If you have even a passing interest in video games (and we assume that you do, since you have found yourselves here), then you probably will have heard of Did You Know Gaming? Since its launch in 2012, the trivia-focused website and YouTube channel has amassed a huge following, showcasing little-known facts and uncovering lost games that never saw the light of day. Now, the team is turning its attention towards another type of project altogether: a tabletop card game.
Do You Know Gaming?, a collaboration between the DYKG team and Lost in Cult, is a dungeon-crawling trivia game with a 1980s ‘big box’ feel. On a basic level, the card game lets you choose a character — each of whom has their own special abilities such as health bonuses, increased inventory space etc. — and set out on a quest to collect four Relics. Along the way, you’ll encounter monsters who can be damaged by answering gaming trivia questions of varying difficulty, collect loot and take on final bosses. If it sounds like a video game in card form, that’s because it is.
With the game now over 50% funded and available to pre-order, we were lucky enough to sit down with Daniel “Dazz” Loyall Brown and Greg S-C — two of the folks behind the DYKG channel and upcoming card game — to hear about the game’s design process, their inspirations and what goes into making a Did You Know Gaming? YouTube video. We’ve also got a couple of exclusive looks at a few Nintendo-themed cards for Do You Know Gaming?
Our discussion covered everything from puns to pixel art to… ham? Yes, ham. We hope you enjoy!
Nintendo Life: Let’s start with the big question: where did the idea for Do You Know Gaming? come from?
Daniel “Dazz” Lyall Brown: I can’t remember where it actually was now, but we were at a convention and John [Doyle] from Lost in Cult approached us. We were selling our book, Region Locked, so he kind of came along, had a look at it and went, “The writing’s good, everything else not so great”. That was all done by another company called Unbound, and he basically obliterated all of their editing work right in front of us. And we were like, I respect this guy. This guy is happy to just tell us to our faces how much he doesn’t like the work that we didn’t do. So we were happy to hear it.
We also run a website called VGFacts, and I thought that we wanted to make some physical products because people enjoy the physicality of it. I was thinking of kind of trivia cue cards… just bits of gaming trivia on a card that you can flick through and there’s a piece of trivia. Or a calendar or something where you get a piece of trivia every day. John was like, “Lost in Cult has a kind of card game that they release a little bit of with every issue” — I don’t know what to call it, it’s like a book series they do. And he basically said, “Why don’t we actually make a game?”
We wanted to make something that had some personality and, being British, puns are the best way of injecting personality into anything, right?
So me and Greg were like, “hell yeah”. We’ve always wanted to make a game. We love tabletop card games, we play them all the time. And it basically went from there. We started to expand on ideas and try to put some more creative flair on it, rather than just making a sort of Trivial Pursuit — no character to it whatsoever, just questions. We gave it a little bit of personality.
Greg S-C: You’ve got all these trivia games — there are so many trivia games — but whenever they include video game questions (and this is true of TV shows and everything), it’s really weak source questions about video games, for the most part. It’s like, “What colour is Super Mario?” There are no actual video game trivia games, you know? It’s much more common to have passing movie trivia knowledge but not video game trivia knowledge, I guess. So we thought, why not?
Dazz: We go for coffee every now and then and a random person will start a conversation with us. They’ll hear that we’re talking about video games and then they’ll start talking to us about video games. These are people that you might not expect to talk about video games, but it’s a huge medium, which is now far wider encompassing than it ever was. Yet there aren’t really any dedicated games about games that aren’t simply video games. We thought there was a big gap in the market there for people who want to test their knowledge with friends in a competitive sense, but all of the questions are entry-level. It’s a niche, but it’s a dedicated niche, you know?
Also, we thought we wanted to play it, so…
That’s always a plus! So, what was it that inspired you to go down this route of role-playing tabletop instead of something that potentially could have been a little easier, like trivia cards, as you were suggesting?
Greg: It just sort of developed that way. It’s kind of hard to describe because the more stuff we came up with, the more we thought, “Well, how is it not just gonna be people answering questions? What do you actually do? What is the board game of it?”
Obviously, it [Do You Know Gaming?] was inspired by the likes of The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls and Munchkin, they both have quite similar mechanics in a lot of ways, but it just kind of came about naturally. It just sort of evolved when we were talking to Lost in Cult about what we could do and it just went from there. We just had more and more ideas for these kinds of wacky puns on video games and it became, “Oh, well these could be our items, and these could be monsters you battle”.
Dazz: I think the puns were the initial idea. We wanted to make something that had some personality and, being British, puns are the best way of injecting personality into anything, right? Over time we kept coming up with stupid ideas and we were like, “That’s actually pretty funny, let’s put it in”.
Greg: Gamer-centric references, right?
