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

Ambrosia-90s-logo-low-res
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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

   

The Life & Times of Video Games

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