My Interview with Arnold Hendrick, Darklands Designer

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Welcome back to Matt Chat! This three-part episode features the first-ever video interview with Arnold Hendrick, the award-winning designer of Microprose's Darklands. The interview covers his background and interest in military history, the ups and downs of Darklands' developments, what it was like working with Sid Meier, and the tragic bug that robbed Darklands of its deserved financial success and sequels.

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Bill Loguidice
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Indeed, to have a budget! By

Indeed, to have a budget! By the way, are you watching Netflix on your Wii these days? It's nice that there's parity with the 360 now that the Wii and PS3 have onboard Netflix too (Netflix seems to do everything right as a business these days). We've been watching our nightly family Futurama sessions via the PS3 of late and other than being low res for a few seconds, it kicks into and stay in high quality mode for the remainder.

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Matt Barton
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Funny you should ask, I just

Funny you should ask, I just used it a few nights ago (I was installing Windows 7 on my main and had to watch it on the TV). I used the disc, though, mostly because I didn't want to have to mess with it. But it did stream Babylon 5 perfectly.

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Bill Loguidice
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Netflix Wii
Matt Barton wrote:

Funny you should ask, I just used it a few nights ago (I was installing Windows 7 on my main and had to watch it on the TV). I used the disc, though, mostly because I didn't want to have to mess with it. But it did stream Babylon 5 perfectly.

Definitely download the app when you get a chance. It's free in the store and takes up only a handful of storage blocks (I installed mine to an SD card as an exercise, but if you don't have much on your main system, it's no big deal to put it there).

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clok1966
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Agrred the age thing... Im

Agrred the age thing... Im one of the Lucky (hehe if you call it that) singel guys, so my income is not used by anybody but me.. I keep dableing in GF's (which are a money/time drain, but it is nice to have sombody to sit and watch a tv show with and have those "deep" converstations with).

One thing, I know while back you where talking about rating Podcast to get some interest. To date i have listend to 2 podcasts ever. So Sunday while football was on I fired up ITUNES and checked out the 3rd edition.

CAUTION- opinions follow
As I mentioned I never got hooked on podcast, so my opinions may honeslty not matter to much, I'm not the average podcast listener, not the target audiance, other than i like old games. As we have been discussing here, length seems to be an issue. How do you put the info out there, keep people interested and not seem rushed, but do it fast enough people will listen to the whole thing? Sorry no answer to that. I listend to Matts part and some of Robs (sorry if i mix up names, Matt is the face I see the most in the youtube stuff so he is easy to remeber). The You tube stuff is almost perfect (IMHO). its about the right length, you have a great voice for this, you dont come off as too geeky (you have just the right amount, is that a complement or slam?) as alot of "game" based internet people sometimes do. I very much enjoy them all.

Now the podcasts, without the visuals my first thought when listening was: you seem to be pausing alot (even if they are only half seconds) and while I dont think you are actually trying to do it, it just seems like you are stretching some parts. Its like listening to somebody play a game over the phone and describe what they are doing.. you seem like you are doing something that has more of your attention the comments, sometimes the talking seem to be secondary to something you are doing (and it probebly is if you are looking at somthing while doing the cast). With that said, its not nearly as bad as I make it sound, and its quite possibly somthing I percieve and nobody else does. While I listened I wont lie, it seemed to long to me. I wont deny im a "instant gratification" type person. I prefer Asian action movies to american ones, they seem to know, even bad action is better then good "tough guy brooding".

I hope thats taken for what it was, an opinion and how I saw it. I would rate it a good 75.. I would for sure listen to more (and will). And sorry Rob, I only started listening to yours (and anybody after it forgive me also) but I quit when yours started, not becuase of anything but I was going to get in one last match of L4D2 before bed, I will be listening to yours next time I listen.

Netflix.. evil! I'm not a tv guy, last tv show I watched with any regularity was teh early Seasons of Simpsons, and Drew Carey Show. Right now i just finished Sanctuary (season 1 and 2), amd currently hitting Ereuka, and have X-files (still to this day have only seen 2 of them), and have several anima series and other shows qued up. I have it set up on my 360 and a Roku box (i was a beta tester on the Roku thing so been a Netflix addict for forever).

