DiscoverThe Life & Times of Video Games
The Life & Times of Video Games

The Life & Times of Video Games

Author: The HP Video Game Podcast Network

Subscribed: 16Played: 115
Share

Description

An award-nominated documentary and narrative-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.

29 Episodes
Reverse
How a quest to put sound in a couple of games in the mid-1980s led to a revolution in computer game audio design and production.***These are, in a sense, the sounds of a revolution in video game history, the sounds of a change so profound that it opened the door to entirely new genres. They’re digitised audio samples, a recorded analogue waveform converted into a digital signal — and then back into analogue audio through your headphones, in this case, via a couple of Macintosh games from 1985 and 86. We take this capability for granted nowadays, as we use our voice calling apps and record videos with our smartphones. But you only have to roll back the clock 35 years to get to a time when this sort of technology was beyond the reach of the masses — when digital audio was something only used by specialist researchers and archivists and cutting-edge or experimental sound engineers. And when the thought of using it on an off-the-shelf personal computer was almost unheard of. But then the Apple Macintosh came out in January 1984. And Apple's so-called "computer for the rest of us" had a secret capability that would unlock this door to digital audio for the masses. Featuring interviews with tech entrepreneur Charlie Jackson (Silicon Beach Software founder and Airborne designer) as well as former Silicon Beach Software VP of R&D Eric Zocher (who later worked as an executive at the likes of Adobe and Microsoft).Adapted from a chapter on Silicon Beach Software in my book The Secret History of Mac Gaming.You can find more of Dick Noel's music via Discogs and the Internet Archive. And about his life in a brief obituary at The Hollywood Reporter.A partial transcript of this episode is available at https://lifeandtimes.games/episodes/files/20, along with all of the show notes and past episodes.Music and Sound Effects credits:A Dreamer's Holiday by Dick Noel with Ray Anthony and His OrchestraExplosionCrowd noiseContinental Airlines ad from 1969Game audio clips taken from:Airborne (Mac, 1985)Dark Castle (Mac, 1986)The Three Stooges in Brides is Brides (arcade, 1984)Galaga (arcade, 1981)Donkey Kong (arcade, 1980)Ground Zero (Mac, 1984)Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (DOS, 1992)Dragon's Lair (arcade, 1983)PowerMonger (Amiga, 1990)Phrase Craze Plus (Mac, 1986)Spaceship Warlock (Mac, 1991)Spike (Vectrex, 1982)Sinistar (arcade, 1983)Shufflepuck Café (Mac, 1988)Elite (BBC Micro, 1984)Alley Cat (Atari 8-bit, 1983)Choplifter (Apple II, 1982)Ant Attack (ZX Spectrum, 1983)King's Quest (PCjr, 1984)The Black Cauldron (DOS, 1986)Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum, 1983)The Manhole (Mac, 1988)At the Carnival (Mac, 1989)Air Ace 2 (Amiga, 1989)Uncharted 2 (PS3, 2009)Mercenaries 2 (PS3/Xbox 360, 2008)Everything else is my own workThanks as always to my supporters on Patreon — especially my $10+ backers Vivek Mohan, Simon Moss, Wade Tregaskis, and Seth Robinson. You guys keep me going, and we never would have gotten close to this point without your help and encouragement. If you'd like to become a supporter, for as little as $1 a month, head to my Patreon page and sign up.Support The Life & Times of Video GamesPayPal donations (any amount) — paypal.me/mossrcPatreon subscription (minimum $1 a month) — https://www.patreon.com/lifeandtimesofvideogamesBreaker premium feed subscription ($2.99 a month) — https://www.breaker.audio/the-life-and-times-of-video-games-premium...Or share the show on social media and leave reviews in Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, and everywhere else.
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. Links:A full transcript of this interview: https://lifeandtimes.games/episodes/files/interview-tom-lentingTom Lenting's book: https://sites.google.com/view/karel-van-mander-academy/gamegeschiedenis-van-nederland His YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/applemctom And his LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-lenting-94ab8712/ Reviews of his book: https://www.gamingalexandria.com/wp/2019/05/09/book-review-the-game-history-of-the-netherlands-1978-2018-by-tom-lenting/https://cdii.blogspot.com/2019/09/philips-cd-i-plays-large-role-in-dutch.htmlMy book: https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com/ Life & Times of Games on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lifeandtimesofvideogames Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg (Newly redesigned) Website: https://lifeandtimes.games Thank you to all of my wonderful supporters on Patreon for making this possible, but especially to my $6+ backers Wade Tregaskis, Simon Moss, Vivek Mohan, and Seth Robinson. You can help, too — a contribution as little as $1 a month makes a big difference towards ensuring this show has a bright future ahead of it. Head to lifeandtimes.games/patreon to make your pledge.
19 - Premier Manager

