Matt Chat 92: Mail Order Monsters

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Matt Barton's picture

This week we take a look at Mail Order Monsters, the 8-bit classic designed by Paul Reiche III, Evan Robinson, and Nicky Robinson. If you think Pokémon was an original concept, check out this 1985 action strategy game from Electronic Arts. Design and evolve your corral of monsters, then pit them against the computer or friends on your Commodore 64 or Atari 400/800. It's loads of fun, but it ain't easy! Download the mp3 audio here or at iTunes.

Links mentioned in the show:
Game Banshee: http://www.gamebanshee.com/
RPG Codex: http://rpgcodex.net/
Tales of the Rampant Coyote: http://rampantgames.com

Comments

Troy Wilkins
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Joined: 06/19/2010
Thank you!

Thanks Matt for introducing me to yet another gaming gem I had not heard of before. This looks like a real gem, and reviews like this one are the reason I subscribed to your youtube channel quite some time ago.

Although that is not to say I don't also enjoy the interviews you conduct with the interesting people who were involved with so many of these games.

Keep up the good work, I for one really appreciate it!

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Evan Robinson (not verified)
Thanks for the memories!

It was interesting to hear someone else's take on MOM after so many years. I'm gratified that you appreciate it, and both surprised and pleased that you feel the game (and particularly the computer opponent, into which I put many hours) has held up well over time.

There are a host on in-jokes within the game. The only one I'll point out is the Zeppelin, which is there in honor of another early EA game, _Murder on the Zinderneuf_, by Free Fall Associates (Jon Freeman and Anne Westfall) with Paul Reiche III. Paul's last name, BTW, is pronounced "Ritchie".

Aside from a short term part time job while I was in graduate school, I've been out of the games business for about a decade and a half. I still participate in the IGDA's Quality of Life elist (and wrote "Why Crunch Mode Doesn't Work" for the IGDA website), and have been known to speak here or there on the subject, but I'm too much of a lone wolf to work on teams as big as most are now.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Wow, thanks, Evan. I even

Wow, thanks, Evan. I even went to a website about pronouncing that and was told "Rike," so I guess you just never know with a surname. Makes it tough for anyone doing audio work! I guess we're lucky to have easily pronounced names. People are always referring to Bill as "Lo-gwee-dees") which can't be pleasant.

Anyway, I've also got Murder on the Zinderneuf here (another of Al's selections). I sadly didn't play it back then, but it does look interesting.

Let me know if you'd like to be a guest on Matt Chat yourself. I'm sure you could shed a lot of light on this era, and as I said, I've never been able to get in touch with any of the Free Fall Associates or Paul Reiche. Looks like you'll get to be the voice of history on this one. :)

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Paul Reiche (not verified)
Go Lionbear, GO!

Hi Matt,
Evan forwarded me the link to your video and hearing Tommy Dunbar's title music once again brought a tear of joy to my eye. Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to share your feelings about MOM. Honestly, it's comments like yours that make game development worth all the pain and madness it entails... that, and paying for all my pizza.

Not to plug my new game, but if you love battlin' beasties (or suspect I want to recreate the same game over and over), check out Skylanders, which we announced just a couple of days ago.

Thanks again!

- Paul

TripHamer
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Joined: 07/31/2010
Never played it.

Never played it.
But I have a copy.
I guess the name always put me off. Had I know of it's similarities to Archon, I would of given it some time, back in the day.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Thanks, Paul! Awesome of you

Thanks, Paul! Awesome of you to drop in. I'd really like to interview you if you've got the time.

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Joakim (not verified)
Thank you.

Thank you foranother show. I had not heard of this game before and it looks (and sounds) lika a fun game.

Do you have any plans on interviewing any of the old sierra-online/sierra employees? It would be nice to hear about that company more. Maybe even from the makers of some of the more lesser known titles like Jones In The Fast Lane (which is one of my all time favourite games).

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Al Lowe
Joakim wrote:

Thank you foranother show. I had not heard of this game before and it looks (and sounds) lika a fun game.

Do you have any plans on interviewing any of the old sierra-online/sierra employees? It would be nice to hear about that company more. Maybe even from the makers of some of the more lesser known titles like Jones In The Fast Lane (which is one of my all time favourite games).

I interviewed Al Lowe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PGGEFQdZuw

I haven't had any luck with the others, though. :(

n/a
Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Great to see the game creators here!

Great video, Matt! And it's good to see another "game feature" episode. I never played "Mail Order Monsters" back in the day, maybe because I assumed it was another poorly-converted C64 game, or perhaps I wasn't even aware there was an Atari version!! As evidenced by your video, it appears I was badly mistaken! And it looks like a game that I would have loved, being totally up my alley!

One perk that this video garnered is the attention of Mr. Paul Reiche! What an honor to see you on AA, sir!

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