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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.
21 Episodes
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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.
Episode 11 - Bomberman

Episode 11 - Bomberman

2018-07-1900:20:27

On June 11th, 2018, character designer and artist Shoji Mizuno passed away. He was a key figure back in the 1990s at the now-defunct Hudson Soft, a renowned Japanese games publisher — having directed art or design, or sometimes both, on more than a dozen games in the popular Bomberman franchise as well as providing original character designs for the Beyblade anime series.Since this year is also the 35th anniversary of the release of the first Bomberman game on the MSX, I thought now would be a good time to look back on how the explosive puzzle franchise made its way into the world — and into the hearts of millions.Support comes from my Patreon and PayPal backers, with special credit going to Wade Tregaskis, Simon Moss, and Vivek Mohan. Thanks fellas!Music and SFX credits:* The Take That Dyna Blaster segment from GamesMaster season 2, episode 5 (1992)* All music is my own workSources:* The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2 by John Szczepaniak* Edge Magazine issue 6, March 1994* Edge Magazine issue 17, February 1995* Game Players magazine issue 22, April 1991* Game Developers Magazine issue 1,* RETRO magazine issue 6* The One magazine issue 81, July 1995* Edge Magazine issue 67, January 1999* multiple pages from Ragey's Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine Place (http://randomhoohaas.flyingomelette.com/bomb/)* The Complete History of Bomberman - Tired Old Hack (https://tiredoldhack.com/2017/02/26/the-complete-history-of-bomberman/)* Games Nobody Talks About Anymore: Eric and the Floaters - Den of Geek (http://www.denofgeek.com/games/eric-and-the-floaters/33851/games-nobody-talks-about-anymore-eric-and-the-floaters)* Retro Gamer Magazine issues 66 and 67 (they have a two-part history of Hudson Soft)* Computer & Video Games Magazine issue 34, August 1984* CRASH Magazine, July 1984* Sinclair User, July 1984The 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 (http://radiopublic.com/) for more info.
Episode 10 - Dogz

Episode 10 - Dogz

2018-06-1400:32:57

Frustrated by the unjustified furore that surrounded his tame interactive movie game, designer Rob Fulop turned to Santa for help. And with a clever business model he and his team at PF Magic invented a new kind of game, one in which you adopt and care for a digital animal -- a virtual dog or cat, or something more exotic, with a personality and needs and quirks not unlike a real one.Petz hexing is a deep rabbit hole to fall down, but if you're curious I'd recommend starting with these links:* Ballz & Linez: Remembering the Golden Age of Petz Hexing (https://beckyhansmeyer.com/2015/03/11/ballz-linez-remembering-the-golden-age-of-petz-hexing/)* Petz: A lost community of mostly female coders/gamers (https://medium.com/@melissamcewen/petz-a-lost-community-of-mostly-female-coders-gamers-2eb0e1a73f42)* Carolyn's Creations (http://fleabagz.net/carolyn/)And for more on the Petz AI, I thought these were interesting:* Socially Intelligent Virtual Petz (http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~benres/verbiage/Socially%20Intelligent%20Virtual%20Petz.htm)* Creating Emotional Relationships With Virtual Characters (https://web.archive.org/web/20160412174136/http://www.interactivestory.net/papers/stern_emotionartifacts1999.html)* Virtual Babyz: Believable Agents with Narrative Intelligence (https://web.archive.org/web/20160412201407/http://www.interactivestory.net/papers/PetzAndBabyz.html)* (Also take a good look at what one of the Dogz/Catz developers did next (https://web.archive.org/web/20160611045248/http://www.interactivestory.net).)Support comes from my Patreon backers, with special credit to my three $10+ backers Vivek Mohan, Wade Tregaskis, and Simon Moss. Thanks fellas!To learn more about my book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, head to its official website secrethistoryofmacgaming.com (https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com).Music and SFX credits:Two short clips from Night Trap's 1993 3DO versionExcerpt from 1993 Senate Committee Hearings, via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJVnL484jbk)And everything else is my own work.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG (https://twitter.com/LifeandTimesVG)Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg (https://instagram.com/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 (which means more time to produce the show) viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)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 (RadioPublic.com) for more info.
Episode 9 - Midwinter

Episode 9 - Midwinter

2018-03-2700:30:32

On the late Mike Singleton and the importance of Midwinter and The Lords of Midnight, his two great works. After switching from high school English teaching to professional game development in the 1980s, Mike quickly rose to the top of the industry. His games pushed the limits of what was possible, and he routinely crafted worlds that were way ahead of their time. Here, based on archival research and old magazine interviews, I present part of his incredible story. This episode was sponsored by Montcast, a new podcast focused on video game news and eSports. You can check it out at TwitchClub on twitchclub.com/montcast (http://twitchclub.com/montcast) or subscribe on all the usual channels.Support also comes from my Patreon backers, with special credit going to my two $10+ backers Wade Tregaskis and Simon Moss. Thanks fellas! Music and SFX credits:The 49th Street Galleria (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Undercover_Vampire_Policeman/05_-_The_49th_Street_Galleria_1620), Readers! Do You Read? (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Reappear/02_-_Readers_Do_You_Read), and Out of the Skies, Under the Earth (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Reappear/03_-_Out_of_the_Skies_Under_the_Earth) by Chris ZabriskieAudio recordings from MidwinterAnd everything else is my own work.The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.games (http://lifeandtimes.games)Twitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: 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 viaPatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreon (http://lifeandtimes.games/patreon)or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc (https://paypal.me/mossrc)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 (http://RadioPublic.com) for more info.
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