195 episodes

The podcast where nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. Nice!

Nice Games Club - a gamedev podcast‪!‬ Ellen, Stephen, and Mark

    • Leisure
    • 4.8 • 28 Ratings

The podcast where nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. Nice!

    GDC 2021 Special

    GDC 2021 Special

    Your nice hosts do their best to "attend" GDC 2021, and end up having a really good time. Mark imagines his business card, Ellen asks questions, and Stephen proves he's human.

    Game Developers Conference webpage

    GDC 2021 Sessions

    Mark LaCroix
    Stephen McGregor
    Ellen Burns-Johnson


    Indie SoapBox - GDC

    Glitch City LA

    Demystifying Indie Publishing Offers - August Brown, GDC

    August joined us in a previous episode:

    Developer/Publisher Relations

    Avoid an Identity Crisis as a Technical Designer - GDC

    A slide from "Avoid an Identity Crisis as a Technical Designer"

    Experimental Gameplay Workshop - GDC






    AI Dungeon


    Spreadsheet Smarter Not Harder

    "The Corrupt Goo." Gamepads; Nature in Games Gamepads; Nature in Games

    "The Corrupt Goo." Gamepads; Nature in Games Gamepads; Nature in Games

    In this episode, Mark gets defensive about his fair city, Ellen declares her love of Big Buttons, and Stephen almost forgets Fingeance, the game he worked on for seven years.



    Stephen McGregor


    The Evolution of the Xbox Controller - Alessandro Fillari, Gamespot

    The Evolution of the PlayStation Controller - Adam Bankhurst, IGN

    List of Nintendo controllers - Wikipedia

    Nature in Games


    Ellen Burns-Johnson


    Minneapolis Named Best City Park System in U.S. on Trust for Public Land’s Annu… - Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

    Minneapolis slides to third in urban park rankings; St. Paul rises to second (2… - Susan Du, Star Tribune

    Spend Time Outside in Twin Cities Parks and Lakes - Cinnamon Janzer, Explore Minnesota

    Endling: Extinction is Forever - Handy Games

    Firewatch - Campo Santo

    Nice Games Jam: "Palace of Versailles"

    Nice Games Jam: "Palace of Versailles"

    Your nice hosts come together for their first Nice Games Jam in person in a very long time! Did seeing each other together result in even wilder game jam shenanigans than you'd expect? Listen to the episode to find out!

    PlayThinker Deck - The Game Crafter

    We used Ellen's PlayThinker Deck to make this game! Goal card was "Efficiency", interaction cards were "Combination", "Approach", and "Exploration".

    Game type
    Card game

    Player count


    Basic 52 card deck (no jokers)

    4 Meeples

    12 Powerup tokens (3 different colors)

    Shuffle deck and place cards in a 4 by 4 grid.

    Give each player one meeple to represent them.


    Player can move onto any card on their side of the grid as their first turn.
    On their turn each player moves one card and reveals it, potentially giving you an ability
    Revealing a face card gives you an item, which gives you one of the following abilities:

    One gives the ability to move one more space.
    One gives the ability to peek at one more card.
    One gives the ability to move diagonally.

    Getting three items allows you to take one turn to bank three items, losing those three abilities but giving you one point. 
    Revealing an Ace removes all items that player’s have not banked. Bank your items to prevent losing a point!
    Revealing the four corners refresh all unrevealed cards except cards that a player is on.
    When the deck runs out, the game ends when all the board is revealed (no more refreshes, fill out the rest of the board with a shuffled discarded deck).
    Whoever has the most points after that last round wins the game!

    "To Whom It May Concern." Ethical Consumption; Grind

    "To Whom It May Concern." Ethical Consumption; Grind

    Holly Harrison, aka "Best Friend of the Show," is back in the clubhouse! And we recorded this episode in person again! Can you tell? It probably comes through in the goofs...

