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.
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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.
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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.
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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.  


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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. 

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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…

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…

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.

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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…

   

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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