Train2Game News The Minds Behind the Games Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers


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 Combat co-creator John Tobias. 

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.

“We all carry such fond nostalgia for the things that delighted us in our younger years,” Fulop said. “This lack of portability to the future is not true with the written work, with a song, a television show, or a movie. One can read Tom Sawyer as a kid, and your kid can read the exact same book. Or see the Wizard of Oz, my daughter is just as frightened by the Wicked Witch of the West as I was 50 years ago. I Love Lucy is just as funny as when my parents enjoyed it 50 plus years ago. And my daughter can still enjoy all of these things in their original form.  Yet she can’t play Dogz. At least not without a serious amount of effort on my part. And that’s just sort of sad, the fact that interactive entertainment is linked to a specific technology, which is always obsoleting itself, remains an often overlooked black mark in the development of the entire genre of interactive games.”

However, while classic developers have their say in the book, developers from the modern era were thrilled to be a part of the project as well.

“It’s great to be part of a book that taps into such a varied history of gaming. Some of these games have been a direct influence on me and can be used to map my years growing up in life.” -Mike Skupa, Developer Bully, Sleeping Dogs

Additional Praise for ‘The Minds Behind the Games’:

“Fantastic. One-part serious journalism and another part a love letter to the gaming industry.”-Anthony Frisina, Author, The Regulator

“This book will make your inner gamer do the time 8-32-bit warp again and again.”-Chris Butera, Editor-In-Chief, Bonesaw Online Magazine, former WWE.com writer

“NHLPA 93 was the first game I owned for the Sega Genesis and I played it nonstop for a month. I truly believe my favorite player as a kid was Jeremy Roenick simply because of this game. Patrick does a terrific job encapsulating the history, emotion and drama of the early days of this series.” –Arda Ocal, MSG Networks

“From arcade rats to indie developers, Hickey gives an intimate look at the personalities behind gaming with the passion of a fanboy and the attention of a scholar.” – Cesar R. Bustamante Jr., Digital Producer and Book Reviewer, New York Daily News

I love the WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game chapter, which perfectly captures the aura surrounding that title — its development and release during such a transitionary phase for Wrestling — and how it smartly serves as a fun and exemplary reminder of the game’s uniqueness in being a fighting game at heart, hybridized … and stylized with mystical, whimsical gimmick-specific elements effectively creating a “game for everyone,” during a time when that was an impossible task.- Extreme Championship Wrestling Legend Joel Gertner

“The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers” is currently scheduled for a late 2017/early 2018 release. 

Train2Game News Crowdfest Gaming Workshop

Crowdfest will host an interactive Gaming workshop with some of the most influential leaders in the gaming industry, from Travis Winstanley Games Director at Kuju, to Thomas Bidaux, Co-Founder of ICO Partners and Tom Leigh from Crowdcube, 19-20th October in London.
The games industry has always been quick to embrace new trends, and so it’s no surprise that prior to 2012, video games developers were amongst the first to adopt crowdfunding as a method of raising finance.

In this interactive Gaming workshop, budding developers will discover what’s hot and what’s not in video games crowdfunding, how to structure campaigns to maximise changes of success, and hear top tips from game developers that have been successful in their efforts to utilise the crowd.

Speakers include Tom Leigh, Director at Crowdcube. Travis Winstanley, Games Investment Director at Kuju, Thomas Bidaux, Co-Founder of ICO Partners and James Gibbs Co-founder of F6S. 

Audience members will also have the opportunity to question a number of companies that have successfully crowdfunded their ideas including Alexis Kennedy of Failbetter Games, Jay Armstrong of Massive Monster and Moo Yu of Foam Sword.

Train2game News Southampton Game Fest

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The Southampton Game Fest has confirmed that both the HTC Vive and Samsung’s Gear VR will be showcased by Virtual Umbrella at the Southampton Game Fest 2016.

Along with VR, several tournaments have been added to the lineup including the Pokegym challenge, Mario Kart, Fifa 2016 and more. There have also been some interesting unique exhibitors such as a DOOM workshop added, where DOOM fans can create their own DOOM inspired masks.

The Southampton Game Fest is Hampshire’s only large scale dedicated gaming event, which hopes to bring all the gaming talent in Hampshire under one roof, while raising money for the local hospital’s play fund.