19 - Premier Manager

2019-09-0300:30:20

On the rise and fall of the Premier Manager series of soccer management games — a former PC gaming juggernaut that lost its way amidst a shuffle of developers and publishers — and the part it played in the broader consolidation/homogenisation of sports games (of all kinds) over the past 20 years or so.All music and sound effects in this episode were composed and performed by me, except for the bits that came from the Premier Manager games (the football commentary clips and a couple of songs). And the clip from Highlander.If you'd like to try one of the Premier Manager games, the easiest option is to use the in-browser emulators on Archive.org — which has the DOS, Amiga, and Sega Mega Drive versions of the earlier titles all playable. The early Championship Manager games — which eventually evolved into today's monster Football Manager series — are also playable on there, in DOS and Amiga formats.Remember to share this episode on social media and to leave a review of the show on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcasting app you prefer.If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to also listen to the previous entry this season, Hogs of War, or one of the many other game design/development-focused stories I've done — consider, for instance, the episodes on Lode Runner, Midwinter, FIFA 3DO, the grid-based level editor of the original Tomb Raider games, or the graphical innovations of pixel artist Mark Ferrari. Or for a change of pace, perhaps you'd like to learn about the origins of the "boss button" or of the App Store's race to the bottom in game pricing?There are "soundbites", too — short clips from interviews I've conducted over the years, like with Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers, former Microsoft executive Jon Kimmich, and legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim.***The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media:Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 for more info.
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. For more on the 93/94 congressional hearings and their impact on the industry, be sure to listen to episode 10. It tells the story of how the designer of Night Trap — one of the games lambasted in the hearings for its supposed glorification of extreme violence (it was actually about preventing violence against women) — responded to the witch hunt by making a game so friendly and inoffensive that it couldn't possibly be construed as encouraging violence: Dogz, a game about raising and caring for a virtual puppy. Previous Soundbites: Henk Rogers on randomness and dilemmas in TetrisScott Kim shares a few secrets of puzzle designSpotting "the magic" (Jon Kimmich, ex-Microsoft Games)Mark Ferrari on gatekeepers and a cancelled X-Men gameSteve Capps on online social gaming and Bill Gates playing BridgeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income via:Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
18 - Hogs of War

18 - Hogs of War

2019-07-2400:26:51

Far from a mere "Worms in 3D", Hogs of War was its own breed of madness. Hear the story of how it evolved from a concept of "Command and Conquer with pigs", what made it such a well-designed satire, and how this underrated PlayStation game saw the funny side of serious global conflict. All music and sound effects in this episode were composed and performed by me, except for the bits that I lifted out of Hogs of War.Hogs of War is available for Playstation 3/Vita/PSP via PSN, and its PC port (slightly better graphics but solo campaign AI is broken and lots of glitches) is on GOG. If you'd like to play it, I suggest either grabbing the PSN release or tracking down a copy of the PS1 original.Remember to share this episode on social media and to leave a review of the show on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcasting app you prefer.If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to consider listening to the previous entry this season, Super Mario Kart, or one of the many other game design/development-focused stories I've done — consider, for instance, the episodes on Lode Runner, Midwinter, FIFA 3DO, the grid-based level editor of the original Tomb Raider games, or the graphical innovations of pixel artist Mark Ferrari. Or for a change of pace, perhaps you'd like to learn about the origins of the "boss button" or of the App Store's race to the bottom in game pricing?There are "soundbites", too — short clips from interviews I've conducted over the years, like with Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers, former Microsoft executive Jon Kimmich, and legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim.***The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media:Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 for more info.
17 - Super Mario Kart

17 - Super Mario Kart

2019-07-0100:27:14

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. Or for other development-focused stories I've done, consider the episodes on Lode Runner, the Tomb Raider grid (and part 2), Midwinter, Dogz, FIFA 3DO, colour cycling/palette shifting, and Airfight — some of which feature interviews with the creators.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
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 so that I get a small portion of the sale price.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video GamesLinks:Amazon.com: sega rally
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 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 mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
15 - The Boss Button

15 - The Boss Button

2019-05-1600:24:08

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, 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 mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video GamesLinks:Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution: Steven Levy: 9781449388393: Amazon.com: Gateway — This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers -- those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.
14 - Lode Runner

14 - Lode Runner

2019-05-0100:26:17

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 and Nintendo Switch. An official remake of the original game is also available on Android and iOS.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubeYou can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcMy 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 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 for more info.Support The Life & Times of Video GamesLinks:‎Lode Runner Classic on the App Store — DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON FOOL’S GOLDPlay the authentic Lode Runner… this is the real deal!AWARD WINNING GAMEPLAYLode Runner Classic combines the game play and all 150 levels of the award-winning Apple II original Lode Runner with graphics and features engineered for today's advanced smartphones.
loading
Comments 
loading
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store