32 - Flight Control

fclanding-logo
How a game designed in a week helped to change everything — for the company that made it, for a local industry in turmoil, and for a global industry in transition.

Features interviews with Defiant Development co-founder Morgan Jaffit and Firemint founder / Flight Control creator Rob Murray, along with a clip of former Touch Arcade editor Eli Hodapp.See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Andrew Borman (Strong Museum of Play, PtoPOnline)

Andrew Borman's Twitter avatar
The Strong Museum of Play's digital games curator Andrew Borman describes his deep passion for uncovering and preserving cancelled, unreleased, and prototype games. This is so much more than a vocation for him, and here you get to hear all the stories and insights he shared with me when I interviewed him for the season 4 finale, The Ghosts of Games That Never Were. See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Chris Crawford on thinking in processes vs facts

Chris Crawford breaking down the finer details on thinking
When I interviewed the legendary game designer Chris Crawford for episode 30, on his famous Dragon Speech, I asked him if he'd have pursued this dragon had he known he'd still be chasing it three decades later. He admitted that he probably would have not. He'd have instead put his energy into making more simulations, teaching people to think in a way that he only recently realised is rare.

He calls it process-intensive thinking, and here, in this excerpt from our interview, he explains what that means, why he thinks it's rare, and how he believes it will eventually reshape our society.
 See full show notes and episode player…

31 - Ghosts of Games That Never Were

What about the games that never make it to market? Do they have stories worth telling, or lessons worth learning? These are the ghosts of games that never were.

With help from The Video Game History Foundation's Frank Cifaldi, The Strong Museum of Play's Andrew Borman, Games That Weren't author/curator Frank Gasking, Tomb Raider superfan Ash Kaprielov, and a couple of old developer interviews, I round out season four by looking at the life and death (and afterlife) of Half-Life for Mac, Desert Bus, Citizens, and Core Design's Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition — along with the strange fascination we have with games that didn't get published.

Core Design's Lara Croft Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition loading screen

See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Chris Crawford on how to give a great speech

Chris Crawford delivering his 1993 lecture
If you've listened to episode 30 of the show, even if you weren't previously aware of his work, you'll know what a brilliant orator Chris Crawford is. The Dragon Speech, that famous moment where he charged out of the games industry — by literally charging out of the room — was arguably his magnum opus. And it was only possible thanks to Chris's mastery of the spoken word.

Here he describes his approach to public speaking and gives tips on how everyone can give better speeches.
 See full show notes and episode player…

A Christmas gift from meow to you

Max watches me record audio
Given the hellish year we've had in 2020, I thought it'd be fun to close the year with a touch of levity...in the form of my cat, interrupting me, and just generally wanting to be podcast famous.

Happy holidays. May your 2021 be blessed with joy and happiness and dreams fulfilled. Or at least better tidings than this year brought.
 See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Sam Dyer (Bitmap Books)

The Bitmap Books logo
I speak to Bitmap Books founder/publisher/owner/designer Sam Dyer about the hows and whys of publishing visually-led, high-quality books about games history, including why he loves to publish them and why they are so much more than just "picture books" — indeed, as we cover in the interview, there's both a huge amount of care and craft that goes into making them and we can learn so, so much from looking at the graphical evolution of the medium. We also discuss the challenges and processes of book publishing, the history of Bitmap Books, and Bitmap's current and upcoming projects.
 See full show notes and episode player…

30 - The Dragon Speech, and Chris Crawford's improbable dream

Chris Crawford delivering his 1993 lecture
It was "the greatest speech he ever gave in his life", and it marked a turning point in his pursuit of his dream, but it had the note of a eulogy. This is the story of how — and why — the legendary designer Chris Crawford left the games industry in an opening-day lecture at the 1993 Game Developers Conference, an event that he had founded just six years prior.

See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Don Daglow on life at Mattel in the early days of the Intellivision

A photo of Don Daglow
Utopia and Intellivision World Series Baseball designer Don Daglow, one of the original five game programmers in Mattel's Intellivision group, describes his years spent at the company dodging forklifts, dumpster diving, listening to toys being smashed, and sharing a space with the rest of the electronics division.
 See full show notes and episode player…

29 - Utopia, and the teacher who made a game of its impossibility

When Don Daglow pitched management at Mattel on an Intellivision game about trying to build a perfect society, he thought he was just creating a "line filler" in their product calendar. Instead he made one of the most important games of all time.

