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…

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…

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.

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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.
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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…

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…

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.

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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…

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…

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.
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The Life & Times of Video Games

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