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Dreaming up new online video game ideas

Jason Krupat says GSN tries to make games that offer brief, fun escapes.
Jason Krupat says GSN tries to make games that offer brief, fun escapes. Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe

There’s a lot more that goes into an online video game than meets the eye. Behind the slash, bang, and pow are complex engineering and intricate design to create texture, animation, and sounds.

Jason Krupat, 38, is the mastermind behind the games launched by GSN (Game Show Network), a multimedia entertainment company with offices in Waltham and creator of the online Wheel of Fortune. Krupat, GSN’s game director, conceptualizes the games. He dreams up the type of play that will take place, the features it will include, and how the game will use the technology on a particular platform, be it a smartphone or desktop computer.


One of your most successful ventures was the creation of Oodles, a virtual currency system with redeemable rewards. What was your thinking behind Oodles?

I had to figure out how to make redeeming Oodles for various prizes more fun, engaging, and “sticky’’ - ways to get people to come back frequently and play more games.

What is it that makes playing games, such as GSN Casino, which you also helped create, so fun?

An online casino game is fast, fun entertainment that is easy to understand and play. It doesn’t require a lot of skill and delivers a sense of achievement. You can hear success and see it. I want to deliver the “sweaty palm factor,’’ where every pull of the slot machine makes you feel hopeful, because you don’t know what will happen next.

How do you come up with new game ideas?

I’m one of those people who keeps a notebook beside their bed. I can’t say what will spark a concept - it might be something I saw or heard on the radio or TV, or a dream I had.

Did you ever create a game that flopped?


Two to three years ago, we didn’t know how to take advantage of all the social channels, so we needed to sunset the first version of Dumbville, because it didn’t catch on. In Dumbville, you tackle quirky questions and puzzles to rise through the ranks.

Are you trying to create games that are addicting?

That’s not our objective. People tend to use our games as escapism, playing them in short three-to-five minute bursts.

How old were you when you created your first game?

I invented my first game when I was 5 or 6 years old, drawing it with crayons on a piece of cardboard. It’s a standard roll-the-dice and move around the board. My parents gushed over it before they saw that the main goal was to extract money from them.