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!

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