VideoBrains July Epilogue

Roll out the red carpet, because in July, VideoBrains went to the movies. Okay, we didn’t actually go there, and there was no red carpet, but we did have one fantastic event based all around that theme.

First up, we had Helen Gould with a perhaps controversial opinion: Warcraft, the recent film, was actually pretty great. Coming from the perspective of someone who doesn’t play any of the Warcraft games, Helen defended the film valiantly!

In July, we had to say goodbye to Rob Morgan as our resident speaker, as he gave his final talk in the series on the narrative utility belt of games: An Awfully Big Adventure. Give his talk the respect it deserves by catching up on the rest of the talks in this series in our handy playlist!

There’s an intense and deep lore behind Pop-up Pirate, and through multiple mediums Grant Howitt showed us the complex past of it, and how the dedicated fans pieced together the story like a better version of Dark Souls. There’s a lot going on in Pop-up Pirate.

Martin Hollis, designer behind Goldeneye and other games, took on a challenge at VideoBrains July: take 5 films from the audience and design entirely new, unique games around them. Of course, the audience gave some interesting and challenging films to really test his skill.

Finally, Hannah Dwan rounded off the evening telling us all about Hannibal: not one of the books, or one of the films, but a game from the early 2000s. You probably haven’t heard of it, because it was never released. What happened to Hannibal: The Game?

That’s all for VideoBrains July! Well, almost. We also sold the first edition of the VideoBrains zine that evening! If you’d like to buy your own copy, you can find out how to do so here.

VideoBrains August: Gang Beasts is just around the corner – featuring our next resident speaker Alice Bell, 5 other brilliant speakers, and the second issue of the VideoBrains zine! Find out more on eventbrite.

We’ll be back.

VideoBrains June Epilogue

Our most recent all-day event, and the first of 2016, VideoBrains June was a fantastic event, not only because we had a host of wonderful talks, but also because we got to celebrate Jake Tucker’s birthday! It was a longer, more packed, and cake-filled VideoBrains. But enough of that: there’s a whopping 10 talks to show to you!

In order to go get herself a tattoo straight after (and then return to VideoBrains, because bruised skin won’t stop her), Alice Bell started off VideoBrains June, with Dark Souls Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad. Don’t @ her.

Giving his penultimate talk as resident speaker (aww), Rob Morgan showed of episode 5 of his Narrative Utility Belt, this month focusing on diegesis, the antonym of his second talk in this series! We also had a big announcement: who will succeed Rob as our resident speaker. Drumroll please!

Alice Bell, VideoBrains veteran, will start a residency at VideoBrains in August, with an as-yet-unannounced theme. Look forward to that!

Games, as of late, have done their best to record and tackle some of the more difficult topics in our modern world. Thomas McMullan asked the question of whether there’s a useful intersection between games and documentary, and how they can influence one another.

For the first time ever, we had a fully drawn talk at VideoBrains June! Hana Lee discussed How We Become Our Own Characters, and how sometimes it’s easiest to empathise with the characters that don’t have faces, the ones we make ourselves, especially if you belong to a minority games don’t typically represent.

If you’re a fan of Doom and its modding scene, there’s a good chance you’ll have heard of Matt Tropiano. He’s been making maps for Doom for the last twenty years, and has learnt a lot about making a good map and how Doom works in the process. That wasn’t the most important thing, though, instead that was what making mods taught him as a creator.

Gaming communities are incredibly important to many people, as ways to talk with like-minded people in a world where it can be hard to do so for a number of reasons. Natalie Clayton showed why it was doubly important for her – and many other trans people – to be a part of a community in World of Warcraft.

Tom Hatfield likes barbies. Not the Barbie Girl, living in a Barbie world kind, but the grimdark space barbie kind. He loves Warhammer 40K, the game all about little figurines killing each other on the whims of omnipotent dice-wielding gods. And he’s proud of it.

Sometimes it feels like you should keep your creative projects – your babies that need to be protected and cared for – private until they’re perfect, ready for the world to see. Olivia Wood argued that, no, they shouldn’t, and it’s often good to show someone your project, even if you know it’s not done.

Are you bad at games? Meg Jayanth knows the feeling of being bad at games. But the thing is: that’s perfectly okay, and sometimes it’s really a good thing. Lots of us are bad at games, and that really, really, doesn’t matter. (See also: Alice’s talk from the start of VideoBrains June!)

