Blog With Joe

October 17, 2022

Good Debugging is Like Magic

I was prompted to write this by a conversation with a friend I had about debugging in general. These are two stories from my early days as a programmer. They both illustrate the point that good debugging is like a Magic Trick. It’s really amazing until you explain how it was done. Story 1: I was working at my first programming job at a bank in Albany NY. I came in one day and the other 3 programmers were all working on trying to solve a crash from the night before. This is in the […]
April 17, 2018

Gathering 4 Gardner 13

So this is Martin Gardner. He died almost 8 years ago but he affected so many lives that a gathering in his honor is held once every two years. At this year’s Gathering 4 Gardner 13, I was fortunate enough to be one of the 325 folks to attend. Martin wrote the Scientific American Mathematical Games column for 25 years as well as many other books on a wide variety of topics, all of which resonate with me. Whether it’s recreational mathematics, puzzles, magic, skepticism, annotations, cryptography or even biography; I benefited greatly from seeing […]
March 25, 2018

The Magic of GDC – A Tale of 3 Stories

Story #1 – Mac & Cheese A few years ago, I walked by a booth at the Expo and it netted me close to $30K. I was just strolling around the GDC-Expo floor when two girls said to me – “You look like a game developer”. Yep, I sure do. Shorts, T-Shirt with a funny slogan on it and a bit overweight (definitely old-school looking (but no beard)). “I am”, I said (Thank You Neil Diamond), and they asked “What do you do?” I told them I created games for the Casual PC Download Market […]
October 10, 2016

SIEGE 2016: Serendipity In Events Gamers Envision

After SIEGE 2014, I wrote a blog entitled: SIEGE 2014: Don’t Judge This Book by It’s Cover. This is it’s sequel, and as before, I will be using mostly code names for individuals and leave it as a puzzle for those reading this to figure out (if they feel like it). Before I get started, I was coming into SIEGE this year on a high from releasing Clutter VI and my team was all there at SIEGE at different points in time. If you met me, I’m sure I talked your ear off about how […]
July 5, 2016

Are You a Dabbler?

When someone tells me they’re “pretty good” at Ping Pong, I respond by asking this question: “Have you ever played 8 hours a day for 4 months in a row?” When they answer “no” to that question, I say, “Well then, you’re only fair.” That may sound harsh, or make me sound like a jerk, but I’ll stand by it. If you’ve never played ping-pong 8 hours a day for 4 months in a row, then odds are, I’m better than you. Now, it makes no difference if you’ve dabbled in Ping-Pong, but it makes […]
June 30, 2016

We are Indie…

For 6 years now, I’ve thought of myself as Indie, but I’ve been fooling myself. Going to ramble a bit. For all passengers safety, it is recommended that you buckle-up now for the rough ride ahead. It may be quite a while before we reach our destination. Now, first off, “indie” has a lot of different meanings depending on whom you ask. For myself even, it has different meanings based on context. When I first came to GA (summer 2010) and attended my first Game-Dev Meet-up, I considered everyone there “indie” because the word wasn’t […]
March 19, 2016

Ask the Next Question…

A person I just met at a GGDA meet-up asked if he could talk with me about my business and the games business in general. He’s a student that’s trying to decide between pursuing business application development or game development. Although some of his questions surprised me, I thought all of them were interesting and worth answering in this blog (that way, they’re out in the world for posterity). My answers are just MY answers. They should not be taken as gospel, other than they are my truthful answers at this point in time. I […]
September 10, 2015

The Magic of GDC

(Wrote this back in February but incorrectly posted it as a page where no one could reach it. Posting now but it’s really from March.) So 3 semi-quick GDC stories to provide the flavor of why I try to attend the GDC each year.
July 31, 2015

Slapping Things In

I just realized this morning that one of my favorite things is – the last couple of weeks tweaking and tuning my games before they ship. And it’s not really “polishing” like most people do right before shipping, because I try to “polish” as I go. It’s actually two different things:
June 8, 2015


This is a prelude to a horror novel, I started way, way back (I think the date in it was close to when I wrote it – 5/12/02). Enjoy.
February 9, 2015

Living in A Pretentious World

pre·ten·tious      pr??ten(t)SH?s adjective     attempting to impress by affecting importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed. ———- Here’s 10 signs we’re living in a pretentious world (and if I were pretentious, I’d point out that it’s also the same 10 signs of the apocalypse as well).
January 5, 2015

Succeeding in Games: A Blog to Myself

How do I break into the games business? How do I create successful games? How do I succeed in games? How do I make my own games (the ones I want to make)? How do I succeed as an artist/creator/designer? How do I get better at anything?
October 7, 2014

