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The Life & Times of Video Games

The Life & Times of Video Games

Author: Richard Moss

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An award-nominated documentary-style podcast 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.
24 Episodes
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17 - Super Mario Kart

17 - Super Mario Kart

2019-07-0100:25:29

How Nintendo and its mascot created a genre, and a combat-racing franchise heavyweight, and in the process gave us a masterclass in game balance, with the best-selling 1992 Super Nintendo game Super Mario Kart.All music and sound effects in this episode were composed and performed by me, except for the bits that I lifted out of Super Mario Kart.If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to consider listening to the previous entry this season, on Sega Rally Championship (https://lifeandtimes.games/16). Or for other development-focused stories I've done, consider the episodes on Lode Runner (https://lifeandtimes.games/14), the Tomb Raider grid (https://lifeandtimes.games/7-tomb-raider-grid) (and part 2 (https://lifeandtimes.games/8-tomb-raider-grid-p2)), Midwinter (https://lifeandtimes.games/9-midwinter), Dogz (https://lifeandtimes.games/10-dogz), FIFA 3DO (https://lifeandtimes.games/5-fifa-international-soccer-3do), colour cycling/palette shifting (https://lifeandtimes.games/3-colour-cycling), and Airfight (https://lifeandtimes.games/2-airfight) — some of which feature interviews with the creators.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
Sega Rally Championship changed everything for the racing genre, and the 1995 off-road arcade hit was an incredible game too. This is the story of its development, critical reception, and long-term legacy.If you're keen to grab one of the Sega Rally games on Amazon, please use my affiliate link (https://www.amazon.com/sega-rally/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?k=sega+rally&linkCode=ll2&tag=lifeandtim07a-20&linkId=712dbad7ae17604c167dae3481df9de4) so that I get a small portion of the sale price.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
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.The interview was originally conducted for my Polygon feature (https://www.polygon.com/2019/4/19/18295061/game-boy-history-timeline-tetris-pokemon-nintendo) on the Game Boy's (and Pokémon's) introduction in the West.(Also, Game Boy Tetris turns 30 next week, so happy birthday to that version too!)The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
15 - The Boss Button

15 - The Boss Button

2019-05-1600:22:23

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.If you buy Steven Levy's Hackers on Amazon via this link (http://lifeandtimes.games/hackersbook), I get a small percentage of the sale price. (I highly recommend reading the book, if you haven't already — it's a fascinating look into the early computer industry through the eyes of free-thinking and idealistic programmers, with a good bit of backstory as well on the beginnings of Sierra Online.)The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
14 - Lode Runner

14 - Lode Runner

2019-05-0100:24:32

The story of how a terrible description of the Donkey Kong arcade game led to the creation of Lode Runner, one of the greatest games of all time and one of the earliest games with a built-in level editor. Lode Runner Legacy is available for Windows (https://store.steampowered.com/app/628660/Lode_Runner_Legacy/) and Nintendo Switch (https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/lode-runner-legacy-switch/). An official remake of the original game is also available on Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gmboy.loderunnerclassic&hl=en) and iOS (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lode-runner-classic/id582864706?mt=8&uo=4&at=1000lGtI).The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
Legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim (http://www.scottkim.com/) 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 (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com).
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 (https://medium.com/@mossrc/early-mac-game-developers-on-the-original-macintosh-dcc8d268701b) 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.You can learn more about all these guys, and the surprising impact the Mac had on games history, in my book The Secret History of Mac Gaming (http://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com/).
On the 90s girl games movement, and its assault on the status quo of the video game market, featuring Girl Games Inc founder and former filmmaker Laura Groppe.Support comes from my Patreon and PayPal backers, with special credit going to Wade Tregaskis, Simon Moss, and Vivek Mohan. Thanks fellas!Original scoring and sound design by me.These days Laura Groppe runs the Girls Intelligence Agency (http://www.girlsintelligenceagency.com/), which does research and consulting on the female youth market.Find out more about my new book project, Shareware Heroes: Independent Games at the Dawn of the Internet, at Unbound (https://unbound.com/books/shareware-heroes/).The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as on the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
Before something like the Xbox could ever hope to exist, Microsoft first needed to learn how to be a successful games publisher on the PC. This is the story — or part of it — of how Microsoft got games, featuring input from four key Microsoft Game Studios people — Ed Fries, Stuart Moulder, Ed Ventura, Jon Kimmich — and Age of Empires co-creator Rick Goodman.Support comes from my Patreon and PayPal backers, with special credit going to Wade Tregaskis, Simon Moss, and Vivek Mohan. Thanks fellas!Original scoring and sound design by me.While I fully intend on covering more of the Microsoft games story in future, if you'd like to learn more there are a couple of books by veteran games and tech journalist Rusel DeMaria. Game of X volume 1 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1976455170/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1976455170&linkCode=as2&tag=lifeandtim07a-20&linkId=a20e0dc1b5f5ac0c2bb100dc43139e7d) delves into the Xbox, while volume 2 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/197808837X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lifeandtim07a-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=197808837X&linkId=41ff0ca21d7fe7a7422469a2fb886207) looks at the backstory before Xbox.Find out more about my new book project, Shareware Heroes: Independent Games at the Dawn of the Internet, at Unbound (https://unbound.com/books/shareware-heroes/).The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media* Website: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)* Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG* Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg* YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube (http://lifeandtimes.games/youtube)You can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via* Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)* or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as on the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com) for more info.Can't afford to give me money? Consider listening via the RadioPublic app for Android or iOS. It's free. And if you enable analytics then I get paid a couple of cents each time you listen to my show. Head to RadioPublic.com (https://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
I've been having some trouble finishing the script for episode 12, on Microsoft's pre-Xbox games efforts, so while you wait I thought I'd release some bonus material. First up, here's a new soundbite.This is from my interview with Jon Kimmich, who 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's his LinkedIn profile, in case you're curious: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jon-kimmich-7094501/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.
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