Where We Came From is a collection of essays that explores the rise of video gaming and the democratization of game development in the 1980s. What happened to the players and the developers of that time? How did this shape the industry today? Have we lost anything in subsequent decades?
Games industry legend Brian Moriarty on how gaming has changed and his disappointment with the current state of play.
07 Jun Always Floyd
An examination of an important moment in Infocom’s Planetfall, famous for making players cry. Plenty of interesting discussion follows in the comments.
14 Jun Stanley Kubrick Is Gone
Popular article! The life story of Bill Williams, a game developer who struggled against cystic fibrosis to produce some of the 80s most original works.
21 Jun Where We Came From
I spend a day with Professor Steven Furnell of Plymouth University who accidentally became the curator of a retro computing archive. It ends in the pub with discussion on the importance of old technologies as well as fears for the future.
Beat Hazard developer Steve Hunt has been game programming since the 1980s – how does he see the change in the industry over these three decades?
05 Jul Turning The Page
Game manuals have been a staple of boxed products since the beginning… but they are fast becoming an endangered species. Why is this? Does it hint at a larger trend?
Boulder Dash has endured for thirty years, spawning countless clones. Who made it and why is it so successful?
Peter Liepa talks to Electron Dance about programming as a creative outlet and why he hasn’t written another game since Boulder Dash.
18 Jul The Fukushima Syndrome, 1
26 Jul The Fukushima Syndrome, 2
Popular article! An excursion into Chris Crawford’s SCRAM, a nuclear reactor simulator, as an attempt to understand more about the Fukushima disaster. Describes a reactor core as a “self-sustaining sex orgy”. Chris Crawford also appeared in the comments.
02 Aug Tomorrow’s Promise
The birth of Lucasfilm Games and the innovative, wipe-the-floor-with-the-competition titles they launched with. This is how LucasArts began – a handful of smart people with an R & D focus. Was the hyper-polished hallmark of the Games Group a dark omen for the bedroom programmer generation?
A fantastic interview with David Fox, the third employee of Lucasfilm Games, developer of Rescue on Fractalus! and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. Also the man responsible for hiring Tim Schafer.
24 Aug Nothing To Lose
Now we can address the fundamental question: has gaming lost anything since the 1980s?
30 Aug The Last Dream
The explosive finale. I get personal and reveal the true theme of “Where We Came From”. Hint: It’s nothing to do with the 80s.
2014 APPENDIX The First Open World
On the genius of Paul Woakes’ Mercenary.
2017 APPENDIX Atari Video Computer Soul
How does my first game console stand up nearly forty years later?