Cassandra Khaw is smart in a lot of areas, and one of those is the speculative fiction community. While it’s certainly not a perfect area, there’s lots that games and gaming can learn from it, from how small groups of fans are worthwhile to how you should never discredit a game for being in a certain genre.

That wraps up the VideoBrains June Epilogue! There’s a lot to watch and hopefully it should tide you over until VideoBrains July: The Movies on July 26th. Hopefully we’ll see some of you there!

VideoBrains May Epilogue

Ever just not finished a project, or perhaps you’ve got something on the go right now, or maybe it’s still swirling around your head as a wonderful idea? That was the theme of VideoBrains May: Prototype, all those unfinished or unreleased little works we haven’t finished yet or just haven’t got around to making perfect. Well, and there was a talk on folklore and the genitals of yokai. Average VideoBrains really.

Siobhan Gibson was our first speaker, and spoke how just how she started making games, from the most basic proofs of concept to where she is nowadays. One of the reasons she gave it a shot was just to see if Twine really was as easy as people said it was: it is.

There was also some homework given! Siobhan wanted people to just make something simple using Flickgame, and Alex Facey did exactly that! He made a short Twin Peaks game, which you can play right here. If you’re inspired to make something yourself, please send it our way!

This was followed up by Andrew Armstrong, who looked at architecture in games, and how the relationship between the places we live, visit, and grow up in can influence us. It’s a talk that would be right at home alongside our previous resident speaker Hannah Nicklin’s series!

It wasn’t just Rob Morgan’s fourth talk as our resident speaker, but we also celebrated his birthday at VideoBrains May! It might be a little late to wish him a belated happy birthday, but we won’t stop you.

His topic for May was The Pathetic Fallacy, and included supposedly awkward eye contact (which VideoBrains attendees seemed to love). He also had a wonderful jacket this month.

Thryn Henderson brought us back to VideoBrains May’s theme with her talk This World Is ____, a look into unfinished (but not, necessarily, incomplete) games that people showed her. Art is never finished, only abandoned, but sometimes the unfinished works can be just as enjoyable as the ones deemed ‘complete’.

Cloud-based computing, not quite OnLive, but the idea that games can use a cloud-based network of computers to do all the taxing stuff for you in a game. That was the topic of Will Overgard’s talk, which even included a little audience interaction, with a joyously optimistic view of the possibilities in the future of cloud-based computing.

Finally, Alex Davis took to the stage, with a perhaps rather NSFW talk on folklore. Sounds innocent: did you know tanuki have mahoossive scrotums? Or that kappa (not the Twitch emote, please) like to steal your soul from where the sun don’t shine? Didn’t think so.

Certainly a unique array of talks. That’s the joy of VideoBrains, eh?

VideoBrains June has been and gone, but VideoBrains July: The Movies tickets are now available! It features Helen Gould, Alex Hern, Darren Daley, Hannah Dwan, Martin Hollis, and Rob Morgan’s final talk as resident speaker (aww). Don’t worry, though because we’ve announced our next resident speaker: the fantastic, the inimitable, the creator of Chekov’s Penis, Alice Bell! She’ll be joining us as resident speaker in August.

We’d love it if you brought a friend along to VideoBrains, and Endlife Studios have made a great video to show off just how great VideoBrains is. Show us to your friends! With this, we bid you adieu (at least, until the next Epilogue…)

VideoBrains April: The Swapper Epilogue

It’s that time again, for the final page in the book of VideoBrains April: The Swapper to be read, the Epilogue. This is where you can either relive the event or pretend you were there, complete with videos and some of the best tweets about the event. What more could you want?

We had our resident speaker Rob Morgan open up with this third talk in a series where he puts names to tropes and clichés in games we know but can’t quite describe. One of the focuses was Chekhov’s Sidequest, the item, area, or person you know is coming up later one in the game because of their introduction in act one.

Olivia Wood, editor at Failbetter Games, took to the stage to talk about sex in games. Good sex, bad sex, and a little bit inbetween. At Failbetter Games, every scene aims to be as inclusive as possible, regardless of gender identity, orientation, or genitals. That was a challenge, as was asking her mother about the grammar of a sex scene.