    There's plenty of silliness in this week's episode, even though your Nice Hosts explore some serious topics. Holly asks us what we can do to become more ethical consumers (and developers) of games. Ellen examines the dynamics of grind. Stephen finally admits to something BIG, and Mark takes a break.

    Join Lobby - Video Game Culture Feed - Holly Harrison, Instagram

    Holly joined us for episode 40...

    Community Managment

    ...and for episode 88...

    The Gaming Press

    ...and for episode 89...

    "A mean secret that stays in this room."

    ...and for episode 201...

    "Not like Beauty and the Beast."

    ...and for episode 202!

    Business Speak

    Ellen's new laptop: Alienware M15R4

    Gris (a game, not a musical) - Steam

    Noble Engine - Mark LaCroix

    Here's episode 217, in which we discussed open source.

    Open Source Software

    Photo by Helmi Lutvyandi from Pexels

    Ethical Consumption


    Holly Harrison


    Conflict minerals: Which gaming companies may have funded human rights abuses i… - Rebekah Valentine, GamesIndustry.biz

    Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism”? - Maya Singer, Vogue

    Summary of sexual and non-sexual allegations (megathread) - Reddit



    Ellen Burns-Johnson

    Game Design

    r/truegaming: For those who like talking about games as much as playing them. - Reddit

    Ellen’s take on grind: “Going through the same content multiple times as a means to progress towards an in-game goal that doesn’t pertain to the player’s skill.”

    "So, you made a game engine?"

    "So, you made a game engine?"

    Back in March, Mark created a game engine in an unfamiliar programming language for an unreleased console... and in June he explained himself in a presentation at IGDATC's Gamedev Meeting.

    The full video presentation of Mark's talk

    "So, you made a game engine?"

    Mark LaCroix


    Noble Engine, a li'l game engine for Playdate - Noble Robot, GitHub

    Noble Engine Project Template - Noble Robot, GitHub

    Playdate console

    Playdate developer portal

    Co-op Studios (with Reese Valentine and Mackenzie Denker)

    Co-op Studios (with Reese Valentine and Mackenzie Denker)

    Starting an indie studio is hard, starting a worker-owned cooperative is harder. This week your nice hosts interview longtime friend of the show Reese Valentine and their fellow co-founder Mackenzie Denker, both of Amelore. It's co-ops 101, which happens to be exactly the info Stephen needs right now!

    Amelore Coop website

    Amelore on Twitter

    Reese previously visited the clubhouse for one of our earliest episodes, in early 2017:

    Games Education

    Co-op Studios


    The 7 Cooperative Principles - The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International

    Mission Statements - Adam Schwartz, The Cooperative Way

    Co-ops in Spain’s Basque Region Soften Capitalism’s Rough Edges - Peter S. Goodman, The New York Times

    Embracing the Co-Op Studio Model in Indie Games - Scott Benson, Ted Anderson, Steve Filby, Ian Thomas, Bethany Hockenberry, GDC

    Reese Valentine


    Co-founder of Amelore co-op, a worker-owned game studio. Former President of the Game Design Club at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

    External link


    Mackenzie Denker


    Co-founder of Amelore co-op, a worker-owned game studio.

    External link


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

reversegremlin ,


This podcast is pure joy. Great conversations about nice games. Well produced, and omg the ant JRPG episode is amazing.

Val LeMark ,

Encouraging and Friendly

The three hosts are very knowledgeable, and will address many different insteresting topics in videogame development. Their guests are wonderfully knowledgeable.

This podcasts contains the advice and encouragement you just might need as a new or experienced game dev. Sometimes they even talk about their favorite videogames!

SuperJumpTMR ,

Swell People, Nice Games!

Recently found this podcast and it's amazing! I've been digging back through previous episodes and the subjects they touch on are very informative, insightful, and really helpful and the hosts are all super swell and enjoyable to listen to! This podcast has been fantastic overall, I find it all educational and I really enjoy the debates as well. I'm excited for new episodes! :D

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