Matt Barton
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Thanks for the great

Thanks for the great commentary, Clok. I think I will definitely be moving my section to a later part of the show next time to give others the chance to hook the listeners. I probably do speak more slowly than typical podcasters, mostly because I'm an educator by profession and like to give everyone a chance to process what I've said before moving on to something else. That might not work out so well in the podcasting realm, though I could perhaps speed things up. Still, if you aren't a podcast listener, there will definitely be some incompatibilities with the format. For instance, all the podcast fans I know don't just listen and do nothing else. They typically listen to them on the bus, while jogging or exercising, or some other activity that keeps them busy. It's very difficult to listen to a podcast on your computer; the temptation is too strong to turn on Netflix, browse the web, or whatever, and then you lose track of what's being said. At that point, it's typically easier just to turn it off than to find the spot where you stopped paying attention and resume from there.

I listen to podcasts as a sleep aid. I keep an iPod touch on my side of the bed, and listen to a podcast or two. I find that it helps soothe my mind and makes it much easier to fall asleep (or at least to stop tossing and turning and irritating my wife). It's become such a habit that now I can't possibly sleep until I've heard at least one podcast (even if I'm *dog* tired). I do tend to avoid the loud and noisy podcasts, though, since that would probably just aggravate me. I prefer ones like Dan Carlin's Hardcore History and Brian Dunning's Skeptoid (I couldn't *possibly* recommend these two more strongly). They have very soothing yet energetic voices with just the right tempo. On the other hand, I quit listening to all the Leo Laporte podcasts. Even though I like to listen to him, there's just too many interruptions and noisy transitions. I also don't like the informal chat style podcasts, since those tend to be less organized and thus require more effort to keep track of the conversation.

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Bill Loguidice
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I play many podcasts at 2x

I play many podcasts at 2x speed on my iPhone, though the ones I really want to focus on I play at 1x. I enjoy many of the Laporte Twit podcasts, though there are too many of them; I wish I could pick and choose the ones I subscribe to rather than subscribe in a big block. I too enjoy Skeptoid (as well as The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, which is roundtable style). Even though Dunning reads, he has a very good speaking voice and the subject matter is endlessly fascinating.

I agree about you putting your segment in a later part of the show Matt if you're the host; the same should be true for anyone who hosts. I love how we're constantly evolving this thing and we're only up to episode 3. As for speaking and pacing, it's all in being who we are and perfecting that I think. It's obvious that there's no common format/theme in even the best podcasts, so there really is no correct formula. People will find reasons to like us or not, it's that simple. No amount of tweaking or style changes will fix that.

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Rowdy Rob
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Time... and Arnold Hendrick!

I commented when you guys posted your very first AA Radio podcast that I thought it was the right length (approximately 1 hour), and that it should be kept about that length. I didn't say why, though, but this thread has covered many of the reasons I was thinking. I admit, though, that my reasons were based on my own sense of time and devotion, and my lifestyle or methods probably doesn't fit the typical podcast devotee. I don't jog in the summer (too hot), and my commute to work is less than five minutes, so there's not a lot of non-computer-oriented free time I have to listen to podcasts in general. I guess I have adult-onset ADD, and Matt hit the nail directly on the head about all the distractions that can occur when sitting in front of the computer, and your personal mood at the time when the episode is released.

This hit home this week with the latest "Matt Chat" episode. If you count all three parts as one episode, this is the first week that I haven't immediately watched an entire Matt Chat episode! It's not that anything was wrong; it's the same great Matt Chat, the same great host, a great subject (either great game or great interview), excellent production values, etc. Yet, as of this moment, I still haven't viewed part III. And I'm a big Matt Chat devotee! So what am I doing here, posting on AA, and not watching Matt Chat?

