Preserving Game History: "I'm Too Busy" Developers

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Matt Barton's picture

I've recently been having a hell of a time getting anyone from a very influential developer to consent to an interview for an upcoming GamaSutra feature article on a legendary IF series. The general consensus seems to be, "Look, I've already done hundreds of other interviews, I've moved on from that game, I don't have time for this." While I can certainly sympathize with this attitude, and recognize how irritating it must be to have one's later triumphs ignored in favor of an early one, I'm still miffed. It seems to me that the whole point of the feature is to celebrate the series, explore its heritage, and further secure its rightful place in the videogame hall of fame. In cases like this, I almost feel the developers have an obligation to further those ends, and if that means dealing with repetitive questions, so what? (note: There wouldn't be from me, because I'd take the time to review previous interviews). Heck, it's no different than what famous book authors, artists, or musicians go through on a daily basis.

But some (who knows how many?) legendary game developers are just "too busy" to do this sort of work, and that concerns me. What scares me is that many of these developers are getting on in years, and what interviews have been done tend to be basic or even naive ("Why didn't you use graphics?" and so on). What we need to see are in-depth interviews from people who know the games and the history exceedingly well; people who know the right questions to ask.

At any rate, I'm just venting off some steam here. Hopefully I'll be able to get at least one member of the dev team to respond to my requests for interviews. Otherwise, I'm sorely tempted to just move on to my history of MUDs. That'd be a shame, because so many of the interviews I have read tend to leave you thinking more along the lines of, "Ah, they really blew it with that stupid database app," than with a true appreciation for their incredible influence on the game industry. I'm asking developers to be more open to interviewers and take a more active role in preserving the legacy of their games.


yakumo9275's picture
Joined: 12/26/2006

scott adams seems to be good at responding. he even responds to mere mortal emails :)
meretzky seems to be pretty good on that front too. not sure about lebling or blank.

heck, SA even sanctioned a new compo to rewrite Ghost Town on raif recently...

tracking some of the level9 or mag scrolls folks down might be hard.
so too the original hobbit authors from beam (beam still exists but its not 'beam').

-- Stu --

Mat Tschirgi (not verified)
Yeah, getting people to

Yeah, getting people to agree to interviews can be tough.

A long time ago when I ran a now-defunct website called E-Boredom I sent out e-mail interview queries to all the major GAG developers from Sierra (Roberta Williams, Al Lowe, Scott Murphy, etc) and the only one to agree with Al Lowe, designer of the Leisure Suit Larry series. The others really just didn't respond. I guess it's their perogative, but it's kinda frustrating. :(

By the way, Matt, can you give me a call? I lost my old phone numbers when I had to change to a new cell phone lately. Thanks! :)

=- Mat Tschirgi =- Armchair Arcade Editor

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