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?
Hi, guys. I’m back this month with a new audio podcast. I talk a bit about Pillars of Eternity and my Matt Chat fantasies before moving into an interview with Dan Nezmar of Team21, the company currently running the Dungeons of Aledorn kickstarter.
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:
Is it too soon to be worried about the 7DS kickstarter? I was really hoping it would blast on to success, and we’d already be talking stretch goals. Many successful Kickstarters I’ve seen hit 30 to 50% of their funding goal in the first few days; 7DS is lagging at 13%. Since the typical KS curve is bowl-shaped, you can see why this doesn’t bode well.
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!
Below is the transcript of an interview I did with Susan Manley, former lead artist and project manager for SSI and now a COO and Executive Producer for Olde Skuul. If you prefer to watch the videos, click below for the automated playlist of the entire series. Otherwise, enjoy!
Matt: Hi, folks, I’m here with the great Susan Manley, the COO and Executive Producer of Olde Skuul. Formerly, she was the lead artist and project manager of SSI, a company you’re probably familiar with if you watch this show. She was also the first ever project manager for internally developed projects for a little company named Electronic Arts. How are you today, Susan?
Susan: I am good. I think that I was employee 236, so we weren’t too small then.
Below is the transcript of an interview I did with Ed Fries. If you prefer to watch the videos, click the link below, which is a playlist that will take you through all of them. Otherwise, scroll down for the transcription!
If you want someone to transcribe your videos, shoot Max Shelton an email at writingmax at gmail dot com.
Matt: All right folks. I’m here with the legendary Ed Fries. The former Vice President of game publishing at Microsoft. He’s basically the guy who gave the thumbs up or down to the Xbox titles, and played a huge role in creating the Xbox. Does that sound about right? (laughs).
Ed: (Laughs) The older I get the more legendary I get. I noticed that. (laughs)
As you probably know, Retro Magazine is the coolest magazine in the world for folks interested in retrogaming. If you’re not already subscribed to it, I may have to come over to your place and slap you with a fish. For the next issue, I’ve been tapped by the editors to put to put together a feature article on spy games. Spy games? What the heck does Matt know about spy games? Sadly, not a lot! However, I’ve been giving myself a crash course in the genre and trying to get to know these characters:
Duke Togo (Golgo 13)
Gabriel Logan (Syphon Filter)
James Bond (GoldenEye N64)
Michael Thorton (Alpha Protocol)
Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)
Sadly, I only recognized one name from this list: Bond, James Bond! Thankfully, I have played all the way through GoldenEye, albeit on my DS rather than the N64 (though I’m pretty sure I own it for both). I’ve always been a James Bond fan–I grew up watching Roger Moore-era Bond movies that we rented from the local VHS place. The fact that the VCR came in a cool suitcase seemed appropriate for watching a secret agent movie!