The Life & Times of Video Games

By The HP Video Game Podcast Network

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Reviews: 1

David
 Jan 7, 2019
Notable guests. Well edited. Interesting glimpses into parts of the industry. Not really educational, but interesting bits of history and some lessons from experience. Host has an odd voice, but it adds drama to the stories.

Description

<p>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.</p>

Episode Date
20 - RealSound™ and Voice Characterisations
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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 Orchestra Explosion Crowd noise Continental Airlines ad from 1969 Game 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 work Thanks 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 Games PayPal donations (any amount) — paypal.me/mossrc Patreon subscription (minimum $1 a month) — https://www.patreon.com/lifeandtimesofvideogames Breaker 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.
Nov 07, 2019
Interview: Tom Lenting (Games History of the Netherlands)
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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-lenting Tom 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.html My 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.
Oct 04, 2019
19 - Premier Manager
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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/youtube You 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/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 for more info.
Sep 03, 2019
Soundbite: Former Sega CEO Tom Kalinske on telling the US Senate games aren't "just for kids"
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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/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 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
Aug 15, 2019
18 - Hogs of War
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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/youtube You 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/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 for more info.
Jul 24, 2019
17 - Super Mario Kart
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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 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 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
Jul 01, 2019
16 - Sega Rally Championship
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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 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 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 Links: Amazon.com: sega rally
Jun 08, 2019
Soundbite: Henk Rogers on randomness and dilemmas in Tetris
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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 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 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
Jun 06, 2019
15 - The Boss Button
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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 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 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 Links: 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.
May 16, 2019
14 - Lode Runner
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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 media Website: lifeandtimes.games Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg YouTube: 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 or PayPal: 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 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 GOLD Play the authentic Lode Runner… this is the real deal! AWARD WINNING GAMEPLAY Lode 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.
May 01, 2019
Soundbite: Scott Kim shares a few secrets of puzzle design
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Legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim 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.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Feb 12, 2019
Bonus: Game devs on the impact of the original Mac
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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 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.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Feb 02, 2019
Episode 13 - Girl Games, Inc.
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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, 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. 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 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 on 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
Nov 23, 2018
Episode 12 - Microsoft Games
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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 delves into the Xbox, while volume 2 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. 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 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 on 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
Oct 31, 2018
Soundbite: Spotting "the magic" (Jon Kimmich, ex-Microsoft Games)
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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.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Aug 31, 2018
Episode 11 - Bomberman
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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 SzczepaniakEdge Magazine issue 6, March 1994Edge Magazine issue 17, February 1995Game Players magazine issue 22, April 1991Game Developers Magazine issue 1,RETRO magazine issue 6The One magazine issue 81, July 1995Edge Magazine issue 67, January 1999multiple pages from Ragey's Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine PlaceThe Complete History of Bomberman - Tired Old HackGames Nobody Talks About Anymore: Eric and the Floaters - Den of GeekRetro Gamer Magazine issues 66 and 67 (they have a two-part history of Hudson Soft)Computer & Video Games Magazine issue 34, August 1984CRASH Magazine, July 1984Sinclair User, July 1984The 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 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 on 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
Jul 19, 2018
Episode 10 - Dogz
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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 HexingPetz: A lost community of mostly female coders/gamersCarolyn's CreationsAnd for more on the Petz AI, I thought these were interesting: Socially Intelligent Virtual PetzCreating Emotional Relationships With Virtual CharactersVirtual Babyz: Believable Agents with Narrative Intelligence(Also take a good look at what one of the Dogz/Catz developers did next.)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. Music and SFX credits: Two short clips from Night Trap's 1993 3DO versionExcerpt from 1993 Senate Committee Hearings, via YouTubeAnd everything else is my own work. The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: 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) via Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: 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. Support The Life & Times of Video Games Links: The Secret History of Mac Gaming: Richard Moss - AmazonAmazon.com: Night Trap: 25 Years Later — Explore the history of the ground-breaking Full Motion Video (FMV) game, Night Trap, in this documentary brought to you by My Life in Gaming.