30698-utopia-intellivision-front-coverA screenshot of 1982 Intellivision game Utopia

See full show notes and episode player…

Indie Spotlight: Richard Bannister (Retro Games for Mac Collection)

A screenshot of the Retro Games for Mac website
This is a sponsored post, but don't let that turn you off. I made a point of doing the interview as I would any other — and Richard Bannister has some fun stories to tell.

Richard Bannister is best-known for his Mac-native emulator ports of BSNES, Nestopia, Genesis Plus, and Boycott Advance, plus some two-dozen others, which he built and maintained through the 2000s and returned to relatively recently after a long hiatus. But he also has a fantastic game music player called Audio Overload (with Mac and Windows versions) that supports more than 30 console/handheld/computer file formats.

And this year, during a period of unemployment, he decided to flex his creative muscles and make some games. He's up to 20 in all, each inspired by a classic arcade game or early home computer puzzle game — and very often by multiple variants of a particular game — and he's selling them on the Mac App Store. In this interview we discuss this Retro Games for Mac collection — its inspirations, design, development, cheat codes(!), and future plans — as well as his 90s shareware games and his contributions to the emulator scene.
 See full show notes and episode player…

28 - Transport Tycoon (aka the great optimiser, Chris Sawyer)

On the rise and, um...fade out(?) of Chris Sawyer, the genius creator of bestselling, critically-acclaimed simulation games Transport Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon — who made a career out of working at the cutting-edge, in bare metal assembly code that he wrote and optimised (and optimised again) on his own.

Until the cutting-edge left him behind.

See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Vance Cook on inventing new control mechanics for virtual golf

Screenshot of Front Page Sports Golf
Former Links, PGA Championship Golf, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour lead Vance Cook explains how and why his team(s) created new ways to swing a virtual golf club — beginning with the C-shaped gauge in Links and leading into "TrueSwing" on Front Page Sports Golf and PGA Championship, and then ending with the motion-controller (Wiimote) swing in Tiger Woods Wii.

Also listen for insights into the difference between sports games that aim for simulation versus those that aim for the "emotional experience".
 See full show notes and episode player…

27 - Links

Links1-screen
In 1990, in a bid to move ahead of their rivals, Access Software reinvented virtual golf. Their game Links set the template for golf games over the next decade, with a technological tour de force, and along the way it dominated bestselling PC games charts month after month, year after year. Until suddenly it didn't.

This is the story of Links and the huge shadow it cast over its genre.
 See full show notes and episode player…

26 - The Nostalgia Box

I go inside Australia's only permanent video game console museum and find that what makes it special is more than just the size of its collection — or the fact that it exists.

A photo of a small section of The Nostalgia Box video game console museum.
See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Kelsey Lewin (Video Game History Foundation and Pink Gorilla Games)

Kelsey's VGHF blog photo, with her fellow co-director Frank Cifaldi cropped out.
I speak to Kelsey Lewin, a video game historian and collector, retro games store owner, and self-proclaimed Wonderswan enthusiast, about the challenges — and also the merits — of researching and archiving the artefacts connected to games development and culture, both past and present. She also shares her insights on how the growth in retro gaming helps fuel interest in games history, why some of the most interesting stories are far beyond the typical narratives of games history, what quirky things we can find when looking into the Wonderswan and its inventor, the famed Game Boy hardware designer Gunpei Yokoi, and much more.

Kelsey co-directs the Video Game History Foundation with Frank Cifaldi, where the two of them have been doing amazing work in preserving and archiving the artefacts of games development and culture — not so much the games themselves, but rather more the packaging and documentation, the source code, the marketing materials, the magazines, etc. And she also co-owns Pink Gorilla Games, a retro games store located in Seattle.
 See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: a one-stop shop for (shareware) games

Glenn Brensinger, former sysop of Software Creations, talks about how his then-boss Dan Linton's "Home of the Authors" Software Creations bulletin-board system (BBS) served as a sort of prototypical Steam.

The interview was done as part of my research for my upcoming book Shareware Heroes: Independent Games at the Dawn of the Internet, which is on Kickstarter until July 8th.
 See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: The CRPG Addict

CRPGAddictBanner1crop

The man behind The CRPG Addict, a blog dedicated to playing through the entire history of computer role-playing games in roughly-chronological order, discusses his decade-long (and counting!) conquest and the roots of his passion. 

We also explore how his approach has changed as he's learnt more about the genre's history, the merits and failings of a scoring system for comparing games, the value of talking about a tiny niche within a niche in such detail, how he learnt to stop feeling guilty about loving role-playing games, and more.  


