Matt: All right folks I am here today with Anthony and Nicola Caulfield the husband and wife team behind the documentary From Bedrooms To Billions. Which I happen to have a copy of right here. Really nice cover on this. Now this covers the British side of the video game industry. Throughout I’d say the eight bit, before and up to the I guess everything up to the sixteen bit era?
Anthony: It actually goes all the way through to the present day. It speeds up a little bit through the sixteen bit era. There’s a reason for that.
Nicola: The film would have been about ten hours long.
Hi, all, thanks to my Patreon supporters, I’m able to post the following transcript to you free of charge. If you read this transcript with the great Alexey Pajitnov, please consider supporting my effort to preserve videogame history by visiting my Patreon page. I only ask $1 per episode.
Watch the interviews below; transcript follows.
Matt: Hi, folks, I’m here today with none other than Alexey Pajitnov. He is a computer engineer and game designer. He created one of the best-loved video games of all time, namely Tetris.
Alexey: I am fine.
Matt: Before we start diving into the history of Tetris and all that stuff, I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what you have been up to lately and what your plans are for the near future?
Alexey: I am a little bit of all dollerated for game industry so I can say that I am rather a bit tired over it, but I am still working perhaps small projects and that I might have a small team working for and of my partner, which was fun when we worked together. We do several games for apps store, they are there.
Hi, all! I just heard back from Sean, my editor at Focal Press. The manuscript has been received, and I’ll soon be assigned a production editor to get us to the finish line. I really think you guys and gals will LOVE this thing. I dug deep to find the stories, quotes, and context that will really suck you in.
Some of my favorite parts:
Shigeru Miyamoto’s development of Donkey Kong. What will you use the fire button for, Miyamoto? Fire button–what fire button???
Will Wright and Sid Meier’s struggle to get anyone to believe in their “stupid” ideas for SimCity and Civilization. Who in their right mind would want to play such boring games?
An anxiety-ridden Iwatani hiding out in a movie theater to see if any of the couples filing out would notice his bizarre arcade game–Pac-Man!
Grand Theft Auto was boring and full of glitches. But wait–one of them turned out to be its greatest feature!
A smug journalist told Sega’s Nilsen, “The Super Nintendo has 32,768 colors. Your Genesis only has 512. What are you going to do?” Nilsen pointed at a screen behind him, where Sonic the Hedgehog was playing. “That.”
I wish the book was out already! I can’t wait to see what you all think about it. For those wanting signed copies, keep in touch. I’ll keep you posted on publication dates and such.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Hi, all. Following is the transcript of my interview with the designers of Serpent in the Staglands.
Matt: Hi, folks, I’m here with Hanna and the lovely Joe Williams of Whalenought Studios. Now Hanna your expertise really speaks for itself, but Joe I have got to ask, come on now, are you a real gamer?