Jun 14, 2018
Episode 9 - Midwinter
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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. Support 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, Readers! Do You Read?, and 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 media Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: 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/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcCan'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
Mar 27, 2018
Episode 8 - The Tomb Raider grid (part 2)
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Continuing the story from Part 1, this is how the original Tomb Raider's grid-based engine/level editor impacted on the series, on Lara Croft's rise to fame, and on the shifting sands of blockbuster game development. This episode also discusses the place that such a grid system has — or might have — in game design today. Featuring input from former Core Design artists and level designers Heather Stevens and Andy Sandham as well as programmer Gavin Rummery. Related links: The Tomb Raider Grid (part 1)"It felt like robbery": Tomb Raider and the fall of Core Design, my article for Ars TechnicaRaiding the Fan-Made Tombs of Lara Croft, my article for Rock Paper Shotgun on the level editing communityVideo of 20th anniversary panel at Play Expo 2016, organised by Ash Kaprielov and featuring several people who worked on the series (including Heather and Gavin)TRLE.net, the central hub of the custom levels communityLevel Editing Forum, discussion boards for the custom levels community (lots of cool projects ongoing)Tomb Raider 1 for iOS (I get a small cut of the sale price if you buy via this link)Tomb Raider 2 for iOS (likewise)My affiliate link to buy Rise of the Tomb Raider on Amazon — Xbox One, PS4My affiliate link for to a Tomb Raider video game search on Amazon Music credits: Selected portions of the original soundtracks from Tomb Raider 1 and Tomb Raider 2, composed by Nathan McCreeAnd everything else is my own work. The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: 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/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes or whatever podcasting service you use. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. There's also now another way to help, and that's to listen via the RadioPublic app. It's free to use on both Apple and Android devices and you can easily import all of your existing subscriptions from another all. And the best thing is that it's from a not-for-profit company that's working to make the podcasting ecosystem more sustainable, which means that, among other things, when you listen, I get paid. So check it out. Head to radiopublic.com to find out more, and subscribe or listen via lifeandtimes.games/radiopublic. Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Feb 18, 2018
Episode 7 - The Tomb Raider Grid (part 1)
1995
Every aspect of the original Core Design Tomb Raider series (and by extension the franchise's success post-Core) comes back to the grid that lies beneath it — the majority of the puzzles; the platforming; the cavernous chambers and ruins and outdoor areas that provide a sense of isolation, of solitude and discovery; and Lara Croft's iconic acrobatic movement style.  And yet it never would have happened if not for one pragmatic choice made by a programmer early in the game's development. This is the story of how that came to be, and how it made Tomb Raider…well, Tomb Raider, based on interviews with Heather Stevens (née Gibson) and Gavin Rummery as well as my past work covering Tomb Raider's history as a freelancer. Nathan McCree has an album coming out soon called the Tomb Raider Suite that contains fully orchestrated renditions from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of reworked material from the first three Tomb Raider games, recorded at Abbey Road Studios. You can learn more about it here. The original Tomb Raider game is available digitally on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3 and Vita, and mobile through several different storefronts. If you buy the HD-ified iOS version via lifeandtimes.games/tr1-ios then I'll get a small cut of the sale price. (It's actually the best version, provided you have an external gamepad you can use.) Music credits: Selected portions of the original soundtrack from Tomb Raider 1, composed by Nathan McCreeAnd everything else is my own work. The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: 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/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. Support The Life & Times of Video Games Links: Tomb Raider I on the App Store — LARA’S BACK FOR MORE CLASSIC ACTION! We’re going back to where it all began for one of the most famous video games of all time. That’s right, Tomb Raider I is now available for your iPad and iPhone in all its ORIGINAL glory. We've not messed about with it, so it’s the full, unedited, unadulterated experience from the classic release at a super-low price. How better to find out if you've still got what it takes to beat a legendary game than by taking on the lost city of Atlantis and the pyramids of Egypt? It’s probably not for the faint of heart!
