Episodes

  • My guest today is Rob Dubbin. Rob spent over a decade working with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report and The Late Show, but has always had a strong love for games and game development. We talk about childhood hurricanes, Computer Camp, the thrill of learning ZZT, why he is always revisiting Star Control 2, his Samurai Gunn skills, a brief dalliance with hacking and how a chance encounter with an old friend reignited his love for making videogames. "Okay, if you guys are really us, what number are we thinking of?" PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Samurai Gunn, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Undertale, Pharoah's Tomb, Super Smash Brothers, ZZT, Star Control 2, Duck Game, Brooklyn Trash King, Final Fantasy 7, Sword & Sworcery, Rocket League RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest on today's episode is the wonderful Nina Freeman. Currently working on Tacoma at The Fullbright Company, Nina's previous games include Cibele and the IGF and Indiecade finalist How Do You Do It? We talk her life long love of Final Fantasy X-2, the absurdity of playing Sims with no context, how cities make scenes, the Fullbright videogame mixtape, how to quit Final Fantasy Online for real this time and why videogames (mostly) suck at sex. "You have to use your hands? That's like a baby's toy." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: The Sims, Final Fantasy, Catherine, Cobra Club, Myst, Xenosaga, Smash Brothers, Dark Souls, Soul Caliber 2, Pokemon Blue, Ladykiller in a Bind, Ute, Mystic Messenger, The Stanley Parable, RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

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  • My guest today is Rich Vreeland AKA Disasterpeace, the sound artist and composer for games including Fez, Reigns, Mini Metro, Hyper Light Drifter and the movie It Follows. As you can imagine there is a lot of music nerd chat, from esoteric composition techniques to how to define the Chiptune genre. In a broad and meandering chat we also hit on his evergreen love of Ice Hockey games, how he was exposed to Zelda in utero, how much he was inspired by Cave Story and his unlikely early musical steps creating entrance music for electronic wrestlers. "You just worked yourself into a shoot, brother!" PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Super Mario 3, Fez, Cave Story, Halo, Super Pole Riders, World of Warcraft, NHL '94, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Kart, Pokemon, Samorost 3, Kentucky Route Zero, Inside. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Susan Arendt, the executive editor of Gamesradar+, co-founder of TakeThis and a veteran vidoegame journlaist and editor. We talk about mastering Maze Craze on the VCS, why Psychonauts is a flawed masterpiece, how she worked two jobs to fund her love of videogames, why the puns in Dragon Quest are the best, the impact of Phantasy Star Online and why playing Missile Command with her dad is such an important memory. "Rise and shine, guardian!" PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Morrowind, Buffy, Missile Command, Pong, Maze Craze, Phantasy Star Online, Psychonauts, Destiny, The Witness, Soul Caliber, Overwatch, The Witcher, Device 6, Fable 3 RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • Happy New Year! My first guest of 2017 is the wonderful Aleks Krotoski. Best known to many as one of the presenters of the late 90s videogame show Bits, Aleks is also a renowned broadcaster, academic and journalist in the fields of psychology and technology, and currently hosts Digital Human on BBC Radio 4. We join Aleks on a stroll through LA and talk about playing Frogger in a laundromat, the unique appeal of Glasgow, working on Bits, Hot Coffee, Virtual Reality, the correct way to play Singstar and why she hasn't played a videogame since 2009. "Beware, coward." Digital Human - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081ldd8 Vidoegame are Boring by Brie Code - http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2016-11-07-video-games-are-boring PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Frogger, Super Mario Bros, Grim Fandango, Second Life, Grand Theft Auto, Fantavision, Sonic, Pitfall, Volleyball, Sim City, 1942, Singstar, RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • Closing out the year and completing my quartet of guests who made some of my favourite games of 2016, my guest today is the creator of Really Bad Chess, Zach Gage. Zach is self described conceptual artist who explores systems. He has an incredible breadth of work but including board games, visual arts, installations and of course videogames like Spelltower, Tharsis and the wonderful Lose/Lose - a space invaders clone that wipes a random file on your computer every time you kill an alien. We talk through his early love of games and his equally early start creating them, I introduce him to the wonders of Top Trumps, we talk about why he sees himself as an artist before a game designer, the impact Prince of Persia and Lemmings had, and why he thinks poker is the best game ever. This is a great talk, and a fine end to an otherwise tumultuous year. Thanks for listening, here's to the future! "Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Super Mario Bros, Lemmings, Prince of Persia, Mario Paint, Tetris, Really Bad Chess, Poker, Top Trumps, Unreal Tournament, Rocket League, Knights of the Old Republic, Final Fantasy 12, Undertale, Pokemon, Lose/Lose, Spelltower, Go, Imbroglio. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My interviews with devs of some of my favourite games of 2016 continues this week as I welcome the creator of Hyper Light Drifter and co-founder of Heart Machine, Alex Preston. We talk about the creation of Hyper Light Drifter, the global community of Indie Game Developers, why you have to be a crazy person to make videogames and how a VHS tape about the making of Donkey Kong Country changed his life. We also hit on his deep love of Zelda and Super Metroid, the magic of Phantasy Star Online, the elegant thrills of DoDonPachi, why Overwatch is one of of our favourite games of the year and why Destiny is the perfect warm blanket. I also personally want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Thanks as always for listening to the show, and I hope you all have a wonderful festive season. You deserve it. "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Godzila, Super Mario Bros. 3, Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Phantasy Star Online, Diablo 2, Destiny, Hyper Light Drifter, Cave Story, Overwatch, Donkey Kong Country, Final Fantasy 6 and 12, Samurai Gun, DoDonPachi, Ikaruga and Donkey Kong Country. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • Continuing the December theme of speaking with devs who made some of my favourite games of 2016, I'm joined this week by Jonathan Burroughs, one of the creators of Virgina and co-founder of Variable State. The team have recently been nominated for Writer's Guild of Great Britain award for the writing in the game too, so huge congratulations to them for that. In addition to his almost accidental career path - which took him from QA on Burnout 3 to starting his own game company via Battlefield and writing House of the Dead - Overkill - we talk about his Spectrum in a briefcase, an early love of Cannon Fodder and Wing Commander, designing levels for Marathon, the story of Virgina, how Lumines can be a cure for anxiety and how Gamedev Story can mend a broken heart. "There was a fish in the percolator!" The drawing game I couldn't remember the name of is Drawception, and it's still absolutely amazing https://drawception.com/ PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Mini Metro, Persona 4 Golden, Virginia, Battalion Wars, Burnout 3, Earthworm Jim, Monkey Island 2, Wing Commander, Cannon Fodder, Draw Something, Lumines, Gamedev Story, Asterisk, Kentucky Route Zero, Passage, Golden Axe, Dictator, Giddy Game Show. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is AP Thomson, creator of Beglitched, the recently released iOS puzzler Swap Sword and many, many more. (My personal favourite is Tony Hawks Pro Dater.) He also teaches game design at NYU and has a masters degree from MIT. No big deal. We talk through the strange fear videogames instilled in him as a kid, and how Kirby's Block Ball helped him through to the other side. Why Cave Story made him want to be a game designer and how Pokemon will likely be here forever. We hit on his perennial love of hand helds, how he became one of the greatest Super Hexagon players in the world, why sometimes the most illegal games are the most exciting to make and, in a genuinely thrilling exchange, he offers a new reading on the themes of Ocarina of Time which completely blew my mind. Great talk. "Did you KNOW: fewer people have landed kickflips than have found LOVE." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Paul Rose aka Mr. Biffo. A hugely influential videogame writer during his run at Digitiser, a teletext service on Channel 4, Paul is also a novelist, screenwriter, and has just successfully kickstarted Found Footage. an online sketch show. We meander through Biffo's life in games, from the Binatone Thundercolt to PSVR, via late night Alex Kidd sessions, the amazing single player of Titanfall 2, the forgotten classic Unirally and the impossible excitement of Star Wars Dark Forces. We also chat about his time programming the scoreboard at Wembley Stadium, how he almost became an artist for 2000AD, how he stumbled into his job at Digister, the subsequent battles with the bosses at Teletext and how gaming when writing can be a blessing and curse. "You're a real pal, Biffo." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Titanfall 2, Pong, Unirally, Star Wars Dark Forces, Half Life 2, Jet Set Willy, Seiddab Attack, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Zoo Keeper, Super Star Wars, Uncharted 2, Leisure Suit Larry. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Edmund McMillen, the creator of Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, Gish and many, many more. He was also one of the developers profiled in the excellent Indie Game The Movie. We talk about a lot of videogames as we meander through Edmund's life in games. A deep love of early Nintendo, the hilarity of Katamari and Conkers Bad Fur Day, the genius of Overwatch, the wonders of Shareware, and the urban legend generator that is Mortal Kombat 2. We also talk about his career in games. How he got started making flash games just to freak out his college teacher, how he got hooked on the instant gratification of publishing games online, his involvement in the early indie scene in California, his awkward encounter with the Melvins, why Indie Game the Movie was a success and why every developer should make their own version of the Legend of Zelda. THE BATHROOM WE OPEN THE SHOW TALKING ABOUT - https://twitter.com/edmundmcmillen/status/791717019896860672 "You can't keep the artist down, the art just happens." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Goonies 2, Snake Rattle & Roll, Milon's Secret Castle, XCOM, Doom, Descent, Fallout, Gish, Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, WoW, Katamari, Envirobear, Overwatch, The Witness, Warhammer, Magic The Gathering. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Alexander O. Smith, a veteran translator who has worked on an incredible array of video games including Vagrant Story, Phoenix Wright, Vanquish and one of the greatest games ever made, Final Fantasy 12. Being a huge fan of the game, I ask a lot of questions about Final Fantasy 12 and Alex gives a lot of great answers, (like how important Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic was to the crew of the Rabanastre.) We talk a lot about where his love of language first arose, and the art and science of a good translation. We also take the customary stroll through Alex's personal video game history including an early love of Vector arcade games, making his own MUDs, becoming the GenCon Tetris champion in 1989 and how one of the greatest gaming moments of his life took place one night in Wales. "Incidentally, what is the going rate for rescuing Princesses these days? Food would be a good start -- the good stuff, mind you." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: FF12, Phoenix Wright, Brick Out, Game & Watch, Asteroids, Dungeons & Dragons, Tetris, Zork, Portal 2, Battlezone, Civilisation, Magic, Bard's Tale, Rock Band RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Tim Constant, founder of Panic Barn and creator of the Tiki Taka Soccer series of video games. Me and Tim chat about his rich history and love of games, including an obsession with Champ Manager, a homemade Out Run cabinet and the struggles of being the only gamer in the village. We also talk about the struggles of maintaining and independent studio, how a live quiz game he worked on almost took down Channel 5, and that time he had to choose between his Everquest guild or his girlfriend. "The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Tiki Taka Soccer, Championship Manager, PES, Bonk, NBA JAM, Out Run, Worms, E-SWAT, Mr. Heli, Everquest, The Witcher 3, New Star Soccer, Altered Beast, Bamboozle. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker -

  • My guest today is Tom Bramwell, former editor of Eurogamer, former Head of Writing at Riot Games and all around good guy. We talk about Tom's ridiculously early start in videogame journalism fuelled by a passion for videogame magazines, his deep love of FIFA and how Destiny has provided some of his finest gaming memories. In a relaxed and meandering chat, we also touch on a love of collecting, the life lessons of The West Wing, playing Rock Band in the penthouse of a Vegas casino, why he never got on with Yoshi's Island and the endless hilarity of FIFA's Impact Engine. "Welcome to the NFL." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: FIFA, Dark Souls, Hearthstone, Destiny, Space Invaders, Trials HD, Deus Ex, Quake, Doom, League of Legends, Rock Band, Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Nomad Soul, MDK, California Games, Sonic the Hedgehog, Wriggler, Yoshi's Island, Mario Kart. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is JP LeBreton. Having worked on a variety of games including Bioshock 1 & 2 and The Cave for Irrational Games and Double Fine respectively, JP has since gone solo and is currently working on Autobiographical Architecture as well as various other small projects. We meander through the games that shaped JP's life. As well as a life long fascination and love of Doom, we hit on the mystery and promise of his first experience with a Commodore 64, how places in videogames can be as evocative and powerful as real world locations , why he was jealous of the UK home computer scene of the 80s, and how N++ caused him an injury. He also talks quite frankly about how challenging the video game industry can sometimes be, but how games themselves can often be a salve to this negativity, and remind you why you loved them all over again. 