To debunk the relatable everyman (alternate talk title: “Yes, I’m Talking About Representation Again, Fight Me!”, Helen Gould came up to the stage, discussing how so many of the protagonists in the game we love are white men. In fact, not just a lot of them: almost all of them.

Did you know that James Parker really “gets it” with regards to the Call of Duty franchise? At least, that’s what commenter on The Guardian once said. His talk wasn’t entirely about that, though, and instead moved on to talk about the communities that build up around games, and how creators can, should, and shouldn’t talk to their fans.

Are you an action dude? A hulking mass of muscle that survives off chewing cigars and grunting? Are you a brotagonist? Chances are, you’re not. That means it’s hard to relate to the many brotagonists that fill many games. Thryn Henderson walked us through the ways we can relate to these characters, primarily through just punching things.

To finish off VideoBrains April, Sean Cleaver spoke about getting older. Specifically, getting older and losing touch with the gaming he once knew. People grow up, and the way we play games changes. That’s both a good and a bad thing, but I’d say it’s good because if we stayed the same we’d all end up like Steve Buscemi in 30 Rock.

That wraps up VideoBrains April: The Swapper! We’ve got good news though. VideoBrains May: Prototype tickets are now available. We’re trying out a new location this month, so if Stratford is a better location for you, come along!

On top of that, our next all-day extravaganza is going to be in June, and tickets will go on sale on Monday! Our all day events typically sell out pretty fast, so get in quickly.

In case you want to support VideoBrains further and on into the future, we have a Patreon that you should check out.

We’ll be seeing you at VideoBrains May very soon!

VideoBrains March: Uncharted Epilogue

It’s that time again where those of you who couldn’t come along to the last VideoBrains, or just want to experience it all over again, get to experience the talks – and some of the best tweets – in all their glory. We had the theme of Uncharted this month – inspiring our speakers to talk about the places they’ve been, both in games and on this big ol’ planet.

We started off with Nicholas Rush, who told the unique stories he has about his time as a tour guide in Chernobyl. Some games have used the structures and areas in the exclusion zone as inspiration, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl being one of the most famous examples. It has been used so much that some people who visited actually recognised and could navigate the area. It’s common to recognise places in games set somewhere you live, but seeing the reverse is uncanny.

It has been over 2 decades since a new episode of The Crystal Maze has graced our screens, but that hasn’t stopped a new Escape Game being set up in London set to the theme of the greatest of game shows. Luke Graham has played it, and found some interesting parallels (and differences!) between it, as a game in real life, and the videogames we play.

In his second talk as a resident speaker here at VideoBrains, Rob Morgan continued his series on the narrative utility belt of videogames, where he puts names and hashtags to the moments and devices in games we all recognise. This month focused gaming’s own usage of mimesis, dubbed me-me-mesis by Rob.

Open worlds can be fantastic lands to explore, or they can be a vast expanse of nothing that simply act as a link between points A, B, and C. Emma Boyle spoke about how these open worlds, and her love-hate relationship with them, especially with fast travelling.

There’s a big difference between how we move around spaces in real life and in games, and if you play games enough, you realise how the different rules work in games. Some games, though, don’t work in the way you’d think a game would, Alice Bell argues, and it’s sometimes hard to know how the places in games actually work as the rules between game worlds and real ones can blur together.

To finish off the evening, Thomas McMullan spoke about The Untameable City, and the ways games create metropolises that emulate the impossibly complex systems of the cities we get to play in. He closed out in a poetic fashion, with the wonderful poem The Seven Old Men, by Charles Baudelaire, ending VideoBrains March in a lovely manner!

Fear not, though, as VideoBrains April: The Swapper is just days away! Featuring James Parker, Helen Gould, Thryn Henderson, Sean Cleaver, Olivia Wood, and our resident speaker Rob Morgan, it will be fantastic. Get your tickets now!

In case you’d like to support us a little extra, our Patreon is the place to be, and we appreciate all the support you give us.

We’ll be seeing you at VideoBrains April!

The Epilogue – VideoBrains February: Mount Your Friends

With the theme of Mount Your Friends, the party game where players create a totem pole of skimpy muscular men, VideoBrains February had talks about sex, in all its glory. Well, some of the games mentioned are certainly not glorious.

Due to the content, you probably don’t want to play these talks out loud in your office. You have been warned!

