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

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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.

Music by Kai Engel, Lee Rosevere, and Evan Schaeffer.

You can listen to the episode I made on Mark's graphical innovations, which doesn't include this story, at And you can see a few screenshots of the cancelled X-Men game at his website, It's under 8-bit Game Art Volume 2.

Mark worked recently on a spiritual successor to Maniac Mansion called Thimbleweed Park, along with other LucasArts alums Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, and David Fox. If you buy the iOS version via the link, I get a small cut of the sale price. It's also available on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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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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