SIEGE 2014: You Can’t Judge This Book By It’s Cover

SIEGE 2014: You Can’t Judge This Book By It’s Cover
January 21, 2014

Love My Customers

First, I wasn’t sure what to title this. I just hit 50 sales and I wanted to take a moment just to tell my customers how happy it makes me to know that some people really enjoy the Clutter games.
January 15, 2014

10 Reasons I Still Love What I Do (not just progamming):

This could as easily been called “Why I Love Programming (now)” which I promised to write way back in “Why I Love Programming (then)” and “Why I love Programming (since then)”, but it’s a little more than programming so I’m doing the #1 writer’s cop-out and making a Top-10 list instead.
October 12, 2013

Clutter III – Updates and Questions Asked

First, I just got my 3rd Tip/Donation yesterday. Truly awesome (I obviously missed the 2nd Tip or I’m sure I would have blogged about that too). Also, I wanted to thank everyone who played the 1st Hour Playable Beta and provided feedback. Feedback is always appreciated and there were no big surprises there so I believe I’m on track for wrapping up Clutter III over the next 3-4 weeks. But, even if I was done today…it would take a month or even 2 for Big Fish to get it on it’s site.
October 1, 2013

The Modern Age

As the powers-that-be continue to disappoint, I’m forced to reflect on the upside of living in 2013 and the many ways that the wonders of modern technology continue to improve my life.
August 5, 2013

Review of “Designing Games” by Tynan Sylvester

I only have one complaint about this book…it ended. I wanted the author, Tynan Sylvester to go on for at least another 200 pages. Hopefully, one day, he’ll write one just talking about all the true and weird stuff that goes on in the games industry.
June 30, 2013

Awesome: My First Tip

Puzzles By Joe has existed since 2000. For my first 3.5 years, I made games mostly for myself that were both abstract and difficult. I made about $300 from about 6 different games by selling them directly through my website. Those games only ran in Windows and they were pure “puzzles”, no time was invested trying to make them “fun”.
June 29, 2013

Busy Times and Tidbits

I’m trying to push myself to get the 1st-Hour playable done in the next 2-3 weeks. And by done, I mean really, really done. That way, I can release it to my Beta testers and see what they think of Clutter III: Who is the Void?
June 21, 2013

Casual Connect 2013

It’s 5 and 1/2 weeks away but I’m getting excited about speaking at the Casual Connect in San Francisco at the end of July. I’ve never spoken at a conference and the Casual Connect is much smaller than the GDC, but I’ve already done a practice version of the talk at a local GGDA meet-up at DeVry university. There were over 50 people there and it seemed to go over well.
April 26, 2013

Will Mobile Games Kill The PC Casual Download Market?

Gamers, Hardcore, Casual, Social, Mobile, etc…
April 9, 2013

The GDC 2013

I’ve been back for over a week now, and once again I really suck at timely blogging.
March 22, 2013


Yep, The Game Developers Conference is next week.
March 22, 2013


March 15, 2013

In Your Eyes

March 12, 2013

BJ, EJ And You

January 20, 2013

The Magic of
A Completed Product

I’m active on many game developer boards and I hear this question all the time: How can I break into the game business? I hear it from aspiring programmers, artists and game designers. Other people offer other suggestions but my answer is always the same: Design a game and then go make it. Do whatever it takes to make a complete bug-free product.
October 23, 2012

Award Winning Chili Recipe

I made my first Chili on Sunday and it won 1st place in the 2012 4th Annual McEver Woods Chili Cook-Off. Yes, there were only 4 other entries but I’m still proud of my Chili.
September 27, 2012

So Why Harry Chapin???

I didn’t get enough of Harry a few days ago, so It’s another Harry kind of day.
September 23, 2012

On the Road To Kingdom Come
Harry Chapin

Just felt like sharing one of Harry Chapin’s great non-hits. Not one of his usual story songs. One of his later “protest”-songs when protest songs were tres passe.
May 11, 2012

Getting your idea in games developed.

In one of the many forums I keep up with someone asked the following: If you have a video game idea and wish for it to be developed, what are the best routes to take?
May 10, 2012

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question:

August 4, 2011

Clutter in Spain and/or
Genius in France

Spanish, German, French and Dutch.
July 31, 2011

The Perfect is the Enemy
of the Good (enough).