Dec 23, 2017
Episode 6 - ROM Hack
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At the dawn of emulation and the World Wide Web, a group of fans discovered the Nintendo and Super Nintendo games that never made it over from Japan. One of them decided to hack into a few of these and translate them, unofficially, with help from some friends -- starting with Final Fantasy II for the NES. Featuring quotes from Steve Demeter, founder of one of the first fan translation groups, Demiforce, who was the driving force behind three high-profile ROM hacks -- the Final Fantasy II and Radical Dreamers translation projects, and the Earthbound Zero prototype release. Relevant links: romhacking.netFinal Fantasy II Demiforce translation patchRadical Dreamers Demiforce translation patchSpotlight: Earthbound on Lost LevelsDrymouthIf you're looking to try out console game emulation, I recommend OpenEmu (Mac-only) or RetroArch. ROMs are easy enough to find, although I should note that downloading ROMs of commercial games is probably illegal in your jurisdiction. Music Credits: Main Theme and Castle Pandemonium from Final Fantasy II (composed by Nobuo Uematsu)'Requiem ~ dream shore' and 'Far Promise ~ Dream Shore' from Radical Dreamers (composed by Yasunori Mitsuda)Scars of Time from Chrono Cross (composed by Yasunori Mitsuda)Seeker by Kai EngelAnd a bunch of my own stuff 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 via Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes or whatever podcast platform you prefer. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Nov 11, 2017
[Soundbite] Mark Ferrari on gatekeepers and a cancelled X-Men game
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The story of a cancelled X-Men TV controller game, as told by former LucasArts illustrator Mark Ferrari, who is a world-renowned and innovative pixel artist responsible for popularising multiple graphical techniques — including dithering, colour cycling, and palette shifting. And an inside look at the downside of having marketing-focused gatekeepers in charge of what products hit store shelves. Music by Kai Engel, Lee Rosevere, and Evan Schaeffer. You can listen to the episode I made on Mark's graphical innovations, which doesn't include this story, at lifeandtimes.games. And you can see a few screenshots of the cancelled X-Men game at his website, markferrari.com. It's under 8-bit Game Art Volume 2. Mark worked recently on a spiritual successor to Maniac Mansion called Thimbleweed Park, along with other LucasArts alums Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, and David Fox. If you buy the iOS version via the link lifeandtimes.games/thimbleweedpark, I get a small cut of the sale price. It's also available on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media Website: lifeandtimes.games Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg YouTube: 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 or PayPal: paypal.me/mossrc Please remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes or whatever podcast platform you use. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too.Support The Life & Times of Video GamesLinks:Thimbleweed Park on the App Store — A brand new adventure game from Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of the classics Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion! Play as five characters to uncover the surreal mystery of Thimbleweed Park -- a town where a dead body is the least of your problems.
Nov 03, 2017
Episode 5 - FIFA 3DO
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A story from the dawn of 3D sports games, and the forgotten link between the 16-bit isometric and 32-bit 3D EA Sports games — this is how FIFA 3DO transformed the way sport was represented in video games. Music Credits: Lee Rosevere - And So Then, Theme from Penguins on Parade, and Old Regrets from the album Music for Podcasts 3, and Small Steps and More On That Later from the album Music for Podcasts 4Ondrosik - Love is Over, Interlude, Crazy, and Etude from the album Nostalgic and ProcrastinationRevolution Void - Time Flux, How Exciting, and The Narrative Changes from the album The Politics of DesirePaleste2 from the Free 20s Jazz Collection on Archive.orgAnd a few bits of my own stuffThe 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 via Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Oct 23, 2017
Episode 4 - Bug Salad
2041