 See full show notes and episode player…

25 - Pimps at Sea

Box art mockup for Bungie's April Fools' joke game Pimps at Sea.

It began as an impromptu April Fools' Day gag, but Pimps at Sea was the joke that kept on giving. This is the story of how a chance encounter on the streets of Chicago led to a semi-annual tradition, an industry/fan-favourite insider joke, and a cult classic multiplayer game.


 See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Phil Salvador (The Obscuritory)

Phil Salvador's Twitter avatar: a pixel art CD-ROM and open book.

I speak to librarian, games critic, and blogger Phil Salvador about his website The Obscuritory and his research and writing on games unplayed and unknown. In a far-reaching interview, conducted in late February, 2020 (and thus before the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the West), we explore the challenges, rewards, and lessons we've each found in writing about little-known areas of games history, as well as the importance of being kind and much, much more.

This is the third entry in a new series of interviews I'm running alongside the main show — every month(ish) I'll talk to a different person who's exploring games history, in one way or another, to learn about the many ways people are preserving the games industry's past as well as to further our understanding of how this wonderful medium (and the industry that's built around it) has come to be the way it is now. 

 See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Gail Tilden on working at Nintendo of America in its early years

Gail Tilden preparing magazine spreads at Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power founding editor and former Nintendo of America marketing executive Gail Tilden remembers her beginnings at the company — before the NES, before Nintendo Power, and even before desktop publishing.


 See full show notes and episode player…

24 - Bully (Canis Canem Edit)

A screenshot from the 2006 game Bully with Jimmy fully clothed in the shower, with a bull's head on. He's trespassing, too.

How 2006 PS2 hit Bully (aka Canis Canem Edit) showed an alternate future for Rockstar and the open-world genre, with its compromised-yet-brilliant schoolyard satire — here I dive deep into the game, not for its overblown controversies but rather for its struggles against technological limitations and its triumphs in world-building, satire, and focused, more intimate and structured open-world game design. And I wonder why, nearly 15 years on, open-world games continue to strive for bigger and bigger playgrounds filled with more and more trivial collectibles rather than building on the legacy of Bully's deliberate, glorious smallness.


 See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Alex aka Blackoak from Shmuplations.com

Part of the background image from shmuplations.com
I speak to the creator of Shmuplations.com, a large repository of translated interviews with Japanese game developers, about his approach to doing the translations, his insights on the Japanese games industry, and the highs and lows (and struggles) of running a time-intensive side hustle.

This is the second entry in a new series of interviews I'm running alongside the main show — every month(ish) I'll talk to a different person who's exploring games history, in one way or another, to learn about the many ways people are preserving the games industry's past as well as to further our understanding of how this wonderful medium (and the industry that's built around it) has come to be the way it is now.
 See full show notes and episode player…

23 - The Fog of War

A screenshot of the Warcraft II fog of war in action.
In war, no information is complete. No intelligence absolute. No view of the enemy unobstructed. There’s no such thing as perfect knowledge. It is a realm of uncertainty, where decisions are made on flawed and often outdated data — as though looking through a fog.

Hence the term, the fog of war, a military phrase with origins in the musings of a 19th century Prussian general called Carl von Clausewitz. A phrase that’s since found its way into video game lexicon, and video game design, as we explore here. (Featuring interview clips with former Blizzard lead programmer Patrick Wyatt about the fog of war in Warcraft II and StarCraft.)
 See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Age of Empires and Civilization co-creator Bruce Shelley's 'inverted pyramid of decision making'

A photo of Bruce Shelley from the 2017 Game Developers Conference
Here's some great game design wisdom from one of the legends of the business — Age of Empires, Sid Meier's Civilization, and Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon co-creator Bruce Shelley.
 See full show notes and episode player…

22 - Wololo

The Age of Empires monk in his 'convert' enemy unit pose, with the word wololo printed underneath
The sound designers from Age of Empires I and II, brothers Chris and Stephen Rippy, tell the story behind the iconic "wololo" priest chant — for converting enemy units to your side — that's since become a popular meme, as I delve into its strange legacy.
 See full show notes and episode player…

Bonus: The Rise & Fall of Ambrosia Software, '90s Mac Legends - PAX Aus 2019 talk

1990s logo for Ambrosia Software
While I'm away on my honeymoon, here's my complete talk from PAX Australia 2019, on the rise and fall of legendary shareware publisher Ambrosia Software.

