Insights from an AMA with Video Game Writers

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Game Design Special Interest Group recently held a Mentor “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” with Game Writers in conjunction with the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Teachers and students throughout the United States contributed questions about the process of writing original video games. The expert panel moderated by Felix Wilhelmy featured:

  • Sheri Graner Ray, an award-winning game designer and CEO of ZombieCat Studios. Sheri has worked for such companies as Schell Games, Origin, Sony Entertainment, and the Cartoon Network.
  • Bobby Stein, Associate Narrative Director and Narrative Design Lead at ArenaNet, the maker of Guild Wars.
  • Sande Chen, a writer and game designer best known for her work on titles on The Witcher and Wizard 101. Follow her on Twitter @sandechen.

Panelists responded to a variety of thoughtful questions, including:

  • What is the biggest challenge in developing a videogame, both in storyline and in general?
  • What are some key differences between a good and a bad narrative?
  • Where do you see virtual reality and augmented reality going, and how do you think this technology will change games and storytelling?
  • What are some ways a designer can tell a story in a game that gives the player opportunities to make real choices that genuinely affect the outcome of the game?
  • What would you say is the #1 pitfall in the design of serious games?

Listen to the full AMA panel below or on Soundcloud, and find a full list of questions submitted in the Files section of the IGDA Game Design SIG Facebook group. (The GDSIG is a closed Facebook group, but anyone can join, provided they follow the guidelines.)




The IGDA is an international, non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the careers and improve the lives of game developers. 


 The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.