How a marketing guy at shareware game publisher Ambrosia Software ended up eating bugs in front of hundreds of people at Macworld New York 2000. If you have an old PowerPC Mac or the Sheepshaver emulator, you can get Escape from Jason Whong via VintageAppleMac.com. Almost all of Ambrosia's games are still available for purchase direct from the Ambrosia Software website. You can learn more about my book The Secret History of Mac Gaming at Unbound, and if you missed the original campaign you can preorder the special edition on Kickstarter. (All Unbound backers will also receive the special edition.) Cover image incorporates a photo by Frank Caratozzolo. You can find more of his Macworld NY 2000 photos at http://web.archive.org/web/20020519205631/http://www.utterer.com:80/content/macworld/mwny00/photos.shtml Music Credits: Evan Schaeffer - Tulip Poplars, Anthem, and Big Tree from the album Glow, and Mantra and Graze from the album Big SpashJesse Spillane - Dum Dum Conundrum from The Maddening Parade and No Disclaimer from Art of PresentationKai Engel - Passages from the album The RunOndrosik - Love is Over, Interlude, Crazy, and Etude from the album Nostalgic and ProcrastinationRevolution Void - Outer Orbit and The Narrative Changes from the album The Politics of DesireGoto80 and the Uwe Schenk Band - Cable Swingin' Ferret from the album The Ferret ShowAnd a few bits of my own stuffThe 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 via Patreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonor PayPal: paypal.me/mossrcPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Oct 15, 2017
Episode 3 - Colour Cycling
1966
This is the story of illustrator Mark Ferrari, whose artwork was so good it forced Lucasfilm Games to figure out how to make a graphics technique called dithering compress to fit on floppy disks — in the process winning awards and triggering the use of dither in the wider games industry — and who pioneered the use of two background illustration tricks that gave the illusion of animation. He became world-renowned for his colour cycling and palette shifting techniques, which could be used to make a single computer illustration appear alive. You can see a collection of Mark's artwork — including his coloured pencil illustrations as well as his computer graphics — at his website markferrari.com. Gary Winnick has some of his past work viewable at garyart.net. Thimbleweed Park is available for nearly every current computer and game console. If you buy the iOS version through lifeandtimes.games/thimbleweedpark, I'll get a small cut of the sale price. Music Credits: Evan Schaeffer - Tulip Poplars, Anthem, and Big Tree from the album Glow, and Mantra and Graze from the album Big SpashLee Rosevere - Sad Marimba Planet, More On That Later, Southside, and What's Behind the Door from the album Music for Podcasts 4Kai Engel - Seeker, Run, and Denouement from the album The RunThe ending from LoomAnd a few bits of my own stuffThe Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social mediaWebsite: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtubePatreon: lifeandtimes.games/patreonPlease remember to subscribe and to leave a review on iTunes. A small donation of a few bucks a month on Patreon would go a long way, too, and it'd get you a bit of cool bonus content here and there on a private podcast feed. Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Oct 01, 2017
[Soundbite] Steve Capps on online social gaming and Bill Gates playing Bridge
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Steve Capps, one of the creators of the Macintosh and a Microsoft executive in the 1990s, tells a story from his days of working alongside Bill Gates. Unused material from an interview conducted while researching my upcoming book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, which is publishing in 2018 (during northern hemisphere Spring/southern hemisphere Autumn). More info about the book at unbound.com/books/macgaming. Music from this soundbite comes from a collection of 1920s jazz recordings available at archive.org/details/Free_20s_Jazz_Collection. To support The Life & Times of Video Games, and to ensure you don't miss any future soundbites or other bonus content, please make a monthly donation via Patreon. Details at lifeandtimes.games/patreon. Don't forget to also rate and review the show on iTunes or whatever podcast service you use. The show is on Twitter @LifeandTimesVG.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Sep 22, 2017
Episode 2 - Airfight
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The story of the one of the earliest flight simulator games, Airfight, a favourite among the PLATO community back in 1973, based on an interview with its creator. Airfight was a multiplayer flight combat sim with wireframe graphics and real-time chat, and it was an influence on the first home computer flight simulator, subLOGIC's fittingly-named 1980 game Flight Simulator for the Apple II and TRS-80. Related links: Ars Technica article on PLATO games: lifeandtimes.games/arsplatofeatureThe Friendly Orange Glow by Brian Dear, out November 14 2017: friendlyorangeglow.comto order Kindle or physical editions from Amazon using my affiliate link, go to lifeandtimes.games/platobookamazonor to order the iBook edition from iTunes using my affiliate link, go to lifeandtimes.games/platobookappleCyber1: cyber1.orgMusic Credits: All music written/composed by me, except: Evan Schaeffer - Riser from the album GlowEvan Schaeffer - Portal and Insurmountable from the album Big SplashSymphonie inachevee de Franz Schubert - archive.org/details/SymphonieInacheveeDeFrantzSchubert1920s jazz recordings - archive.org/details/Free_20s_Jazz_CollectionThe Life & Times of Video Games on the Web: Official site: lifeandtimes.games Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG YouTube: lifeandtimes.games/youtube Patreon: patreon.com/lifeandtimesofvideogames You can support the show by leaving a review on iTunes, sharing it with a friend or colleague, or donating via Patreon — where you can get extended interviews and other bonus content, along with interruption-free and ad-free episodes in a patron-only RSS feed. If we can get to at least $350 a month on Patreon, I'll be able to commit to a second 13-episode season to follow soon after this one. So whaddya say? Are you with me? Sign up here: lifeandtimes.games/patreon. Support The Life & Times of Video Games Links: The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture: Brian Dear: 9781101871553: Amazon.com: Books The Friendly Orange Glow by Brian Dear on iBooks
Sep 15, 2017
[Extended Interview] Jon Jordan on the evolution of iOS gaming and the App Store
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[re-uploaded as mono] An extended interview with Pocket Gamer co-founder Jon Jordan, who these days writes mostly about the business of mobile games at Pocket Gamer's sister site PocketGamer.biz. These full interview postings will normally be for Patreon backers only, but since I've only just launched the show I thought it'd be good to give you a taste of what you'll be getting when you make a monthly pledge of $3 or more. We covered a lot of ground in the interview — far more than I could fit into the Race to the Bottom episode. And Jon had some great insights into how the business and design of iOS gaming has evolved over time. Listen for talk about how surprising it was to see the iPhone become a great games platform, what the early days of iPhone gaming were like, how the business and design of iOS gaming has evolved over time, and what's likely to be in store for the future of the App Store. If you'd like to hear more of these extended interviews, please sign up as a Patreon backer at lifeandtimes.games/patreon. I'll be posting them throughout the season, along with various other bits of bonus content.Support The Life & Times of Video Games
Sep 10, 2017
Episode 1 - Race to the bottom
1963
In the early days of the iPhone App Store, game developers found themselves locked in a race to a $0.99 price point that none of them wanted to become standard. This is the story of how that happened, and how it affected mobile games going forward. Featuring interviews with Pocket Gamer and Pocket Gamer.biz co-founder Jon Jordan and Brian Greenstone, the main man behind Enigmo and Airwings developer Pangea Software — the most successful early iPhone game developer and one of only two companies to have five apps simultaneously in the top 10 best-selling paid apps chart. Brian Greenstone retired from app development last year; he now sells fine minerals and fossils. Music for this episode came from Slovakian composer Ondrosik's album Nostalgic and Procastination and chiptunes artist Visager's two Songs from an Unmade World albums. The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web:  Official site: lifeandtimes.games Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG Patreon: patreon.com/lifeandtimesofvideogames You can support the show by leaving a review on iTunes, sharing it with a friend or colleague, or donating via Patreon — where you can get extended interviews and other bonus content, along with interruption-free and ad-free episodes in a patron-only RSS feed. If we can get to at least $350 a month on Patreon, I'll be able to commit to a second 13-episode season to follow soon after this one. So whaddya say? Are you with me? Sign up here: lifeandtimes.games/patreon. Support The Life & Times of Video Games Links: Air Wings® on the App Store — Air Wings® By Pangea Software • Online multiplayer paper airplane battles! • AirPlay support! • Game Controller support! Enigmo on the App Store — Enigmo By Pangea Software, Inc. • NETWORKED MULTIPLAYER MODE WITH GAME CENTER! • Voted "Best iPhone Game" at Apple's WWDC '08 • 2008 Austin GDC Independent Games Festival Showcase Winner!Cro-Mag Rally on the App Store — Cro-Mag Rally By Pangea Software, Inc • NETWORKED MULTIPLAYER RACING! Race other players on any device that supports Game Center. • Game Controller support! • Play in true HD on your HDTV via Airplay!
Sep 05, 2017