We started off with Dr. Ashley Brown, and her talk Good Sex, Bad Player. Everyone has their own personal desires with sex, but the best kind is when it’s playful, when it’s two consenting adults just having fun. She’s done research on this, and how adult gamers play together, and spoke about how the relationship between what players want and what games can offer is awkward.

You can’t always get what you want in games. Unless, of course, you’re a AAA protagonist, in which case the world falls at your feet. By using Wario as “the mirror to which we hold up all of humanity”, Benjamin Maltz-Jones looked at how some games let you be a bit of an arse, but still give you exactly what you want, even if you might not deserve it.

Starting his series as resident speaker, Rob Morgan introduced new terms for us to define those moments in games that many of us recognise but can’t quite easily describe, in beautiful hashtag form for you all to use in your day-to-day Twittering. This is just the first of six talks – we’ll have a whole lexicon eventually!

Couples in games are weird. They’re goals or the result of two characters being locked together during a world-shattering event. Established couples, though, are rare, despite being a key part of, well, human relationships. Lucie Prunier looked at some of the good examples of the happy balanced couples that aren’t the Prince who saved the Princess or something similar, but just two people who love each other.

Sex in entertainment isn’t limited to videogames, but has been the subject of many a board game in the past. James Wallis ran through some of the highs and depraved lows of board games that tackled sex. When he says not to Google one of the games – he does mean it. Not a good idea.

This talk has even inspired some VideoBrains-goers to buy one of the games mentioned, The Beast! Alice Bell, who followed James in speaking at this very event, has already got her copy!

To finish the night, Alice took a look at how Sex in Games is Fucked Screwed. Similarly to how some of the board games James Wallis mentioned in his previous talk just don’t quite get it, neither do many, many videogames, or the people that use them as a basis for some interesting results. Oh, and there’s apparently a lot of porn parody puns for videogames.

That’s it for VideoBrains February: Mount Your Friends, if you’d like to watch those videos back-to-back, we’ve set up a lovely playlist for your viewing pleasure! 

If you want to support VideoBrains, please consider telling your friends about us (although, you might not want to show some of these talks to some friends, I imagine) or supporting us on Patreon! VideoBrains March has already been and gone, but we’ll have information about VideoBrains April coming very, very soon.

The Epilogue – September/October Extravaganza

It’s been far too long, and finally, we’re happy to say, the videos from VideoBrains September and October are out! Without any more of a wait, let’s get right down to it.

VideoBrains September: Spy Party

September was a special month for VideoBrains, it marked the event’s first birthday! A year later, and 15 VideoBrains (VideoBrainses? Jake doesn’t really know himself) on, the event is very much alive and kicking, with a full house too! To celebrate, the kind people at Rocket Jump Events sponsored the bar, even. They’ll be doing more in 2016, so keep an eye out if you’re looking for more games industry-focused events.

There was even a cake for Jake (and the event), too!

This month had the theme of Spy Party, all about murder, stealth, betrayals, and questionable morality. All those things that make up a good Bond movie. Or a bad one. Maybe we should have had a murder mystery going on…

Tom Hatfield started us off, with his talk ‘Deception, Betrayal and Horror in Co-op’, a look at how horror doesn’t have to be about loneliness within darkness. Making example of his time in the mostly unknown System Shock 2 multiplayer as well as in the co-op of Dead Space 3. Despite how you can joke around with friends and feel safe, a few touches can make group horror really work.

Resident speaker Hannah Nicklin took to the stage following Tom, in her fourth talk on the psychogeography of games. This month, she spoke about her time walking across a very wet London with George Buckenham, talking about everything from Brutalism in London housing to the optimal way to get over a very large puddle without getting wet. Set to a background of rain, thunder, and music made by Hannah in Panoramical, which George had a part in making, the talk combined thoughts on process and ideas on community and solidarity. As always, you can read an adapted form of her talk over on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. If you’d like to take a look at what George has made, you can take a look over on his site!

Did you know there was a Thief 4 in the works? Not the 2014 game, either, Joe Martin doesn’t like to talk about that one very much. He’s been digging deep into archives for his talk ‘They Stole Thief 4 From Me’, and doing some detective work in search of elusive information on a fourth Thief game, titled Thief 4 – Dagger of Ways. Moving into a modern world, and to be developed the same team as the predecessors, Ion Storm, he eventually managed to get ahold of a design document, detailing what the team aimed to do. As history will tell you, the game never got made, and if Joe hadn’t managed to find this document, it could have been lost to the ages. If this is what Joe found, what other unknown concepts have been lost in locked or hidden annals of history?

