The Minds Behind The Games - Title

The Minds Behind The Games By Patrick Hickey Jr.

On the site as well as the Diary podcast, I have made my statement about the need to document the history of video games. While we are still able to in fact from those that worked in the industry back in the day. Which is of course why I was glad when Patrick Hickey Jr. contacted me last week. As he so happens to have written a book entitled The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers.
The Mind Behind The Games - cover A

I have not had the pleasure of reading The Minds Behind The Games as of yet. However here is an exceptional breakdown of the book by way of the press release:
“Who wrote “Romeo & Juliet? Who first sang “Thriller”? Who played Captain America in the last Avengers flick? All of these questions are basic pop culture knowledge that everyone, regardless of their geekdom, knows. But who are the minds behind some of the most influential video games of all-time? Don’t know, right? Don’t use Google, either!

But here’s the bigger question: Why aren’t their names enshrined in our memories, too? Why aren’t these men and women’s names just as synonymous in pop culture lore as those in music, film and literature?

“The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers” is the first video game book of its kind to get access to some of the most iconic and unique video game developers from the past 40 years, from the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation 4 and even failed consoles the likes of the Ouya and NEMO. 

Didn’t know those consoles existed? It’s just another reason to read this behind the scenes look at the industry, which also features all-new exclusive interviews with everyone from Yars’ Revenge creator Howard Scott Warshaw to NBA Jam mastermind Mark Turmell and Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias. 
The Minds Behind The Games - Howard Scott Washaw - Steven Spielberg

Written by award-winning journalist and educator Patrick Hickey Jr., the book contains profiles of 36 of the coolest video games ever created. 

“We know so much about video games, but we know so little about the amazing people that made them,” Hickey said. “That was the main reason I decided to write this book. Imagine 36 episodes of VH1’s Behind the Music. That’s what this book is- an unaltered, behind-the-scenes look at some of the coolest, infamous and unique games ever made.”

Seeing a problem that desperately needed to fixed, Hickey reached out to some of the most iconic video game developers David Crane (Pitfall), Garry Kitchen (Donkey Kong) and Rob Fulop (Night Trap, Missile Command) and many more- the end result was a passion project that would finally give the greatest minds in video games their due.”

You can order the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble right this minute. For those of us that can see the importance of the history of video games. This is obviously a pretty important tome to say the least.

I may not have had the opportunity to check out The Minds Behind The Games yet. That does not mean however that you cannot check out what others have said about it.


For example the Huffington Post, Forbes, and the New York Daily Post!

Gremlins Arcade Game - Atarigames.Com

Check Out 1985’s Unreleased Gremlins Arcade Game!

For those of you that listened to the Crystal Castles episode of the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast in March. You will recall I was going to share with you, actual proof that Atari was working on a Gremlins arcade game! I said of course that I was going to include a link to the video but in all honesty, I forgot. So naturally I felt it was time to make a post about it. Because it certainly looks like the Gremlins arcade game would have been a blast to play!

There isn’t actually a whole lot of information to go on. However, here is what we do know. The game was being developed by Atari in 1985. With Franz Lanzinger of Crystal Castles, Millipede, and Toobin’ (NES port) fame in charge of development.

[Via] NES Guide

Only a prototype exists for the Gremlins arcade game. Other classic arcade sites have mentioned it isn’t even known if the video represents an actual physical prototype. Quite possibly of course, the gameplay we see is merely from the ROM file. Thanks to Atarigames.com – which seems to be down at the moment, we do have some neat artwork. Artwork I might add from what could have been the marquee for the game itself. Back in 1985 that would totally have drawn me to the cabinet like a siren’s song!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Arcade Cabinet - Atarigames.Com

Naturally we do not know why Atari decided to pull the plug. As you will see in the video below, it looks like the game was pretty much complete. Obviously in 1985, the legendary company was suffering from the Video Game Crash of ’83. So even though a year previously, Gremlins was tearing up the box office… perhaps the company felt it better to just pull the plug?