Dazz: Yeah, exactly. Because if we’re gonna make a game that is a dedicated game our audience can answer the questions to, we also want them to pick up on the humour by being able to recognise it. As we are pretty hardcore gamers, we thought that there’s no limit to what we can include there.
We’re jumping ahead a bit here, but do each of you have a favourite pun card?
Dazz: I’m a big fan of ‘Calamity Gammon,’ but I realised that Americans don’t have gammon, so…
Greg: They don’t call it that, I don’t think.
Dazz: Yeah, so it may go over a few heads but I think that some of the other ones maybe will also do that, but we’ll see. Genuinely, I didn’t know that they didn’t call it gammon until we put the card out and everyone went, “what’s that?”
Is it just a ham? This is news to me as well.
Greg: It is just ham, but their ham is weird. [American] bacon is different too, right? Because they have like a ham, which is like just a big… yeah I don’t know.
Moving away from American meat, what about you, Greg? Do you have a favourite pun card?
Greg: There’s quite a lot. We’ve got one that’s razor wire but with RGB lighting. I like that one.
Dazz: I also just remembered the ‘Phoenix Gown,’ which is like a gown made out of Phoenix feathers.
The cards we’ve seen so far look very nice indeed. We’ve spoken a bit about your favourite pun, but do you guys have a favourite card in terms of ability?
Greg: There are some cool ones. In terms of ability, there’s one which is basically the more damage you take the more damage you deal, so even if you’re failing badly, you can still do more damage. And there’s a character who has a similar mechanic, so if you get those two together, you can risk letting your health get really low to deal massive damage.
about 200 of our questions were too hard
Dazz: One of my favourites was the ‘Sportsmanship’ card. You can use it in two different ways: so it’s ‘GLHF’ beforehand and ‘GG’ afterwards and you get a different reward based on how you use the sportsmanship.
Greg: Oh I found this one, it’s called the ‘N-Rage,’ and it’s like the N-Gage. Do you remember that sick phone that nobody wanted? What else have we got? ‘The Gigantic Sword of Overcompensation’ is one that’s very close to my heart. It just adds further damage, but it’s just what you always think when you look at these f***ing comically oversized weapons.
We’ve got the ‘Warrior’s Keyboard’ as well. That’s just additional damage and then additional damage to humans as well. [The card] says, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but scathing internet comments hurt forever.”
Dazz: There’s another one that’s a monster which is the ‘T-Poser’. He’s just pretending to like video games because he’s a poser, right? But every time you answer a question, you have to T-pose when you deliver your answer, otherwise it doesn’t count.
Going back to what you said about making a game that is specifically for hardcore gamers, but also one that everyone can play, I notice the cards have varying levels of difficulty for different hit points. Could you talk a little bit about the process behind coming up with those different difficulty levels? Was it hard to do or is it something that came quite naturally?
Dazz: It was very, very hard. So, you pick a playable character and your choice dictates how difficult the overall RPG element of the game will be, as well as the questions. But then the questions are also categorised in difficulty.
You know how people are with their video game knowledge, some people just blow you away
When we first made the game, we just wrote down any questions. Turns out, about 200 of our questions were too hard. So we were like, “Okay, we’ll just push those aside and make a way, way easier mode”. Now we’re at that stage where we’re going through them and trying to work out if that’s an easy question, a medium question, or a hard question. Or is that an impossible question? It’s a very fine balance of trying to work out is this going to be too easy for someone who’s going to know everything on the hard level, or is it going to be too hard for people who are on the easier level?
We’re going to constantly be adjusting it as we get more feedback. A lot of it is based on what we think people might know. More common, popular franchises will be easier questions, that kind of thing.
Greg: Right. Like “What colour is Mario’s hat?” We realise that when people think ‘easy,’ it’s got to be like passing knowledge of games. That’s an easy question.
Dazz: Yes. Someone who doesn’t really spend time playing games will probably still have heard about the thing.
Greg: Yeah, we pretty quickly realised that when you know the answer to things, they are much more obvious to you. It seems like “Oh everyone knows that, right?”
Dazz: We hosted a pub quiz with a bunch of our questions just to see how many people got them right and wrong. About 50% of our questions, no one got right. We realised that maybe we shouldn’t have a question specifically about “What race of character in Alundra does this thing?” There are probably only about 50 people in the UK who know what Alundra is, so it might be quite hard.
Greg: Eventually, assuming [Do You Know Gaming?] does well, we might release an extra hard mode for people who still think it’s too easy. You know how people are with their video game knowledge, some people just blow you away. They remember everything we have ever put in a video!
we wanted to make it so there was a reason to replay [the game]
Dazz: When we announced the game, we were like [to our audience], “Why don’t you guys ask us some questions that we might not know?” And they were pulling out stuff like “What are the names of the three bosses from Dark Souls?” or whatever. And it’s like, okay, they’re not real names for a start and there’s no way I’m going to memorise those from like 15 years ago, you know?
