What I Learned About Game Design From a Brazilian Steakhouse

What an Experience

I attended the Open Source Conference in Austin TX. It is a pretty good conference and there are a lot of people out there doing amazing things. But as interesting as the conference was, I learned the most from going to a restaurant.

While I was there, my coworkers and I tried out a few of the local eateries. Several were good, but 1 of them stands out far above the others. One of my coworkers who was not at this conference and is from Brazil had recommended we try a Brazilian steakhouse called Fogo de Chao. It was a restaurant experience unlike any I have had before.

There was no written menu, other than a drink menu. There was no visible price listed anywhere. They had a salad bar with a few various vegetables and other side items, but the main course was why we were there.

Several waiters walk around with 3 foot long kebabs with different cuts of meat on them. They had steak in all sorts of varieties, chicken, pork, and lamb.

It was amazing.

It was by far the best restaurant experience I have ever had. It was so good I wanted to tell people about it. It was a little expensive for my current salary range (thankfully I got to expense it) but it was so good I would go again having to pay for it myself and I would recommend others that they have to try it at least once.

Designers Create an Experience

One of the major themes in the Art of Game Design is that the game creates an experience for the user and the game designer is responsible for designing that experience. The goal of the designer should be to create an experience like the Brazilian Steakhouse.

You want to design an experience that people want to have again. You want to design an experience that people want to tell other people about and that they want other people to experience.

So take a look at your current game and ask yourself these questions.

  1. Does my game create an experience that the person who plays it will want to have again?
  2. Does my game create an experience that people will want to tell others about and want their friends to have?

If the answer to either of these questions is NO, my questions is, why not?

I Want to Be a Better Developer