Joe has kindly offered to send anyone interested a copy of the design document, so if you’d like to go through it yourself, send him a tweet at @JoeThreepwood!

Morality in games is a tricky issue, and presents some interesting dilemmas for the player. It becomes even more complex, when you get something really awesome for being a rude person. By rude, I mean murdering characters in your game. Helen Gould, with ‘Hands to yourself, sneak thief: bad morality in RPGs’, discussed her time in Skyrim, facing the challenging questions of “Is this armour worth murdering a lot of people?” and “Oh gosh, I murdered people for a mace with a skull that stares into my soul, why did I do this?” in the world of Tamriel. Also, there was a bit of a debate on the pronunciation of scone, in person and on Twitter.

To finish the evening along the theme of Spy Party, Edward Burton took on a personal gripe with stealth games: the implementation of a score. In games like Mark of the Ninja and Hitman: Absolution, a score can be detrimental to the core ideas of many stealth games. Being able to make your own plans and go through each mission your way is key, and having one set path that will give the most points can be detract from this.

VideoBrains October: Dungeon Keeper

Boss battles can be fantastic climaxes, or dreadfully tedious affairs that sour your experience of a game. Zoë Williamson looked at some of the best and worst, for a multitude of reasons, as well as gave some explanations for why certain boss battles just suck.

The fear of the unknown, of the vast expansive void our world fills, and of the possibily of greater beings than ourselves are what underline much of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror, and lots of games get that wrong. Tom Battey took at look at how Hidetaka Miyazaki – famous for being the director on Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne – does get it right.

It’s sometimes fun to play the villain, to get a bit evil, to cause a bit of chaos, and, as the recent popularity of Deadpool has shown, antiheroes are pretty cool too. But Sean Cleaver took a look at antiheroes, and perhaps they’re not all we think they are in definition.

In her fifth talk on the Psychogeography of Games, Hannah Nicklin spoke of her time with Ed Key (the one-man-band of Twisted Tree Games) in Cumbria, and how it has influenced how he works as a developer. If you want to read up on Ed Key’s work, you can do so on the Twisted Tree Games website. For the text version of this talk, click here for it over on Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

With a bit of classical literature , Daniel Nye Griffiths took a look at how games represent death. Or rather, how they take some very different perspectives on death – such as the eponymous ‘protagonist’ from Dante’s Inferno just killing everyone.

Rounding out VideoBrains October was Alice Bell, on why she just hates children in games. To her, there’s a negative correlation between how good a game is and how many children there are. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, they’ll just drag you down.

Phew! We’re really happy to get these talks out to you, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed them all! Our next event is in just 1 week, and tickets are running out, so get yours before it’s too late! VideoBrains February: Mount Your Friends features Cara Ellison, Ashley Brown, Alice Bell, James Wallis, Benjamin Maltz-Jones and Rob Morgan, so come on down for talks like “Sex in Games is Fucked” and “Sex in a Box”! What could be better?

If you want to support us even more and just make us love you, you can you support us through our Patreon page too!


The Epilogue – VideoBrains January: Final Fight

The VideoBrains event train is rattling on into 2016, and our first event of the year went fantastically well, despite some rather wet weather. We even had some prizes to give away for those attending, thanks to one of our fantastic speakers! So, for those of you looking to either experience VideoBrains January: Final Fight through your screen or remember how utterly phenomenal it was, here’s your Epilogue!

Starting off 2016, and ending her time as an interlude for our new resident speaker to join us, Kate Gray spoke about beginnings. She also began her talk with a slide that caused a lot of debate over quite how explicit it was generic viagra pas cher. Might want to consider this one as being mature content. 

The Witness came out recently and, in the buildup to it, William Pugh gave us an insightful look at the game. By insightful, we mean everything said here should be taken with a mountain of salt. Despite what it seems like, there are no The Witness spoilers here!

Apparently, dating games based on the Japanese ganguro fashion trend can be used as an interesting insight into the mind of the men’s rights activist. Grant Howitt analysed what exactly made Ganguro Girl a mess, as well as pointed out the strange logical steps the player takes to flirt with his desired woman. Apparently, knocking back beers permanently increases your charm.