What’s nice to see though is that, with this system, you’ve managed to make a game that everyone is going to be able to play. So often these trivia games are built on the person that has the knowledge compared to the other players who are clueless on the subject.
Dazz: Right. When it comes to playing a video game, you have a handicap level, so you can play a fighting game against somebody and if you know all the moves, you give yourself lower health, you give them more health, that kind of thing, to try and balance it so you can both enjoy the experience. When you play a tabletop game with people, you never get that option. It’s very much a video game mechanic. So if we could incorporate that, that would kind of sink in the theme a little bit more.
Greg: That’s why we’ve sort of tried to do it twofold. You can pick characters that have higher health, or they can hold more items so you can have more cards in your hand and you have more opportunities to get stuff wrong. Even then, you can answer easier questions as well. You’ve just got many more safety nets. And if you think you’re good, or if you want to make it more challenging for yourself, there are options where you can only get one answer wrong and then you die. Stuff like that.
Dazz: I don’t know if we’re allowed to mention this, but we wanted to make it so there was a reason to replay [the game]. So we have a thing in there that gives you a reason to play it multiple times over to try and do this thing that I can’t say.
Intriguing, very intriguing. It sounds like this is a tabletop game that is so very much inspired by and so deeply ingrained in video games which isn’t something that you normally tend to see.
Dazz: There was one card game I saw, I never played it, but it was like an 8-bit video game aesthetic, though it wasn’t really about the video game industry. It was just themed by video games. And that’s a cool idea, but we want to talk about the medium, not just reference the medium. And so I think it all kind of plays together where you can take those mechanics from games and apply it to a quiz. It goes both ways.
Having said that you don’t just want to reference the medium, this is a game that’s absolutely jam-packed full of references from every game and mechanic under the sun. How did you decide what would make the cut? Because this is a big old medium that you’re pulling from.
Dazz: That’s the difficult part. When it comes to asking questions, you don’t want to just ask ones that you know. My personal experience with video games is not going to be the same as everyone else. So we have to make sure that we’re giving it a broad stroke to make sure that we’re encompassing everyone’s general interest in video games. It can be referencing specific games, but we need to make sure that they’re games people have played.
I can’t praise the games that we’ve included enough
I think we’ve been quite selective with some stuff. Me and Greg have come up with like 500 cards in total, but we’ve cut away about 300 because it’s just us talking s**t and it doesn’t really have any ground in anything. It’s just us trying to come up with funny ideas that don’t really work.
And what about some of the indie collaborations that you’ve got? So far we’ve seen Cult of the Lamb, we’ve seen A Short Hike, can you tell us about any other ones, or if not, how exciting was it for you guys to be able to get those involved?
Dazz: I’ve played a lot of the games that we’re including. I haven’t played all of them because, again, Lost in Cult are also involved and we wanted to make sure that they had some involvement in games that they felt would fit well.
I can’t praise the games that we’ve included enough. We listed more that we would want to reach out to, but we kind of cut it down to ones that we personally enjoy and we would love to work with.
Greg: And those that we can do justice, you know what I mean?
Dazz: There are some games that we wanted to include, but we couldn’t really think of anything that would work.
Greg: Because you have to be able to make something that their more dedicated fans will really recognize and like be able to relate to.
Dazz: Even from the personal perspective of being able to work with [the developers] and collaborate on a concept for a card and get their feedback. It’s a really nice feeling to know that the thing that we hold in such high regard can give us feedback to improve their injection into the game. I feel like it plays off a lot better than if we were to just reference them.
So it’s not just about slapping some character art on a card and being done with it. My final question about the game in general is, like we’ve said, this card game is a turn-based dungeon crawler, are there any games (card, video or otherwise) that inspired the mechanics that you’ve implemented into this?
Greg: Diablo II is the single greatest game of all time.
Dazz: Yeah, we’d be lying if we didn’t say that Diablo II is where it’s happening.
Greg: I’m a big dungeon-crawler, ARPG aficionado. So, for me, as soon as it started getting into the dungeon-crawler realm, I was like, “Okay, I think I know where to go with this stuff.”
Dazz: I would say that the product is inspired by 1980s dungeon crawler games like Wizardry. So you’ve got the first-person perspective crawling through the dungeon, enemies pop up, that kind of thing. We wanted to go with that aesthetic rather than a predictable pixel-art game. That [style] makes it look like a video game, but then it doesn’t necessarily need to.
Greg: I guess it’s like “video game signalling,” I guess you’d call it. Luckily, we’ve got Stephen Graham doing the artwork and he’s so good. He’s bringing this really interesting aesthetic to it, where I think he’s really captured that late-’80s big box game aesthetic.