Finally The Hampshire Gaming Hub has been added, a website supported by Hampshire County Council which brings together all things gaming in Hampshire, from gaming lounges to local tournament hosts and streamers.

Founder Patrick Day-Childs said:

“Hampshire (UK) is a brilliant county for gaming. We have industry giants like Multiplay and GAME here, and hundreds of gaming fanatics that host their own tournaments or events. Wherever you go in Hampshire you’ll run into gaming”

Southamptongamefest.com
Hampshiregaminghub.org.uk

Train2game News Museum of London exhibits London Gaming

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From 18 March – 28 April 2016, the Museum of London will be examining London’s place in gaming culture with a new temporary display and offering visitors the chance to play four classic video games from the 1980s and 1990s.

The display will trace the city’s journey from the early text-based adventure games where everything was described in words and gamers used their imagination and experience to navigate the virtual world, to its first graphic representations, and finally its more modern and accurate representations in games such as Sim City 3000 and London Racer which offer an almost cinematic experience to the player.

The four games, played on specially emulated computers, will be the 1982’s text-based Streets of London (the very first video game to depict London), 1984’s cult classic Hampstead, 1989’s Werewolves in London (one of the earliest visual depictions of London in a video game) and 1996’s Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror (the first video game with actual interaction with a London landmark).

By playing these games visitors will be able to see not only how video games have advanced in the past 35 years but also how basic representations of London in text-based games on consoles such as the Commodore 64 and Spectrum ZX evolved into more recognisable depictions of the city by the 1990s on more modern platforms like Windows 9x.

As part of the London Games Festival (1-10 April), the Museum of London will also be hosting the Games Culture Summit at 3pm on Friday 8 April. The Summit will bring together leading cultural institutions and creative leaders to look at a variety of issues including how galleries and museums curate, collect and archive games.

Train2game News Joystick App

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Coming soon to iOS and Android, Joystick is an incredible new app set to revolutionise the way gamers can consume news in the future!

Joystick is the World’s First one-stop destination where they can watch all live gaming tournaments across Youtube, Twitch & Azubu.

Joystick will also allow users to create a bespoke personalised news feeds in which they can follow their favourite pro-gamers across all social media and keep up with all different types of gaming news plus watch entertaining game shows.

The Joystick GUI is slick, intuitive and a bespoke news feed can be created in seconds. The user will select their choice of platform, genre and topic before being presented with their personally crafted news feed.

The Joystick trailer is available to watch: https://youtu.be/4ej77ZESa-4

Joystick You’re In Control…

Train2Game News Gaming Istanbul Succcess

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From February 04th – 07th, GL Events celebrated a first of its kind gaming expo for Turkey, attracting over 50,000 visitors to Istanbul’s Congress Center.

Furthermore, more than 300 industry representatives from 13 nations attended Gaming Istanbul trade and industry conference. GIST’s pitch & match system alone counted more than 500 meetings that have been arranged through this system. GIST Gaming Istanbul 2016 attracted visitors from all target markets: Europe, MENA and Asia.

“Gaming Istanbul was intended to create a bridge between markets in Europe, the MENA region and Asia – and this is exactly what we achieved. GIST 2016 was an enormous success, after evaluating all data; we can count around 50,000 visitors, said Cevher Eryürek, Project Director Gaming Istanbul at GL Events. She continued, “Gaming Istanbul debuted as the MENA region’s biggest gaming expo, and ranks GIST in the top 5 of European gaming expos in their first year. We’re very thankful that the Turkish and international gaming industry for their support. GIST 2016 connected industry representatives from all our target markets with each other as well as with the Turkish industry.”

With 84% of all B2B visitors originating from Turkey, including distributors, big and medium-sized developers, as well as indie studios and universities, GIST saw representatives from all areas of the local industry attending. International visitors came mainly from Germany, the UK, France and Poland, as well as from MENA markets such as Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon and Iran.

Cevher Eryürek continued, “Exhibitors from all areas of the industry, from AAA to indie, presented the latest in gaming and hardware. For the first time, Turkish consumers had the chance to personally interact with the gaming industry in such a broad manner. Consumers reacted very positively, while we had constantly well-filled halls on all four expo days.”