That’s a quote from Voltaire, and I’m just going to ramble on the pros and cons of that statement in regards to programming and games.
July 29, 2011

Everett Kaser’s
Logic and Puzzle Games

“Everett Kaser Software specializes in logic and puzzle games intended to stretch your mind, not the storage capacity of your hard disk or the speed of your CPU. If you like games that you can play, not just for weeks, but for years and years, and which require gray matter, not buckets of adrenaline and testosterone, you’ve found the right place.”
June 22, 2011

Twenty things I love about Weird Al Yankovic.

It’s a Weird-Al kind of day. I watched his new video a couple of days ago and I always forget how good he is. Some people gripe that he’s not musically original (even on songs that aren’t specific parodies of current hits), but check out Rob Paravan’s Pachebell rant and see how much original pop music isn’t that original.
June 16, 2011

Button, Button, who’s got the Button

One of the reasons I love programming is that it’s the ultimate Lego set with infinite pieces and the tools used to build things just get better and better. The only real limit is your imagination.
June 1, 2011

The Bandage Cube

Here is a detailed analysis, proposed conventions and solution of the Bandaged Cube.
May 30, 2011

Say Hello to my Little Friend, Mr. Rubik

No, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Erno Rubik. I’m just being slightly poetic here in that picking up my first Rubik’s Cube was like meeting a new best friend.
May 25, 2011

Scotty, Lauren, Rachel and Tosh.

As I get older, it’s harder and harder to be a true pop-culture junky.
May 23, 2011

The Joys of Rack’Em.

My Rack’Em game is one of my favorite puzzle creations. First, I believe it’s 100% original. I don’t even remember how I got the gem of the idea, but I know it didn’t come from an existing puzzle. As a contrast, here is a quick list of where most of my other game ideas came from.
May 21, 2011

Randomness, Robustness and Engines Oh My!!!

This is going to be a mishmash of things that bug me about most games, things I do slightly differently, things I didn’t do right and things I’ve learned along the way.
May 19, 2011

Why I love progamming (since then)

Power, immediacy and correctness. As we learned in my Why I love programming (then); those were the three critical ingredients that caused me to fall in love with programming.
May 18, 2011


The monthly Atlanta games meet-up is held…yeah monthly…at Thrust Interactive. It’s one of my favorite places to visit each month and it’s my fourth encounter with Nerdvana. I thought I’d chat a bit about my other encounters and then you’ll know why I love it there.
May 17, 2011

Reviews – the Good, the Bad and the Beautiful

I truly loved reading all the reviews for Clutter. The ones that hated the game the most seemed to have no sense of humor at all. Some people really loved the game, some people said that the game actually motivated them positively to effect change in the real clutter of their lives. And a few people thought I was actually Leon Poncelette. So, for posterity, I give you the Good, the Bad and the Beautiful of the Clutter Reviews!!!
May 15, 2011

Why I love programming (then).

I was exposed to programming many times in my life before I was truly bit by the programming bug. There were two key ingredients that were missing from my early exposures to programming.
May 13, 2011

The Joy of Mini-Puzzles…

…or You can’t please everyone.
May 7, 2011

The 5 Older Puzzle Games.

Before I started writing puzzles and games for everyone, I wrote some Logic puzzles. These puzzles are not for everyone. I wrote them mostly with myself in mind and the biggest mistake I made was in not making starter levels easy enough and in not having really good tutorials.
May 6, 2011

Revisiting Diamonds.

Diamonds is the game I half-created before Clutter. It has some mini-games in it that I will be using in Clutter-II. I can either try to grab just the code for the specific games or it may be useful to get Diamonds, the test version, up and running again. For starters, I’m going to try that.
May 3, 2011

The Current State of Clutter.

I thought I’d do a quick summary of where Clutter is and where it’s going.
May 1, 2011

May Day – Clutter II

Because I work 3-days a week (sometimes from my home, sometimes at the office), I originally planned to use the 4 off days and devote them to Clutter-II. Although it took about 1 man-year to create clutter, I figure I could put out Clutter-II in less than half the time. I’ve been spending my “free time” getting this website running, thinking about Clutter-II, promoting Clutter (getting it on Amazon, packaging it up for at least 4 other languages), etc…
April 10, 2011

The New Puzzles By Joe!!!

I started Puzzles By Joe in 2000. From 2000 to 2003 I created 9 games of varying fun and complexity. The first 7 were made for the Windows desktop and sold only from Puzzles By Joe. After that, I made a couple of full screen games that sold on Big Fish Games before the current Casual Games explosion took place. I also made some demo games trying to get Pogo and Pop-cap interested in my stuff.

1 Comment

  1. J Harper says:

    Would like more head to head puzzles only find them in Leah’s Story as Bonus Levels

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