'Something magical is happening that I don’t understand and it’s coming from the machine.' Best outro music ever! courtesy of With Ether PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Doom, Mr. Robot, Biosock, Forbidden Forest, Syndicate, Quake, Racing Construction Set, Wolfenstein, System Shock, Metroid Prime 2, N++ RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Simon Byron, formerly a videogame journalist and PR person, now a co-host of videogame radio show One Life Left, Publishing Director at Curve Digital and creator of hit mobile games Bang Man and Up Down Left Right. He is also the reigning Sensible Soccer World Champion. We talk about growing up around arcades in Bournemouth, how anarchic early video game journalism was, the highs and lows of video game PR - from playing in front of thousands at the Isle of Wight festival to sending bags of offal in the post. We also chat about his shift into publishing and some of the difficulties of the modern video game market (spoilers: there's too much and it's all great), his brief stint as a commentator on GamesMaster and that time he tried to desecrate the grave of Jimi Hendrix. 'Why you gotta play that song so loud? (Because we want to, because we want to)' PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Ikari Warriors, Guitar Hero, 10 Second Ninja, Human Fall Flat, Defender, Dragon's Lair, Sensible Soccer, Doom 2, Aladdin, Star Wars Battlefront, GTA, JFK: Reloaded, Skyrim RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Rami Ismail, a Dutch/Egyptian video game developer, creator of presskit() and one half of one of the most prolific and successful independent video game studios of the past few years, Vlambeer. We talk about his very early fascination with how games worked and pulling apart code in QBasic, why the Polystation was a blessing in disguise, questionable tactics in Starsiege: Tribes, why he enjoys giving talks so much, the runway train that is Vlambeer and the mystery of it's logo, "I do what I do for many reasons, and those reasons are life and influence and impact and death and responsibility and legacy and also videogames." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Gorillas.bas, Destiny, Nuclear Throne, Starsiege: Tribes, Transport Tycoon, Uncharted 4, Golden Sun, Tiltbrush, Job Simulator, Split/second, Blue Dragon, Metal Gear Solid, Deus Ex, Killer Loop, Contra, Doom, Starcraft. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Ori Takemura. Originally from Russia, Ori is an award winning UX and product designer, a video game designer and the founder of qixen-p design. This is perhaps the most international episode yet. I spoke to Ori about growing up in Russia, winning design awards in Germany, being inspired by Japan and living in Singapore. This is a hell of a chat. We talk about growing up with games in Russia (the 16 bit console wars were televised!), what it's like playing Command & Conquer Red Alert as a Russian teenager, how a Bang & Olufsen CD player changed his life, how Braid changed his life again, how the UX design of twitter is like a video game and how many downloads you can get for your game when you're hit by a truck. "I'm sorry, but the princess is in another castle." PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Braid, Space Invaders, Tetris, Carmageddon, Quake, Snake Bird, Ending, Shapist, Tallnum, Bro Force, Command & Conquer, GTA, Scorched Earth, Monument Valley, Thomas was Alone, Deus Ex. RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Alexis Kennedy, the founder of Failbetter Games, creator of Fallen London, creative director of Sunless Sea, and as of just a few days ago, the first ever guest writer for BioWare. We talk about how his love of narrative games was awakened playing Colossal Cave on the mainframe at the Oxford University Atmospheric Physics department, the wonder of table top gaming and how Dungeons & Dragons can become a full time job, whether or not the lore in Dark Souls was made up on the fly, the bold decision to leave his job in financial tech and found Failbetter games, and the perhaps even bolder decision to leave that in order to explore his creative process. There's also a bonus segment at the end we recorded just a few days ago about his relationship with BioWare, and how he landed the job as their first ever guest writer. 'Press X to write sonnets, press Y to write odes.' PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: Colossal Cave, Adventure, Space Invaders, Sunless Sea, Baldurs Gate, Spelunky, Darkest Dungeon, The Thick of It game, Quake, Civilisation, Crackdown, Starcraft, Elite, Dark Souls RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki

  • My guest today is Bennett Foddy, the creator of QWOP, GIRP and Multibowl and a professor at the NYU Game Center. We talk about Bennett's extraordinary journey to game design via philosophy, ring tone advertisements and a brief stint as the bassist for the band Cut Copy. We talk about a whole heap of different games, and get into why Australia is a country of pirates, why philosophers don't play videogames, why he values breadth over depth and why the remix should be a new form of game design. 'To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.' PATREON! - patreon.com/checkpoints iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW Games discussed: QWOP, Multibowl, Demons Souls, Dark Souls, Joust, Stephen Sausage Roll, 720, Off the Wall, Rampage, Gauntlet 2, Rastan Saga, Elite, Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword, ROM CHECK FAIL, Commander Keen, Command and Conquer, Way of the Exploding Fist, Ikari Warriors, Alien 8 RSS HERE Twitter - twitter.com/CheckpointsShow Cover design: Craig Stevenson - http://onedinosaurandhisballoon.blogspot.co.uk Music: Samuel Baker - http://soundcloud.com/furoshiki