I did my very own Upper Memory Block episode!

I guess this is what they call “coming full circle,” eh? The podcast that inspired me to start my own podcast allowed me to do my own guest episode for that podcast.

Confused yet? Don’t be. It just means that I got the chance to do my very own episode of Upper Memory Block, the podcast usually hosted by Joe Mastroianni. But because he’s off populating the Earth, he asked friends if they wouldn’t mind keeping his show alive while he was tending to the new heir to the throne, and I was fortunate enough to be included in that roster of people.

The game I’m covering is Steel Empire (also known as Cyber Empires in North America); a little-known strategy/arcade hybrid by then-fledgling company Silicon Knights.

I even managed to score an interview with Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack, who kindly spoke to me for an hour about making the game. There’s about 30 minutes of the interview in the episode itself, but I put the full-length interview on Mixcloud.

Go have a listen to the episode!

Oh, and if you’re interested in seeing how this thing actually plays, my mate David and I sat down and played a campaign at his house, which I, of course, put on YouTube.

Early graphic adventure games: Murder on the Mississippi

At this point, we’re all pretty used to calling Maniac Mansion “the first graphic adventure game,” and just kind of leave it at that. By that, I mean that the natural evolution of graphic adventure games is mostly centered on what LucasArts and Sierra were doing with the fancy new pointing-and-clicking peripherals, and not much attention has been given to the other early adopters out there.

Take, for example, this one: Murder on the Mississippi, released in 1986 for the Commodore 64 by … the fuck? Activision? Okay, didn’t see that one coming. Ironic, considering what happened to Sierra, really. But let’s not dwell on that.

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I wonder if the creators of this game were binging a certain Hercule Poirot movie before they came up with this idea.

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The return of podcasting

Season 3 of the Space Quest Historian Podcast might be done, but I’m not done with podcasting. I’ll never be done with podcasting! Uh … ahem.

My other podcast, Back Seat Designers, has just started its 4th season. Along with my co-hosts, Fred and Gareth, we’ve decided to break out of our comfort zone and start doing interviews with people who actually know what they’re talking about.

The first episode is out now, and it guest stars Steve Gaynor, the writer and producer of Gone Home — a game that I absolutely love to bits. The second episode comes out this Sunday and has another special guest who is very special indeed.

New Back Seat Designers episodes will come out every Sunday from now on until we either get sick of doing them or game developers of the world stop speaking to us.

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Back Seat Designers: three faces only a mother could love.

On the broader side of the nerd spectrum, my other-other podcast, Nerd Against the Machine!, is back following a hiatus dating back to October 2016. Whereas the SQH and BSD podcasts are squarely about gaming, the Nerd podcast has co-host Robert and myself talk about everything under the nerd sun — from games to music to movies to anime to how to eat a pizza in New York.

Episodes of the Nerd podcast don’t have a set schedule, but we plan to do something at least once a month. We won’t go another three months without an episode, that’s for sure.

Last but not least, I promised Joe of the Upper Memory Block podcast that I would do a guest episode for him. I wanted it to be about Steel Empire (known as Cyber Empires in the U.S.), one of my favorite games when I was a child.

General Shit-For-Brains, take the command chair!

To that end, I have been in contact with the game’s original creator, Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack, with the hopes of getting his recollections about the game’s development “on tape,” as it were. That proved more difficult than anticipated, since the idea hit just around the end of November, and then all sorts of holiday nonsense happened.

But I finally get to sit down and have a chat with Denis tomorrow, which will then be worked into a full-length guest episode for Joe’s podcast. I’m really excited about that!

Other than that, I just finished my latest music album, so I now have the time to concentrate on doing Space Quest Historian: The Adventure Game, as foolishly promised as a Patreon milestone goal. Yes, that is a thing, and it is happening. But it’s also not a podcast, so I will say no more of it in this post …

I re-recorded a fan game soundtrack I made 15 odd years ago

I can’t remember the exact year or circumstances, but back when I was a wee Space Quest Historian I had the good fortune of being asked a couple of times to write music for various Space Quest fan games. I’d been doing weird renditions of the Space Quest theme for a while and putting them up there to, mostly, annoy people, first as .MOD tracker files, and then moving on to General MIDI.

One such project was by a guy who called himself Menbailee. He’d been frequenting the Virtual Broomcloset forums, who back then were a buzzing hive of activity, and he seemed like an okay sort of bloke. I want to say he wanted to do a Klik-n-Play game, because that’s what I remember, but I might be wrong about that. He was calling it The Goliath Series.

It was going to take place after Space Quest V, when Roger was still briefly commanding officer of the SCS Goliath. And then something something evil guy called Khar’n haha funny pun something, and that’s really all I can remember about it. I think you shot something at one point.

Yup, that Goliah.
Yup, that Goliah.

Continue reading “I re-recorded a fan game soundtrack I made 15 odd years ago”