd, 2019



Social deduction games are great for parties, creating …

13 - Board Game vs. Video Game Design

January 20th, 2019



Board game design is fun, messy, and not talked about …

10 - Games Journalism with Patrick Hickey Jr.

December 9th, 2018



How important are game review scores? What's the future …

8 - Designing Tutorials in Video Games

November 11th, 2018



A bad tutorial can ruin a good game, and a good tutorial …

5 - Positive & Negative Feedback in Game Design

September 30th, 2018



Feedback loops are key to keeping gaming experiences fun …

4 - Narrative Design in Video Games

September 16th, 2018



Shelby and Aidan explore narrative design in video games …

2 - Top Down vs. Bottom Up Game Design

September 2nd, 2018



In this episode of Panic Mode, Shelby and Aidan discuss …

1 - Luck vs. Skill in Game Design

September 2nd, 2018



Welcome to the first episode of Panic Mode! In this …
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