In the Gremlins arcade game, there are three separate levels. With the first level representing Lynn Peltzer’s valiant attempt at defending her kitchen. By way of what appears to be an endless supply of kitchen knives to hurl at her attackers!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 1

In the next screen, you are playing Billy Peltzer, attempting to traverse the streets of Kingston Falls. Obviously being assaulted by the toothy little Gremlins, using a flashlight to ‘melt’ them. I would assume the arcade game was designed with twin joysticks or perhaps you would become stationary when holding down the flashlight button?
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 2

Last but not least, the third level would have let you play Gizmo. Driving in your Barbie Car through the aisles of Montgomery Ward, avoiding obstacles and a tank in hot pursuit. I am willing to bet that in the game it is supposed to be Stripe chasing you in that toy tank.
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 3

One more thing to pay attention to while watching the video. How incredible the music is that Franz Lanzinger used in the game. It is quite frankly portions of the actual Gremlins soundtrack from the 1984 film by Jerry Goldsmith.

Now then, you know a little about the Gremlins arcade game. So why not watch it in action?

[via] Frank Cifaldi

You probably have Gremlins on your mind now, right? I think this would certainly be the time to revisit the Retroist Podcast on the 1984 film!
Retroist Gremlins Podcast

Diary-of-an-Arcade-Employee-Ep-028-Space Invaders

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast 028 (Space Invaders)

Two Diary podcasts in one month, have I gone insane? Some of you listeners might think that is indeed the case but today sees the release of Ready Player One. Judging by the trailers it appears that the classic 1978 Space Invaders makes an appearance. Which is of course why I decided to release this latest Diary podcast today. Because what better way to spend your time in line for the new Spielberg film than listening to the history of Space Invaders?
Space Invaders - Ready Player One

In this show, I naturally give you info on the origins of Space Invaders. As well as what I hope is a fascinating look at the intent of it’s creator, Tomohiro Nishikado. In addition, this episode is a bit longer than the usual Diary podcast. The reason being of course that such a monumental and groundbreaking arcade title has a lot to discuss.

I do share my first encounter with the legendary game in my youth. Furthermore I share the shocking night we received the game at the arcade. I have also managed to find a few audible treats for your listening pleasure as well.
Space Invaders - Arkadia Retrocade

In all honesty, my friends. I probably could have gone an entire hour with this episode. Interviews with Nishikado in USA Today, merchandising, home ports, and the legacy of Space Invaders. The game simply helped to change the landscape for video games as much as the likes of Pong or Pac-Man. This episode, unlike any other I found myself having too much information on the game!
Space Invaders - Arcade Game

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page. If you need a daily fix you can check out the Official Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page too.

Subscribe to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes. (MP3)

Directly Download the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

Now since Ready Player One motivated me to record this podcast covering Space Invaders. Why not watch the latest trailer?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

Diary of An Arcade Employee-Ep-27-Crystal-Castles

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast 027 (Crystal Castles)

Welcome back, friends. To the latest episode of the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast. This go around I discuss the 1983 classic arcade game, Crystal Castles. Produced of course by Atari, this maze game is certainly one of my favorites. In addition Crystal Castles as you will hear, happens to have been an arcade title that caused me physical pain!
Crysal Castles - Trakball

Crystal Castles - Arcade Marquee
In this episode I of course discuss the notable employees of Atari that created Crystal Castles. As well as giving you the general rundown on the gameplay and interesting tidbits of information about this classic maze game.

Of course I also share some vintage audio related to Crystal Castles for your enjoyment. Moreover I share an exciting bit of news in regards to a game that Atari was working on at the time. But sadly, never released – due to the Video Game crash of 1983. I am pretty sure that like myself you will be blown away by that lost arcade title.
Crystal Castles - Gremlins

Now I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to mention that Christopher Tupa has created some fantastic artwork for Crystal Castles. Make sure to follow that link provided to learn how you can obtain this piece of artwork for yourself!
Crystal Castles - Christopher Tupa

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page. If you need a daily fix you can check out the Official Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook Page too.

Subscribe to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes. (MP3)

Directly Download the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

Before you find out about 1983’s Crystal Castles – why not check out the game in action for yourself?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming