About the show
The Life & Times of Video Games is an award-nominated documentary audio series about video games and the video game industry — as they were in the past, and how they came to be the way they are today.
It combines context, analysis, interviews, and discussion that ties every story back to the present day, because history doesn't just vanish into the distance behind us; it casts a very long shadow that affects everything that comes after it. The things that happened in the games industry 10, 20, 30 years ago all have a lasting legacy — sometimes small, sometimes large — and in The Life & Times of Video Games I try to draw those through lines in the course of telling fascinating stories about the past.
Here, for instance, is the story I did on legendary game designer and Game Developers Conference founder Chris Crawford's famous Dragon Speech — wherein he left the industry, sword held aloft, to pursue his dream that games would one day stand at the pinnacle of art and storytelling. To craft the story, I used a combination of interviews, audio from the talk itself, music/SFX clips from some relevant games, bespoke music I composed myself, and a bit of sound design:
(If you don't see the player above, it means your browser is blocking my podcast host Megaphone. If that's the case you can listen by downloading the mp3 from the episode page (linked in the text above), turning off your adblocker, whitelisting all megaphone.com subdomains, or loading it up in your favourite podcast app. I'm sorry about the inconvenience, but there's nothing I can do about it until Megaphone either improves its privacy performance or I switch to a new host — which I'd rather not do just yet.)
My personal favourite episode, on the 'wololo' sound effect and its path to becoming a meme, uses a similar combination, except with more connections to (and artefacts of) the present-day and lots more clips from the games covered:
And here's one I made on the '90s girl games movement through a mix of research, interviews, and archival audio:
While this one, below, splices in clips of audio from the game Hogs of War, in an otherwise narration-only story, to help illustrate how it satirised war on multiple levels, and to provide a bit of levity to break up my analysis of its design and history.
Every episode is similarly scripted, edited, and deeply-researched, with interviews and/or archival audio used whenever it seems appropriate (and is possible to obtain — not everyone is willing or available to be interviewed and not all contemporary material can be re-used without permission).
I compose all the music myself, too, unless otherwise noted, except for the bits that come from whatever game(s) I'm covering, and I share all my research and full episode transcripts with my supporters on Patreon — a membership service wherein I can be directly funded by my listeners, in exchange for various rewards.
Episodes are generally between 25 and 35 minutes, although they sometimes run a bit longer, and they're released on a seasonal schedule. I also put little "soundbite" mini-episodes together occasionally. These feature brief anecdotes or insights (usually a few minutes; rarely more than 10 minutes) from interviews I've conducted that I think stand up well on their own. Here's an example:
The show was heavily inspired by five of my favourite podcasts — A Life Well Wasted, 99% Invisible, Between the Liner Notes, The Memory Palace, and Snap Judgment — together with all manner of things from other media forms (the style of my introductory and closing remarks draws inspiration from Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, for instance).
To follow me, or to support the show
The Life & Times of Video Games is written, edited, and produced entirely by me, Richard Moss, an experienced, award-winning freelance writer and journalist whose work you might have seen on the likes of Ars Technica, Gamasutra, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun, EGM, Eurogamer, GameDaily.biz, etc, or perhaps in something to do with my book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming.
You can find out more about me on my Twitter and my writing portfolio, or on my rarely-updated LinkedIn profile. I have a handful of games history livestreams and talks available to watch on my YouTube and Twitch channels as well.
If you'd like to have longer seasons or more frequent episodes, or if you'd just like me to earn some decent money from this thing, you can help out by donating through PayPal or Patreon, by leaving a review/rating on Apple Podcasts or any other podcast app you like to use, and by sharing your favourite episodes with other people. (Please do share it; things like this live and die on recommendations made to friends/family/colleagues.)
I occasionally use affiliate links to help cover the costs of producing the show. I will endeavour to clearly note when such links are used, but as a general disclaimer please be aware that I am a member of the Apple and Amazon affiliate programs. Here's the legal spiel that Amazon asks all affiliates post:
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.