021 : To Purple Cow or Not to Purple Cow? That is the Question

(Some information was lost. Someone keeps hacking the site. Apologies, I think)

So he asked, “Are you still a fan of the Purple Cow?” Game dev students were asking the same question, from Virginia to Detroit. It’s a simple question, without a simple answer. This episode gets zen on Purple Cows, via three of my heroes: Will Wright, Jonathan Blow, and Ira Glass.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YouTube!

  • Purple Cow
  • What about Not Original?
  • Originality is Hard
  • The Bubble – New Ideas

The Game Design Zen Podcast is the intersection of games, life, and the pursuit of excellence. It is the #1 resource for Game developers, artists, and designers including the art, science, and business of developing better games. Level up to zen!

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6 comments
RajatVijay
RajatVijay

it's just a constant thought-provoker and inspiration. So yea, thanks!

BrianSchroeder
BrianSchroeder

I love your Pod Casts!  I have already listened to all of them twice.  I would also love to see more of these but I know it is a lot of work.  I just published my first app, Pop Happy by Sweet Pea Games, on Google Play after being inspired by Episode 6 and your app Tap Happy.

Thank you so much for producing these.

I did have 1 question but I don't know if this site is still being monitored.  I love the concept about not telling anyone about a game that you are developing to keep that drive to work on it.  How do you handle getting feedback during development though?  I am on a Facebook group called Indie Game Developers where people are always soliciting feedback on a work in progress which can be valuable.  I was curious as to your thoughts on this.

Thank you again.

Wihtman
Wihtman

When are more podcasts coming from Game Design Zen?  I started listening to these on my drive between North Carolina and New York (from graduate school up to visit my girlfriend), and I have to say that your podcasts are fantastic.  I love that you dive into the science of what makes games work (plus business and life).  Your narratives are always interesting because of how researched and knowledgeable you are, not just opinionated like a few other podcasts on game design that I listen to on the drive.  I wanted to comment after listening to episode 11; I was driving through Virginia when you mentioned that you live in Virginia.  I thought it was hilarious serendipity, especially since I have been designing games in my spare time for years now wanting to know more about the science of what makes us enjoy games. 

I know life, family, work, and our own other endeavors make maintaining a podcast a challenge, and the work you've put out so far has been fantastic (even if some may disagree with you as I've noticed in reviews or other comments, everyone is allowed their own voice in the conversation).  I will enjoy listening to Game Design Zen again, replaying episodes when I need a Zen moment and some realizations in life, and I hope to discover some more releases from you in the future. 

ThomasKeys
ThomasKeys

This summer, I decided that I finally wanted to beat Persons 4, and to make the dungeons more fun, I'll listen to this podcast while I grind through them. I've been a big extra credits fan and was looking for that style of video in podcast form, and I was extremely happy to discover game design zen. You're podcast has helped me a ton with the game that I'm working on. I think it would be cool if you sometimes did an in depth analysis of any particular game (You might already have some, I'm only on episode 9). Keep up the good work, I can't wait for more episodes!

evybenita
evybenita

Hey hey! I just discovered your Podcast today, and I absolutely love it. I listen to it after class while working on my projects, and it's just a constant thought-provoker and inspiration. So yea, thanks!

BingoBob
BingoBob

First of all Myst and Destination: Treasure Island are games exactly like Witness. About a month ago when I first saw a trailer for The Witness I thought oh cute some one reskinned Myst.

I've been bingeing on you podcasts all week. I'd say I agree with you on everything up to this point. I understand the purple cows meaning a little differently. Maybe it is meant to be internalized individually, So I'll share with you how I see the purple cow. 

Lets start with a practical application of a purple cow. So lets go back in time to an era where you may have needed to go to a market of sorts to get milk from the farmers.  As a farmer how would you market your milk differently? Well lets imagine that this farmer had a great Idea to paint his cow Purple and march it right into the market square for everyone to see. Now he will attract everyone's attention. everyone will want to try the milk from the purple cow. and all this clever farmer did was take what was already out there and reskin it. Yes I still think that The Witness is a purple cow but not for the same reasons that you do. they were just clever enough to take an obscure forgotten genre and reskin it. So I would submit to you that League and WOW are Purple cows also. The Purple cow isn't being unique, Its giving the illusion of being unique.