Part of that is because the episode's parts were not released all in the same night. I excitedly watched the first part, then discovered the next night that a "Part II" was available, but I had a backlog of Youtube subscriptions and email to catch up on, so it wasn't until the next night after that I watched part II (and part I over again), and then... a third part was released soon after, but I've been distracted by MAJOR events in my life (GOOD things, for once!). I still haven't watched part III yet! Gasp! That's absolutely unthinkable to me, since I await with baited breath each week for a new episode of Matt Chat. Matt Chat is an addiction, so why didn't even I watch part III yet? And of course I will, but as my post right here demonstrates, I'm distracted; I want to keep up with Armchair Arcade, too, to see what's new! I know part III is still there waiting for me, and I'll get to it before I sleep tonight.

Podcasts are a tough animal, at least for the listener(s). I can't deal with most podcasts. I like Shane Monroe's, and I like Armchair Arcade's, but others I've heard, like "Retrogame Roundup" that Bill often promotes here, are just too long, to the point I can't make it through a whole episode, and CERTAINLY not in one sitting. It's a shame, because I have no real issues with much of what I've heard, with quality commentaries and good topics. I could transfer the episode to my MP3 player, but even then, who listens to their MP3 player for 3 hours? Who jogs or drives for three hours? The average listener has no choice but to listen to the show in short, segmented bursts. If you don't agree with me, then think of this, AA Admins: Bill promotes "Retrogaming Roundup," but do any of the rest of you listen to the whole episode in one sitting, if at all? I would be surprised if you did.

Yes, you tell yourself you'll get back to it, but then... oh wow, a new Matt Chat! Gotta see that! Ok, now to get back to the podcast, but Oh my gosh, the Chilean miners are free! Oh what? There was a plane crash in Zaire? Oh my gosh, Lindsay Lohan did what this week? Oh, I gotta answer the phone.... what, you need me to bail you out of jail? Ok, after I play this cool new videogame I bought, but oh, "Iron Man 2" just came out on DVD, and..... so forth and so on. And this doesn't include my social life, which takes varying chunks of my time (this week... a lot!). And I don't even have a family.... how do people with families have the time?

You guys (and gals) are adults, and are gamers. Your audience is adult gamers. Don't forget the "adult" part. Matt, your videos are great (my favorite thing on YouTube), but here's a general rule I would suggest. Game reviews/highlights/commentaries gets ONE episode, and interviews get TWO episodes.

I don't think adults have ADD in the same sense as teenagers, it's more forced on us by circumstances than anything. Keep in mind that your productions are by adults and for adults (or very smart, mature kids).

For the record, I liked "AA Radio" ep.3 very much, but I didn't want to comment on it because its' become a cliche; AA produces something major, "Rowdy Rob" comments, "AA" does something else, "Rowdy Rob" comments, etc. I realize that must have gotten tiresome from your end. And for the record, my experience was not at all like "Clok1966's" with Matt's portion of the show. Matt sounded awesome to me, highly animated, entertaining, and professional. I am not at all trying to invalidate or negate Clok1966's reaction, which is of course his honest, legitimate viewpoints that must be taken into account, but I did not have anywhere near the same reaction he did.

As for time.... it's a shame that time is so limited. Mr. Hendricks said something SO MINDBLOWING, SO CONTROVERSIAL in the first part of Matt Chat that I wanted to post immediately here that he is going against the grain of most of the viewpoints of general AA/Matt Chat fans on the subject of games. And his MINDBLOWING comment deserves as much argument here as this "time and length" discussion does, in my opinion. Maybe tommorow.

As for time.... Bill posted an AWESOME retort to my post on the "Facebook Privacy/Real Names" thread,. So powerful was he, that his argument actually took me by surprise. I must return fire, only because he is, ultimately, wrong! :-) Maybe tomorrow.

Then, in other major AA news, was Bill's interview with his local newspaper. Great stuff, and I want to comment on that! Maybe tomorrow.

See, it's already way past my bedtime just to post this one message!!! Time... if only there was a pause button in life.

Matt Barton
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Excellent thoughts as always,

Excellent thoughts as always, Rob. I'm amazed that you somehow still think your comments bore or offend us. Think of them more like leaving a tip; you enjoyed the program, so share that with us. After all, we don't get paid in any other way!