Mary Hamilton decided to give us her incomplete list of things that can get fucked, with “beating games” standing right at the top. Games need to respect our time as well as understand that there’s more than one way to enjoy them, and that doesn’t just mean getting to the credits screen.

Many of you will have either seen games being exhibited at events or done it yourselves, and David King wanted to give you 10 bits of advice for showing off games in the best manner possible. While it mostly gives advice for those looking to exhibit work personally, it’s an interesting insight into how to present a game in the best manner possible!

Darren Daley, from indie game studio Kinaetron, closed out VideoBrains January on-theme with a talk about the mechanics of fighting games. He spoke about how the details in a game like Bayonetta make it feel far better to play, as well as how fighting games like Street Fighter actually work, looking at different types of hitboxes and how they’re used.

That wraps it up for VideoBrains January: Final Fight! Hopefully that’s inspired you to get your tickets for our next event – VideoBrains February: Mount Your Friends. As you might have guessed from the title, it’s all about love and sex, so expect a whole heap of innuendos, as well as our next resident speaker, Rob Morgan, giving his first in a series of talks over the next 6 months!

You can buy tickets for VideoBrains February here, and if you’d like to give us a little extra support, consider helping us out on Patreon!

Thanks, and hopefully we’ll see you at our next event!

The Epilogue – ChristmasBrains 2: ChristmasBrains Harder

‘twas the night of ChristmasBrains, when all through the bar,

everyone was chatting, with speakers from afar.

People had been working round the clock,

just to prepare for their talk.


I’m no poet.

It’s time for the ChristmasBrains 2: ChristmasBrains Harder Epilogue. Bigger, better, and with more mince pies than ever before. There were a lot of them. Far more importantly, though, we had 10 fantastic talks to round off 2015! They’ve all been recorded for your viewing pleasure, enjoy!


Breath of Fire III was Thryn Henderson’s first love. It also broke her heart. Twice. Since playing it as Adult Thryn rather than Tiny Thryn, with the harsh light that years of experience gives, it was clearly a very different game to the dragon-filled adventure she remembered. But then, “it’s not about the story: it’s about being the dragon”.

Ed Smith took to the stage to deliver an argument at ChristmasBrains: videogames need more violence. Not just that, though, videogames need to do their violence well. He argued that violence shouldn’t just be used as a way to advance the story, but one that can “give games teeth”. Ed put up some notes on his talk on his website, in case any of you want a look at what thoughts went into it!

Drawing on the differing opinions of Aristotle and Oscar Wilde of whether art imitates life or life imitates art, Thomas McMullan looked at life imitating games. Growing up with point and click titles, sometimes seeing a friend can be like an interaction in Grim Fandango. It can help organise a chaotic world, even if you can’t use banana peels to get past a bouncer in real life. Thomas wrote a piece on his talk for Alphr, which you can check out here!



One of Jordan Erica Webber’s favourite games – her favourite game of 2015, in fact – is Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker. One of the best, if not the top dog, dating games, it’s much more than just a simulation for getting people together. With a little bit of abstract design, it mimics the terrors of dating, which the player has to get around with their clients. Did it make Jordan better at dating? You’ll have to match her to find out – she’s a level 17 romance overlord, and she doesn’t date down.



George Buckenham wants to explain a joke to you. This joke is over 2 decades old. What is that joke? “If only you could talk to the monsters, ah, now wouldn’t that be something?” It may be pretty silly to many, but perhaps that joke has a little more depth than it seems.

Working with what he had by describing his slides, after the curse of VideoBrains technical difficulties fell upon this talk, Mike Bithell got all theatre buff on us with Bertolt Brecht, a 20th century director and playwright. Brecht had intent in everything he did – something to do or say – and perhaps games should take a leaf out of his book.

In the Christmas spirit, Adriel Wallick took the time to rapidly rewrite the talk “Lessons Learned From A Year of Constant Jamming” into “Games as Gifts”, a look into how games can be both given as gifts or made as gifts. Being a talented developer and someone who enjoys making gifts, Adriel’s even made some small games specifically for certain people. Sharing is caring, folks!

