mattcast

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Matt Chat 160: Project Firestart, the first survival horror game

This week's episode is a 20-minute retrospective of Project: Firestart, suggested by viewer (and fellow English professor) Chris Oatis. This is a VERY interesting game from a historical perspective, and there's a good case to be made that this is the first-ever "full" survival horror game. There's some contention, of course, since it's not true 3D (it uses a "pseudo-3D" comparable to early Sierra titles). Otherwise, everything that most people associate with the genre is in there, such as logs to flesh out the backstory, limited ammo, cinematic cut scenes, etc. The game is also interesting because it was released exclusively for the Commodore 64/128--in 1989! That decision just didn't make sense, as acknowledged later by the developers themselves. On a positive note, though, it's some REALLY impressive C-64 coding work, since it looks as good if not better than many games for the Genesis or Amiga/ST. You can read more about the game and its impact on the genre here.

Download the video here (only Matt Chat supporters, please).

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Matt Chat 159: Dave Warhol on Serious Games

In the final segment of interview with Realtime Associates founder Dave Warhol, we discuss his tenure on the Tiger Team for Saturn before delving into the mysterious and fascinating world of "Serious Games." We wrap up with a discussion of the future of games, in which Dave sees a much broader definition of "videogaming" that includes work, medicine, and music as well as pure play.

Download the video here.

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Matt Chat 158: Dave Warhol on Game Audio, LucasFilm, and Maniac Mansion for NES

Lots of stuff here for NES fans, including lots of behind-the-scenes stuff as Dave's RealTime Associates company negotiates with Nintendo over the Maniac Mansion port. "The Pubic Pixel!" We also talk about game audio in general and the music in several of Dave's games, starting off with my personal favorite--the Pool of Radiance theme.

Download the video here.

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Matt Chat 157: Dave Warhol Talks Intellivision

I'm back this week with the first part of my interview series with Dave Warhol. Although Dave is perhaps best known for his extensive audio work, he's also one of the original designers for the Mattel Intellivision. In this segment, he talks all about the system (including a question from our very own Mr. Bill Loguidice), and the ill-fated keyboard component.

Download the video here. If you enjoy the show, please donate and/or tell someone else about the show. Views and donations are currently at a very low level, and it's getting discouraging. I need things to pick back up to maintain my positive energy! Thanks for your continued support and help.

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Matt Chat 156: Police Quest

This week's episode is a retrospective of Sierra's classic graphical adventure game Police Quest. Designed by a real-life policemen (Jim Walls), this game is unique in the Sierra lineup and boasts three sequels. Offering great humor in addition to serious police work--not surprising since Al Lowe was involved--Police Quest was the first Sierra game I ever played. I was never able to get very far since I had a pirated copy with no manual (the irony!), but that didn't stop me from trying and having a great time with it.

Download the video here.
Buy Police Quest 1-4 from GOG for only $10. Use this link and I'll get a kickback!

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Matt Chat 155: Jennell Jaquays on Epyx, Ensemble, id, and Game Careers

I'm back this week for the third and final part of my interview with Ms. Jennell Jaquays. In this part we talk about her game 4x4 Off-Road Racing, a fun little game published by Epyx (Amiga version shown here). Then we talk about her time at id and Ensemble, focusing on Age of Empires III and the War Chiefs expansion, her favorite project of all time. We wrap up with a great discussion about what it takes to get (and maintain) a good job in the games industry.

You can download the mp4 here. I'm saving for a new hard drive (mine is full again), so your donations are especially helpful at this time. Click here to make a one-time donation or set up a subscription.

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Matt Chat 154: Jennell on Coleco, Adam, and Bard's Tale IV

I'm back this week with part 2 of my interview with Jennell Jaquays. This week, we turn to her time at Coleco during the early 80s, when she worked on a prototype that I'm sure Mr. Bill L. would love to get his hands on--an RPG that combined two "hot" techs of the time--bar codes and speech chips. It never materialized, but it sounds amazing. Jennell also describes why the ADAM was a failure from an engineering perspective. Next, we turn to Bard's Tale IV, and get a look behind-the-scenes of what would have been the most ambitious Bard's Tale game ever. I was interested to know that it offered three different perspectives.

Download the episode here. As always, if you like the show and want to see more episodes, donate today. I've had a few people inexplicably cancelling their subscriptions lately, so I'd really appreciate your contributions to keep this show in production.

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Matt Chat 153: The Jennell Jaquays Interview: The Dungeoneer

Hi, guys! I'm back this week with one of the rare female guests to grace Matt Chat, Jennell Jaquays, one of the true greats of role-playing. Jennell has done lots of videogame work--including the Coleco--but here we focus on her background in D&D. She's the author of some of the best modules and books on the topic of good role-playing. She's now serving as the lead level designer on the World of Darkness MMORPG, an upcoming CCP game (think Vampire: The Masquerade). Enjoy!

Download the episode here.

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Matt Chat 152: Grim Fandango--the killer adventure game that killed off adventure games

Well, it had to happen sooner or later! This week, it's back the late 90s for the game many people consider the Greatest Game that ever killed a genre. That's exaggeration, of course, but it does make for a good headline. The story goes that although the game did reasonably well--it was NOT a commercial failure, despite the pundits--it wasn't exactly the cash bonanza that LucasArts was expecting. End result--they pulled the plug on their adventure game development. Now you had a situation where the two greats--LucasArts and Sierra--were not making adventure games anymore. Of course, Cyan was still around, but nobody but me seems to count them.

Or, download the mp4.

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Matt Chat 151: Shane R. Monroe on DRM, Amiga, Abandonware, and why he'll never play Diablo III

In the last segment of my interview with retrogaming's Howard Stern, Shane R. Monroe chats with me about the glorious days of the Amiga (and why it ultimately failed despite having the best tech), the illegal but inevitable abandonware black markets, the "sinister" and self-defeating DRM industry, and why he would have never made the Vita. He gets really fired up in this episode--classic Shane--and there's pretty funny moments.

Download the video here.

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