The synopsis:

For Mac gamers in the 90s, the people of Ambrosia Software were rockstars. Heroes. And with brilliant games like Maelstrom, Escape Velocity, Harry the Handsome Executive, Apeiron, and more, plus a company newsletter that spoke directly to the fans, they could do no wrong. In light of Ambrosia's recent closure (finally!), Secret History of Mac Gaming author Richard Moss recounts the studio's high and lowpoints and tells the stories behind its best games.
 See full show notes and episode player…

21 - Pitfall Harry, the Jungle Runner

Front cover of the US release of Pitfall! for Atari 2600
It’s strange to think of a time before jumping was a standard video game action, to be expected whenever and wherever you have control over an individual character. A time before you could hop onto enemies’ heads and not die, or swing on ropes, or move back and forth across a vast level — many times wider than the screen.

But these ideas were rare, and just beginning to find their way into video game lexicon, when David Crane came along and with one single game turned them into tropes. With just one game that had begun as a simple tech demo of a running man. One game that would go on to define a console generation, amid 64 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard bestsellers chart and a whopping four million lifetime sales on a gaming system that itself sold 30 million units.

That one game is Pitfall!, or Jungle Runner, as it was called during development, an Indiana Jones-like adventure distilled into the (home console) video game technology of the era.

This is the story of Pitfall!'s creation and its phenomenal legacy, pieced together from myriad sources — interviews, reviews, history articles, promo videos, book chapters, retrospectives, and a 2011 postmortem delivered at the Game Developers' Conference by none other than David Crane himself.
 See full show notes and episode player…

20 - RealSound™ and Voice Characterisations

A screenshot of Dark Castle (Mac, 1986) showing the Fireball 1 level.
How a quest to put sound in an early Mac game helped usher in a revolution in computer game audio design and production.

Features interviews with tech entrepreneur Charlie Jackson and former Adobe and Microsoft executive Eric Zocher, who together co-founded 1980s software company Silicon Beach Software — a pioneer in creative software tools and desktop publishing, as well as the publisher of several popular games (two of which we cover here: Airborne and the original Mac version of Dark Castle).
 See full show notes and episode player…

Interview: Tom Lenting (Games History of the Netherlands)

A picture of the cover of Tom Lenting's book Gamegeschiedenis van Nederland 1978-2018 (Games History of the Netherlands).
I interview Gamegeschiedenis van Nederland 1978-2018 (Games History of the Netherlands) author Tom Lenting about his book and the history of the Dutch games industry. 

This is the first in a new series of interviews I'm running alongside the main show — every month I'll talk to a different person who's exploring games history, in one way or another, to further our understanding of how this wonderful medium (and the industry that's built around it) has come to be the way it is now.
See full show notes and episode player…

19 - Premier Manager

Amiga_Format_Issue_065_1994_11_Future_Publishing_GB_0064
On the rise and fall of the Premier Manager series of soccer management games — a former PC gaming juggernaut that lost its way amidst a shuffle of developers and publishers — and the part it played in the broader consolidation and homogenisation of sports games (of all kinds) over the past 20 years or so.See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Former Sega CEO Tom Kalinske on telling the US Senate games aren't "just for kids"

When the United States Senate held congressional hearings on video game violence in 1993 and '94, Sega CEO Tom Kalinske went to bat in defence of the industry — and the medium. But he faced major obstacles just getting the senators to understand that the audience for video games was much broader than teenage and pre-teen boys. In this excerpt from an interview I conducted with Tom earlier this year, he describes the experience and lays out his frustrations with the senators. See full show notes and episode player…

18 - Hogs of War

hogs-poster
Far from a mere "Worms in 3D", Hogs of War was its own breed of madness. Hear the story of how it evolved from a concept of "Command and Conquer with pigs", what made it such a well-designed satire, and how this underrated PlayStation game saw the funny side of serious global conflict.See full show notes and episode player…

17 - Super Mario Kart

Screenshot of the Rainbow Road track from Super Mario Kart
How Nintendo and its mascot created a genre, and a combat-racing franchise heavyweight, and in the process gave us a masterclass in game balance, with the best-selling 1992 Super Nintendo game Super Mario Kart.See full show notes and episode player…

16 - Sega Rally Championship

Sega-Rally-Championship
Sega Rally Championship changed everything for the racing genre, and the 1995 off-road arcade hit was an incredible game too. This is the story of its development, critical reception, and long-term legacy.See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Henk Rogers on randomness and dilemmas in Tetris

A screenshot of Tetris for the Nintendo Game Boy
For the 35th anniversary of Tetris' original Russian version, I pulled out this clip from my interview with Henk Rogers — co-founder of The Tetris Company and the dude who got Tetris handheld and console publishing rights back in the 1980s (and also creator of what was arguably the first JRPG, The Black Onyx).

