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Kickstarting Free Software

I meant to respond in more depth to a part of my last segment with Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, but a cold and a massive time crunch (plus an unstoppable Civ 5 binge) kept me from appending to the video. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a blog post, so I’ll just sketch out my response here instead.

First, a bit of history. As some long-time followers know, I used to be something of a cheerleader for the free software movement, doing cover features for Free Software Magazine and writing articles on it for Armchair Arcade. At the time, I was convinced that GNU/Linux was the future I wanted to fight for, and that anything other than 100% free software was unethical. To put it short, I had drunk the Kool-Aid.

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Matt Chat Interviews John Cutter with Transcript

Hi, folks! Here’s the playlist and transcript for my interview with John Cutter. Enjoy, and thanks for supporting Matt Chat!

 

Matt:     Hi, folks. I am here with the great John Cutter, Employee #1 at a company called CinemaWare, which I’m sure you’ve heard of if you had an Amiga when you were growing up. He’s worked on classics such as Defender of the Crown, TV Sports, and one of my favorites, King of Chicago. He’s also worked for New World Computing and Dynamix, where he was lead designer on Betrayal of Krondor. He’s also served nine years as the creative director at Big Fish games. How are you doing today, John?

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Was Sir-Tech’s Wizardry A Rip-Off of Oubliette?

I was writing a chapter about one of my favorite silver-age CRPGs, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord today. It’s been awhile since I dug into the research, and was intrigued by one of CRPG Addict’s posts about its key inspiration, Oubliette. Oubliette was one of many highly innovative and ahead-of-their-time games for the PLATO system, which has been on my mind since my most recent interview with Richard Bartle, the main main responsible for MUD (forthcoming on Matt Chat). Bartle got pretty animated when the subject of PLATO came up. In his opinion, the influence of PLATO and its games is highly exaggerated. In his case, apparently people tend to claim or insinuate that he himself was inspired to create MUD after playing some MUD-like games on the system, though he’d never even heard of it.

Real-time combat! Or, at least timed combat...

Died on my first encounter. Yep, this definitely smacks of Wizardry!!!

Of course, in my interview with Robert Woodhead (co-creator of Wizardry), the subject of PLATO came up, too. Woodhead was very passionate about how influential PLATO had been, and as far as I know never made a secret of his passion for several PLATO games, including Oubliette, whose influence on Wizardry is clear to see (as CRPG Addict makes clear). Anyway, I noticed some pretty heated comments on CRPG Addict’s post, including some from Corey Cole, co-designer of Quest for Glory. Cole pointed out that basically there was no wrongdoing here, since the development context of Oubliette was entirely different (even though its designers did go on later to attempt a few commercial releases, one for the C64 and a more recent one for mobiles). In any case, I do have to agree with CRPG Addict that it’s a little odd that there wasn’t even a slight nod to the original game to be seen.

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Matt Chat Interviews Paul Neurath

Hi, folks! Here’s the transcript of my interview with the great Paul Neurath of Otherside Entertainment. Paul is a living legend among game developers, with a long list of innovative and much-loved titles, including Ultima Underworld, Flight Unlimited, Thief, System Shock, Terra Nova, and now, Underworld Ascendent. Watch below or click the read more to see the transcription.

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How to Watch Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution

Since I keep getting requests from individuals curious about my movie, Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution, I thought I’d make a post with links to all the various ways you can watch this masterpiece of modern cinema. Here’s what distinguished film critic Tyler Yates of Red Carpet Crash has to say about it:

‘Gameplay’ is one of the best (if not the best) documentaries on the videogame revolution. It just hits the phenomenon from so many different angles and puts so much work and passion into its presentation. Also, it features a lot of old school videogame play AND commercials. This is definitely a movie to check out, learn a little something, and get nostalgic over.

It’s not yet available on disc or Netflix. But there are plenty of great options:

  1. Google Play (Rent: $3.99, Buy: $9.99 $5.99)
  2. iTunes ($12.99)
  3. Amazon Instant ($4.99-$9.99)
  4. Xbox Video (Rent: $3.99, Buy $8.99)
  5. Vudu (Rent: $4.99, Buy $9.99)
  6. PlayStation (Rent: $3.99,  Buy: $14.99)
  7. Vimeo (Rent: $4.99, buy $12.99)

If you’re not based in the USA, try the Vimeo version first. I have reports that it’s working in Germany and at least two other countries.

I recommend that you select an HD version for a big screen, but the SD versions are significantly cheaper.

In any case, please watch the film if you haven’t already, and let me know what you think! I really think you’ll like this one a lot better than most of the other videogame docs out there.

 

Matt Chat 50: Al Lowe Part II (Repost)

Hi, all. Since FOX has apparently been cracking down on any and all YouTube videos with even a few seconds of their precious content, YouTube has blocked this Matt Chat worldwide. That’s right, not even Tasmanians can watch this bit of interview with the creator of Al Lowe. Thanks to Shane Stacks, however, I also have this website, where I can post the videos without blockage. Enjoy!

Download the mp4 here.

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