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April 20, 2014
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Ara Shirinian's Blog   Expert Blogs


Ara Shirinian is a video game developer, writer, and co-host of Chatterbox Video Game Radio. Most recently he was design lead on Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the 3DS. His gameography also includes The Red Star, Cars: Mater-National, Dood's Big Adventure, and NightSky. His specialties are player psychology, mechanics design, and human-computer interaction. You can find out more about Ara at and Features Ara has written for Gamasutra include:


Expert Blogs

In this talk I discuss some of the precise mechanisms by which F2P games are most successfully monetized, and the psychological tradeoffs and consequences involved.

Ara Shirinian's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 04/02/2014 - 08:10]

Incidentally, this is highly analogous ...

Incidentally, this is highly analogous to gameplay mechanics tuning for things like platformers. You ideally want to be able to adjust parameters about any subset of your system 's dynamics without having to affect any other part. r n r nThis is also why utilizing generalized physics systems to govern ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/31/2014 - 01:07]

It seems unusual to consider ...

It seems unusual to consider that new designers are more in love with systems than mechanics. What I have seen most often is they simply want to duplicate whatever they have seen in previous works that they think is cool, without much further analysis or introspection. Or even differentiation between ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/24/2014 - 05:47]

I do want to clarify ...

I do want to clarify that I am not just talking about the overt slot machine that is gacha/ egg machine in PAD, I am also talking about the covert slot machine that is a function of rare drops randomized inputs and outputs within the essential gameplay of PAD itself.

Comment In: [Blog - 03/05/2014 - 03:35]

It seems disingenuous to expect ...

It seems disingenuous to expect or even hope that Apple/Google will do any of those ethical things that you frame as being in their best interest now, when all of the problems of monetization on these platforms are precisely idiosyncractic side effects of how the app stores continue to be ...

Comment In: [Blog - 02/27/2014 - 04:17]

You may want to read ...

You may want to read another perspective on some of the more precise details about why narrative and gameplay don 't go well together: r n r n uneasy merging of narrative .php

Comment In: [Blog - 02/27/2014 - 05:37]

These sales propositions are unethical ...

These sales propositions are unethical when the terms of the deal are obfuscated or misleading, so that the player accepts the deal basically on false terms. Not all f2p interactions are unethical or inherently so.