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

Click/tap here to download this episode.

(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, turning off your adblocker, whitelisting all 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.)

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. He's got his own version of Mr Do — via Amstrad CPC clone Fruity Frank — called Fascinating Fruit, and a Snake/Pac-Man hybrid called Wacky Snake, plus a Crystal Quest reimagining called Space Diamonds and a JezzBall/Barrack clone called Little Green Balls that I can personally attest feels just like the original. And many others, available individually or in two discounted bundles.

In this interview we discuss his 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.

Interview notes:

And here's an illustrative example of how Fascinating Fruit looks normally versus when you turn on two of its cheats — the "fiveaday" and "drfauci" codes:
Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 14.01.57
Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 13.47.37


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.

Become a Patron!