As for the wider discussion, I am certainly aligning with the view that too much of anything is still too much. We've had a lot of back and forth behind the scenes about the length of the podcast, and most of us have the idea that it needs to be as long as it needs to be. I am also put off by the huge length of RGR, but Bill and others have pointed out that they do clearly label the times of each segment, so you can skip around as you want. There are also shows that I wish were even longer (such as Hardcore History) and shows I wish were snipped and tucked a bit (Skeptic's Guide to the Universe). When you ignore time restrictions altogether, there's a tendency to allow lots of empty air time, and that (IMO) is not very respectful of the listener's time. One thing about Matt Chat is that I always have to pick and choose the best bits for the show. That means that I end up cutting a lot of what most people (not all, but most) would find tedious. The irony is that the parts I end up snipping would probably be the most satisfying to a very small part of the audience (the hardcore of the hardcore, who find fine technical details and such endlessly absorbing), but the majority would be reaching for their mouse to check Facebook.

Still, I doubt I'll be able to change anyone's minds about the length of the podcast, and I must agree with Bill that it is just too easy to skip a segment or pause and come back if you so choose. There's absolutely no reason to have to listen to it all in one sitting; you should break it up. It might be somewhat irritating to have to do this, but surely it's not a deal breaker. I know I *often* pause a podcast and come back to it the next day, sometimes backing it up a bit to refresh my memory. There's also the fact that it's a monthly program; obviously, if we were doing this each week it would be much, much shorter. So think of it as a month's worth of podcasting rolled into one program.

In any case, I will probably be doing an interview for the next podcast (you won't believe who has agreed to drop in!). Therefore, I can't promise it will be a tight 15 minutes. But I will definitely keep my "monologues" limited to 15 minutes from now on, even if I have to gloss over things.

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Bill Loguidice
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I think you've touched on a

I think you've touched on a common theme in all our comments. Essentially, it's impossible to cater to each and every person's desires. Some want a short show that they can listen to quickly. Some want a long show that may require several sessions to listen to. Some want a show that's just on videogames. Some want a show that's not read. Etc. When you're not doing true narrowcasting (e.g., "We're the weekly 10 minute NES show!"), it's IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone in the potential audience, and in fact nearly everyone will have something they don't like for the simple fact of the matter it's not tailored exactly to their specific needs, which may even change from day-to-day or even moment-to-moment. I believe outside of technical tweaks, improving our acting, taking additional risks, etc., there's really nothing we can change in terms of things like time or subject matter that will ultimately make any difference. The same holds true for our video work as well. It is what it is. It's all Armchair Arcade and people should know what to expect. In short, I appreciate things like content criticism, but a lot of other things come down to personal preference and there's really not much we can do about it.

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clok1966
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one more thing , I mentioned

one more thing , I mentioned I was probebly not target demograph. I dont listen to podcast, I have tried a few times and most I had listened to are much to much like Friends haveing a BS session, fun for them, but kinda boring for the listener. After listening to AA show 3, I actually want to finish it, and listen ot the others. so While My ADULT ADD (I like that term Rob) had me quit after the first segment, I do plan on listen more. I would say that is a sign you are doing somthing right. A non Podcast listner is planning on trying it again. Though I must admit the subject matter is what compels me the most. I know im a product of my lifestyle. I DONT watch tv, never really have (as I have mentioned, really a couple seasons of Simpsons when it was new and maybe 2 years of Drew Carey, and that was becuase it was a family thing with the kids). I am the guy who has never watched any reality TV, never seen surviour, Americans got talent, etc.. I never know what anybody is talking about when they talk TV. Really the wrong type of guy to talk about pacing, even i know it, yet i was :)

I am fastinated by old video game history, I have spent hours reading the BLUE sky Rangers posts about the games for Intelvision and about them. I have also read pretty much every scrap I could find on the 2600 and the early Atari days. I love that stuff and cant get enough of it. So I love the interviews. Thats where I'm so conflicted, they could go forever for me and I would never get bored. So many people with different ways they like stuff. I think Bill is 100% right with his assement. No way to please everybody, just wont happen.

my clossing thoughts.. keep it up, I am a fan (the youtube stuff!), and may just be podcast fan too... my first taste, leaves me wanting more (of the AA stuff).

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