Matt Chat 135: Peter on Sierra On-Line, Cinemaware, and Interplay

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Hi, Matt Chatters! I'm back this week with part 2 of my interview with Peter Oliphant, child actor turned game developer. In this part, Peter talks about his transition from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, which includes stops (and stories about) Sierra On-Line, Cinemaware, and Interplay. Peter's a big fan of the Atari 800, so we spend some time talking about that system and his games Wall War and Mr. Cool. Then it's on to Rocket Ranger and S.D.I. before ending with Lexi-Cross, a unique blend of Battleship and Wheel of Fortune.

Download the mp4.

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ruthan
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Joined: 01/22/2012
Empty promises, we know that must be nice guy, because he did SK

I actualy think that Matt likes advertising, because he is realy good in it, second part about Stonekeep without Stonekeep and we must wait next week. Its like some american soap opera, i want to gain minimaly latino american format (boobs included:).

Who: Brujah Zealot, the pimp of babylons bitch. / Location: Scorched heart of Europe. // Sorry for my moldavian sort of english, i have 2 possibilities, to be silent or try to say something +look like idiot..

Matt Barton
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I don't mind informational

I don't mind informational advertising, the kind that just tells you about a product or service. That's actually useful! What I hate is the idea that you have to be forced to watch ads that may or may not (probably NOT) have anything to do with you at all. You're watching TNG and that gets interrupted by a commercial about GEICO insurance (that stupid lizard got unfunny a long time ago), Gold Coins (is anybody really that stupid??), a political attack ad (yawn), some kind of medicine with bad side effects (yeah, sure, I'll tell the doctor how to do her job and demand this cream), and now back to the show...Er, what was going on? I forgot...

I'd love to see advertisers take all that money and invest it in making better products.

Basically, most ads are exactly like SPAM. They needlessly irritate 99% of the recipients, but that's okay if they can reach that 1% who are stupid enough to buy it. It'd make infinitely more sense to me to only target people who actually would like information or are obviously in the market for your product.

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ruthan
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Joined: 01/22/2012
Sorry, i already wasted by

Sorry, i already wasted by weeks load of stupid jokes + im too tired for some philosofical adventising analysis.

Im only wanted to say that is at least bad joke advertising some product/stuff, what isnt included in final package, its like AI in Oblivion.
Simply a bad thing.

Who: Brujah Zealot, the pimp of babylons bitch. / Location: Scorched heart of Europe. // Sorry for my moldavian sort of english, i have 2 possibilities, to be silent or try to say something +look like idiot..

Nathaniel Tolbert
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Wow, for someone who

Wow, for someone who professes to not watch much TV you know the kind of junk that is shown well. :) My favorite thing about drug commercials is to hear the litany of side effects that always seems to end with, "and in some cases...Death." Why would I want to take a medication that kills me?!?!? We have Uverse here and it's because my wife wanted it, otherwise all we would have is the blazing fast (not) 24Mbps internet. (I average more than 24Mbps, but it still doesn't seem fast. Probably because the websites I go to don't allow for that speed of a connection..) I agree with the spam correlation, though. The other thing that irritates me immensely about commercials is the fact that the volume on them seems to be cranked up by 12-15db over the show you are watching. So you turn up the sound to hear the show, and then when the commercial break happens you are blown out of your seat by the loudness of the commercials. Then you spend 30 seconds getting the ringing to stop. I would rather have 12 channels that show interesting stuff at all times with no commercials than the 150-400 channels with little that is interesting and a non-stop barrages of commercials. It just seems absolutely pointless.

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Paul H
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Joined: 10/11/2011
Excellent interview

I really enjoyed the discussion of funding a new version of Lexi-Cross; it was a good look into the way the industry works.

While you were on the Lexi-Cross topic I googled the game to learn a little more about it and was a little saddened that one of the top four search results was to an "abondonware" site that was giving it away. It's a shame Peter Oliphant isn't getting some sort of kickback for those copies seeing as he's still interested in making money off his creation.

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Matt Barton
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Abandonware
Paul H wrote:

I really enjoyed the discussion of funding a new version of Lexi-Cross; it was a good look into the way the industry works.

While you were on the Lexi-Cross topic I googled the game to learn a little more about it and was a little saddened that one of the top four search results was to an "abondonware" site that was giving it away. It's a shame Peter Oliphant isn't getting some sort of kickback for those copies seeing as he's still interested in making money off his creation.

Yeah, I agree. It'd be nice if he could get the game on GOG. It's probably not worth his time to go chasing after every abandonware site, though, since they spring up like mushrooms. In any case, I hope anyone considering that type of action would make sure that there is a legal way to purchase their product before going after abandonware sites.

He wants someone to give him money to make a new version. Simple enough, though if I were in his shoes I'd probably would self-fund it since it's a proven commodity. I wonder how much he wants to make a new version...Heck, almost tempting to try to raise some funds for him myself. I just can't help but think it'd be a great game for mobiles and Facebook.

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Paul H
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Joined: 10/11/2011
Kickstarter

Wow, Double Fine was just able to fund a point-and-click adventure game through kickstarter!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adventure

The situation would clearly be different for Peter since he's not such a big name, but it's nice to know the possibility is there.

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Bill Loguidice
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Definitiely
Paul H wrote:

Wow, Double Fine was just able to fund a point-and-click adventure game through kickstarter!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adventure

The situation would clearly be different for Peter since he's not such a big name, but it's nice to know the possibility is there.

We've been talking about this a bit behind the scenes, and actually there are more misses with this stuff than hits, even from heavily credentialed developers. This Double Fine mega-hit on Kickstarter is definitely an anomaly. Good to see, I guess, I just hope these guys are able to do something special with it. I'd hate to see something clever, but with the same mechanics/setup we've seen a million times before. They have the freedom now to really go for it...

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Bill Loguidice
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Need a follow-up to fish out the Coleco truth!

I finally got a chance to watch this. Fascinating stuff. Of course I was most interested about some of the "fuzzy" memories, but none moreso than his recollection that Cinemaware was working on a ColecoVision engine, which I think is the first any of us has ever heard of anything like that. Obviously, the only pure consoles Cinemaware games ended up being ported to were the NES and later on the TurboGrafx-16, but considering Cinemaware was founded in 1985, and its first product, Defender of the Crown, was released in 1986, it's r-e-m-o-t-e-l-y possible that his recollection might have been accurate. While I doubt the ColecoVision had the RAM necessary for portd to work (it did, after all, only have 1K of RAM), certainly the Adam would have worked just fine with its 64K. It's certainly theoretically possible they were working on an engine through 1985 until it was obvious that the ColecoVision/Adam was well and truly dead, but man, if anything begs for a follow-up query for more information, ANY information, it's this. It would be a pretty major deal to know the truth...

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Matt Barton
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Heard from Peter. He

Heard from Peter. He apparently misspoke and says he has no recollection of Cinemaware ever doing any Colecovision stuff. However, he doesn't rule out the possibility; he just isn't aware of it himself.

I think I'll ask Bob Jacob, too.

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