Listen for Henk's memories about the strategy inherent in the game's scoring system and the story of how they fixed a bias in the Game Boy version's random number generator.See full show notes and episode player…

15 - The Boss Button

The boss key for 1982 game Bezare brings up a mock spreadsheet like the one here, which breaks down a household budget.
Before computers had proper multitasking support and quick shortcuts for changing apps, playing games when you're not supposed to be could be super risky. But if there's one thing that's been a constant in technology, it's that wherever there are computers, there are also games. And for a while, in the 1980s and 90s, many game developers actually put in a special key command that would bring up a fake productivity screen. This is the story of the rise and fall of the boss button.See full show notes and episode player…

14 - Lode Runner

A screenshot of Lode Runner for the Apple II
The story of how a terrible description of the Donkey Kong arcade game led to the creation of Lode Runner, one of the greatest games of all time and one of the earliest games with a built-in level editor. See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Scott Kim shares a few secrets of puzzle design

Legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim discusses the process and principles of puzzle-making for games. This is excerpted from an interview I conducted while researching my book The Secret History of Mac Gaming.

See full show notes and episode player…

Bonus: Game devs on the impact of the original Mac

For any of you who aren't aware, last week was the 35th anniversary of the release of the original Mac. I published a Medium article to celebrate the milestone, and here now you can listen to an audio version of that. It's 14 current and former game developers talking about the early Macintosh computer and how it inspired them to make something insanely great.

See full show notes and episode player…

13 - Girl Games, Inc.

On the 90s girl games movement, and its assault on the status quo of the video game market, featuring Girl Games Inc founder and former filmmaker Laura Groppe.See full show notes and episode player…

12 - Microsoft Games

Before something like the Xbox could ever hope to exist, Microsoft first needed to learn how to be a successful games publisher on the PC. This is the story — or part of it — of how Microsoft got games, featuring input from four key Microsoft Game Studios people — Ed Fries, Stuart Moulder, Ed Ventura, Jon Kimmich — and Age of Empires co-creator Rick Goodman.See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Spotting "the magic" (Jon Kimmich, ex-Microsoft Games)

Jon Kimmich worked as a "product planner" and "program manager" in Microsoft's games group in the late 1990s and then in Microsoft Game Studios until 2004. He's since continued to work in bizdev roles in the games industry and has lots of fascinating insights (I posted a different quote on Twitter during the week).

Here he tells us about knowing when a game has that "magic" that means it's going to be a hit, with Halo and Age of Empires as examples.See full show notes and episode player…

11 - Bomberman

On June 11th, 2018, character designer and artist Shoji Mizuno passed away. He was a key figure back in the 1990s at the now-defunct Hudson Soft, a renowned Japanese games publisher — having directed art or design, or sometimes both, on more than a dozen games in the popular Bomberman franchise as well as providing original character designs for the Beyblade anime series.

Since this year is also the 35th anniversary of the release of the first Bomberman game on the MSX, I thought now would be a good time to look back on how the explosive puzzle franchise made its way into the world — and into the hearts of millions.See full show notes and episode player…

10 - Dogz

A screenshot of the
Frustrated by the unjustified furore that surrounded his tame interactive movie game, designer Rob Fulop turned to Santa for help. And with a clever business model he and his team at PF Magic invented a new kind of game, one in which you adopt and care for a digital animal — a virtual dog or cat, or something more exotic, with a personality and needs and quirks not unlike a real one.See full show notes and episode player…

9 - Midwinter

On the late Mike Singleton and the importance of Midwinter and The Lords of Midnight, his two great works. After switching from high school English teaching to professional game development in the 1980s, Mike quickly rose to the top of the industry. His games pushed the limits of what was possible, and he routinely crafted worlds that were way ahead of their time.

Here, based on archival research and old magazine interviews, I present part of his incredible story.