But some of the newer cards look so good. The aesthetic isn’t uniform, it’s just diverse. There’s amazing pixel art out there, but it’s kind of typical. You think video games, you think pixel art, when, in the grand scheme of things, pixel art probably makes up a minority of video games at this point.
Dazz: Because I have a background in pixel art — I used to work as a pixel artist and I also run The Spriters Resource — everything I do involves some element of pixel art and I felt like I wanted to move into seeing something else.
I see pixel art when it comes to video games all the time. It’s the only way to, as Greg said, “signal” video games. And I think that that’s not really fair on video games, because pixel art was just the only option for a long time.
Just for the last couple of minutes, I was wondering if I could move on to talk about the channel itself. Can you talk a little bit about the process of making a Did You Know Gaming video and trying to find these lesser-known topics?
Dazz: A lot of it comes down to information that’s already publicly available, but people have just kind of skimmed over and ignored. We talk about a lot of old games; people don’t typically read new material about old games and not many people go back and read old magazines. So a lot of the time we look at English-released mediums like magazines here, but then we’ll also look at Japanese stuff that was never translated. There are loads of interviews where they might have a little comment about something, so we’ll then dive into that and see if they’ve ever spoken about it again to give it a little bit more depth and to try to flesh it out.
Nintendo somehow churns out so many games and, most of the time, they’re relatively new and interesting
A lot of it is down to what we are intrigued by. We casually read through these magazines and get them translated. A lot of the time it’s previous journalism, but then we also contact the people that we are talking about to get new information from them.
Typically, there’s an unwritten statute of limitations. It’s not a good idea for a developer to share loads of secrets just as a game has come out. But something that came out 30 years ago, they feel like they can get away with it now.
A lot of your content is Nintendo-based. What is it that draws you back to this company, its systems, and its games?
Dazz: They’re always good, basically. There’s been a handful of bad Nintendo games, but it’s easy to say that in the industry, they are the titans.
Greg: The consistency to volume is pretty good for Nintendo. A lot of companies like EA have volume but they don’t have consistency. And like Sony, they’ve got consistency but they don’t have volume. But Nintendo somehow churns out so many games and, most of the time, they’re relatively new and interesting despite being the same intellectual property.
Dazz: I think the other thing about Nintendo franchises is that they’re quite fleshed out. On top of that, people go back and play classic Nintendo games, but not many people go back and play, like, Ratchet and Clank. You might as well play the newest one because it’s just a better version.
Greg: Except the speedrunners! Someone’s got to keep Ratchet and Clank alive! [Laughs]
Dazz: I think with Nintendo, there is a nostalgia to it, but at the same time, it just holds up. It’s incredibly impressive how one company can have a product that came out 35 years ago and people will still want to play it because it’s still the pinnacle of that genre.
When you’re choosing topics for videos are you looking at things that you guys are genuinely interested in?
Dazz: Most of the time, I’d say. Every now and then, it’s based on our audience. Personally, I have never really been into Pikmin, but Pikmin 4 came out and it’s incredibly good and everyone loves it. So I would find more interest in it as a result of the broader gaming topic rather than the specific game. I think that you can learn a lot of lessons from individual cases that will apply to a broader spectrum, and Nintendo games work well for that because of the variety of presentation, gameplay, and everything else. It just has a lot more going on for you to be able to dive into.
Finally, there’s been a lot of mind-blowing facts that you guys have unearthed. What, in your opinion, has been your biggest scoop? What’s the one that you guys are the proudest of?
Dazz: I would say the Sheik game. That obviously had a huge impact, not just because the information was super interesting — no one’s really ever heard about it, and we had the first scoop on it — but at the same time, it was the reaction of the audience. That was a moment where we realised the impact that our asking of questions could have.
We’re now in a position where we are a recognised name, where there’s a sense of confidence that we’re going to present information with some faith. We’re not going to just take that and then s**t all over it. Even if it’s a game that I wouldn’t ever play, the fact that it existed was particularly interesting.
Greg: Yeah, I think that’s probably at least the most notorious. The Russian Pokémon one is probably my second pick, just because Dr. Lava had a lot to do with those.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. Hearing the two of you speak so passionately about the game is fantastic.
Dazz: When we made our book, Region Locked, we worked with Unbound. They make books, they don’t do video games, so a lot of the stuff that we were showing them, we got nothing, while we felt super passionate about it. Lost in Cult is super passionate about video games as well, so it just feels like such a nice environment to share that passion.
This interview has been likely edited for clarity.
Our thanks to Dazz, Greg and everyone at Did You Know Gaming. Do You Know Gaming? is now available to pre-order from Lost in Cult and is currently expected to ship in Q4 2024.