Video: 20 lessons learned from 20 years of making Magic: The Gathering

"Not a lot of people design the same game for twenty years," said venerable Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater in his GDC 2016 game design talk. "Not a lot of games last twenty years."
  • "Fighting human nature is a losing battle."
  • "Don't confuse 'interesting' with 'fun.'"
  • "If everyone likes your game, but no one loves it, it will fail."

These are just a few of the many lessons veteran Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater has learned in the more than twenty years since he joined Wizards of the Coast in 1995 to work on Magic. 

"Not a lot of people design the same game for twenty years," said Rosewater at GDC earlier this year. "Not a lot of games last twenty years."

Rosewater was speaking as part of a smart, engaging presentation at GDC 2016 about twenty of the important game design lessons he's learned in his time on Magic: The Gathering.

The card game has influenced a generation of game makers across all mediums, and Rosewater's game design advice is applicable to many contemporary video games. If you missed his talk in person, you should take this opportunity to watch the whole thing for free via the official GDC YouTube channel.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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