Rami Ismail is part of the team behind Nuclear Throne, and wanted to part with 3 bits of knowledge from its development. In some parts it’s practical, in others it’s just plain cruel. If you’ve played Nuclear Throne, chances are you can guess why Rami gets angry emails about it.

British games development grew in strange and mysterious ways, many of which we won’t ever hear about, but Kieron Gillen tried to show us just that bit more about it, about the history that was written by the losers. Of course, he had to get his opinion of Edge in there too.


In the first of her talks as interim resident speaker, Kate Gray rounded off ChristmasBrains 2, and our 2015, with her talk ‘The End’. The end can be great, it can suck, or it can be, well, just that. An ending.


That’s all from ChristmasBrains 2: ChristmasBrains Harder! What a shame. But that’s no problem, because tickets for VideoBrains January: Final Fight are on sale now! 6 fantastic speakers, including Kate Gray’s followup talk ‘Beginnings’ and perhaps a few prizes in store! Get your tickets before it’s too late.

In case you want to give a little more, you can check out our Patreon page. Or just spread the wonderful word of VideoBrains to the masses!

The Epilogue – The Castle Doctrine

The Epilogue returns for VideoBrains November: The Castle Doctrine! This was Hannah Nicklin’s final talk as resident speaker, but fear not, as our next resident speaker has been announced! It’s Rob Morgan, who’ll be starting his residency in February 2016. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about him, you can check out his website or his Twitter. He’s even given a few talks for us before, which you can view on our YouTube channel.

A castle is a home to somebody, and Helen decided to talk about her homes. Not her real ones, though, the ones she made in Minecraft. There’s no plastering the walls or worrying about how you’re going to get that sofa up those stairs when you’re building your home in Minecraft, and what you make can say a lot about you. I make a lot of log cabins, clearly because I’m all warm and cozy inside.

It’s tough to look back on a game you love and realise it’s pretty rubbish, but that’s what Nick’s talk was about. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is an odd title, receiving generally good reviews, but in hindsight, did it deserve them? It’s been 8 years since the game was released, and we’ve all grown up a bit since then.

It’s a great shame that we’ll be losing Hannah as our resident speaker – we try to make sure each resident speaker is unique in some way, and I don’t think anyone could replicate the style of talks she has given. Her final talk on the psychogeography of games was with Llaura Dreamfeel, who is talking at ChristmasBrains 2! You can check out Llaura’s work over on her website, and Hannah’s, as always, written up a slightly edited version of the talk over on Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

We’d like to thank Hannah for all of her fantastic talks, as well as you lot for supporting her. In case you want to follow whatever she does in the future, you can check out her Twitter, website, or Patreon!

In a somewhat impromptu talk, we had a VideoBrains first this month: a talk about films! Grant gave a hilarious synopsis of the classic The Fast and The Furious series, and gave perhaps one of the best lines we’ve ever had at VideoBrains

This talk was based on something Grant had written for his site Look, Robot, and you can give it a read here!

Coming from her perspective working on GameHub HQ, a site which aims to teach parents about games and if certain ones have anything that might be deemed inappropriate for children, we had the founder of GameHub HQ to speak about how parents need the information as well as the children. When marketing a game, it’s important to make sure that you’re making it relevant and clear to the parents as well as the kids!

When you’ve got “Bearmageddon” in the title of a talk, you’re onto a winner. Thryn had to endure the greatest battle the Earth has ever seen – human versus bear – in The Long Dark. When moving from house to house, clearing out supplies and doing her best to survive, an encounter with a bear turned Thryn’s experience in the house into one in a home.

To finish off this VideoBrains, we had our very own Jake Tucker take to the microphone and give a talk based on a popular piece he wrote previously for Vice. It’s a story of how Jake began to eat everyone in Fallout: New Vegas. Everyone. It’s “good, solid meat” according to him. Not sure if I can agree, but I’m not the one who has eaten hundreds of people. He’s clearly the expert here. It even got onto a deep philosophical question: is cannibalising a cannibal like eating a turducken?

If you’d like to read the original piece this talk was based on, give it a look here!

Normally I’d plug our next event here, but we’re sold out! Instead, you can take a look at our Patreon page, or follow us on Twitter for some more updates when tickets are available for our first event of 2016 in January.

Thanks! Hopefully we’ll be seeing some of you this weekend, for ChristmasBrains 2: ChristmasBrains Harder!