See full show notes and episode player…

8 - The Tomb Raider grid (part 2)

Screenshot of Lara running
Continuing the story from Part 1, this is how the original Tomb Raider's grid-based engine/level editor impacted on the series, on Lara Croft's rise to fame, and on the shifting sands of blockbuster game development. This episode also discusses the place that such a grid system has — or might have — in game design today. Featuring input from former Core Design artists and level designers Heather Stevens and Andy Sandham as well as programmer Gavin Rummery.See full show notes and episode player…

7 - The Tomb Raider grid (part 1)

A screenshot of Lara doing a swan dive in Tomb Raider III

Every aspect of the original Core Design Tomb Raider series (and by extension the franchise's success post-Core) comes back to the grid that lies beneath it — the majority of the puzzles; the platforming; the cavernous chambers and ruins and outdoor areas that provide a sense of isolation, of solitude and discovery; and Lara Croft's iconic acrobatic movement style.

And yet it never would have happened if not for one pragmatic choice made by a programmer early in the game's development.

This is the story of how that came to be, and how it made Tomb Raider…well, Tomb Raider, based on interviews with Heather Stevens (née Gibson) and Gavin Rummery as well as my past work covering Tomb Raider's history as a freelancer.

See full show notes and episode player…

6 - ROM Hack

At the dawn of emulation and the World Wide Web, a group of fans discovered the Nintendo and Super Nintendo games that never made it over from Japan. One of them decided to hack into a few of these and translate them, unofficially, with help from some friends — starting with Final Fantasy II for the NES.

Featuring quotes from Steve Demeter, founder of one of the first fan translation groups, Demiforce, who was the driving force behind three high-profile ROM hacks — the Final Fantasy II and Radical Dreamers translation projects, and the Earthbound Zero prototype release.

See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Mark Ferrari on gatekeepers and a cancelled X-Men game

The story of a cancelled X-Men TV controller game, as told by former LucasArts illustrator Mark Ferrari, who is a world-renowned and innovative pixel artist responsible for popularising multiple graphical techniques — including dithering, colour cycling, and palette shifting. And an inside look at the downside of having marketing-focused gatekeepers in charge of what products hit store shelves.See full show notes and episode player…

5 - FIFA 3DO

A story from the dawn of 3D sports games, and the forgotten link between the 16-bit isometric and 32-bit 3D EA Sports games — this is how FIFA 3DO transformed the way sport was represented in video games.See full show notes and episode player…

4 - Bug Salad

How a marketing guy at shareware game publisher Ambrosia Software ended up eating bugs in front of hundreds of people at Macworld New York 2000.
See full show notes and episode player…

3 - Color Cycling

This is the story of illustrator Mark Ferrari, whose artwork was so good it forced Lucasfilm Games to figure out how to make a graphics technique called dithering compress to fit on floppy disks — in the process winning awards and triggering the use of dither in the wider games industry — and who pioneered the use of two background illustration tricks that gave the illusion of animation. He became world-renowned for his colour cycling and palette shifting techniques, which could be used to make a single computer illustration appear alive.
See full show notes and episode player…

Soundbite: Steve Capps on online social gaming and Bill Gates playing Bridge

Steve Capps, one of the creators of the Macintosh and a Microsoft executive in the 1990s, tells a story from his days of working alongside Bill Gates.
See full show notes and episode player…

2 - Airfight

The story of the one of the earliest flight simulator games, Airfight, a favourite among the PLATO community back in 1973, based on an interview with its creator. Airfight was a multiplayer flight combat sim with wireframe graphics and real-time chat, and it was an influence on the first home computer flight simulator, subLOGIC's fittingly-named 1980 game Flight Simulator for the Apple II and TRS-80.
See full show notes and episode player…

Extended interview: Jon Jordan on the evolution of iOS gaming and the App Store

An extended interview with Pocket Gamer co-founder Jon Jordan, who these days writes mostly about the business of mobile games at Pocket Gamer's sister site PocketGamer.biz. These full interview postings will normally be for Patreon backers only, but since I've only just launched the show I thought it'd be good to give you a taste of what you'll be getting when you make a monthly pledge of $3 or more.

We covered a lot of ground in the interview — far more than I could fit into the Race to the Bottom episode. And Jon had some great insights into how the business and design of iOS gaming has evolved over time.

Listen for talk about how surprising it was to see the iPhone become a great games platform, what the early days of iPhone gaming were like, how the business and design of iOS gaming has evolved over time, and what's likely to be in store for the future of the App Store.See full show notes and episode player…

1 - Race to the Bottom

In the early days of the iPhone App Store, game developers found themselves locked in a race to a $0.99 price point that none of them wanted to become standard. This is the story of how that happened, and how it affected mobile games going forward.
See full show notes and episode player…

   

The Life & Times of Video Games

The Life & Times of Video Games: A documentary and narrative-style 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.

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