Additionally to Gaming Istanbul, GIST Developer Conference, which took place prior to the expo, and the Turkish gaming industry association TOGED’s symposium generated exceptional content and was well received by local and international attendees.

GIST Gaming Istanbul 2017 is scheduled for February 2017, taking place in Istanbul Congress Center as before. GL Events will announce detailed event dates shortly. For 2017, GIST plans to continue following its successful blueprint and grow in all areas, attracting more international exhibitors and visitors.

Train2Game News Lenovo and Razer team up

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At DreamHack Winter 2015 today, Lenovo (HKSE:992) (ADR: LNVGY) and Razer revealed their first-ever gaming desktop prototype that will officially launch at CES (Consumer Electronics Show®) 2016.

The two companies announced that together they will co-brand and co-market special Razer Edition models of Lenovo’s Y series gaming devices – marrying  the manufacturing, supply chain and channel relationships of Lenovo, the world’s number one PC maker, with the immersive technology and deep expertise of Razer, a leading company in connected gaming devices and software for gamers.

PC gaming today offers a rich and immersive experience – thanks in part to cutting-edge graphics performance, superior processing power, and peripherals designed specifically for gaming. Lenovo will employ its system design and engineering expertise, while Razer will enhance the immersive experience for gamers. All forthcoming Lenovo Razer Edition products will be co-branded and reflect the edgy Lenovo Y series look and feel with iconic Razer elements like customizable Chroma lighting effects.

Razer matches Lenovo’s scale and broad appeal with a high-touch dedication to the gaming community. Lenovo and Razer will be offering Y series Razer Edition products to Lenovo’s extensive global reach and Razer’s core gamer communities. Additionally, both companies are looking to jointly double down efforts to fast track the development of new technologies, including gaming experience enhancements.

The Lenovo and Razer strategic partnership will extend to multiple new designs and products and the companies will also explore potential cross-selling opportunities in the near future.

“We are thrilled to partner with Razer and bring out the best from both companies to deliver a better, more immersive gaming experience for customers,” said Victor Rios, vice president and general manager, Workstation BU, Gaming and Industry Solutions, Lenovo. “While we bring to the table our engineering expertise, design muscle and scale, Razer adds in the finesse and experience of serving the gaming community for the last decade. We believe our partnership is a strong first step that will lead to the delivery of winning PC gaming solutions and a brand new experience to our customers.”

Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan said, “This agreement opens opportunities to advance the gaming lifestyle through world-class product in unprecedented ways. Lenovo is the world’s #1 PC maker. Razer is the world’s #1 gaming lifestyle brand. Together we have the passion, insight and operational capabilities to delight and empower the PC gaming community worldwide.”

To receive updates regarding the Lenovo and Razer partnership, register at http://rzr.to/LRE.

Train2Game News New Crowdfunding Platform

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Today Fig announces the launch of its funding platform, which provides developers a new way for their games to be financed and produced.

Fig is the first platform targeted solely at video games that offers reward-based crowdfunding as well as access to investment crowdfunding. Fig’s aim is to provide a curated experience that strikes a balance between titles from well-known independent studios and ones from up-and-coming indie teams. Investment crowdfunding is currently limited to accredited investors only, but pursuant to a recent regulatory development, Fig plans to open up investment opportunities to everyone in the near future.

“Games are one of the leading sectors in rewards-based crowdfunding and continue to evolve the whole medium; Fig’s approach is to customize our platform to what works best for games,” said Justin Bailey, CEO of Fig. “This includes supporting investment crowdfunding where the fans have the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the games they help make possible.”

Fig received seed funding for its launch from Spark Capital, a top-tier venture capital firm that has invested in many leading creative companies including Oculus, Twitter and Slack.

Fig’s advisory board – Urquhart, Fargo, and Schafer – who have created some of the most successful rewards crowdfunding campaigns and game launches, will participate in the pitch process and mentoring of the developers using the platform. They will also be using Fig to fund future titles from their studios Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment and Double Fine Productions.

“Feargus, Tim and I have all experienced the many challenges of bringing our games to market and nurturing great talent along the way,” said Brian Fargo, CEO of inXile. “We’re proud to be creating an ecosystem that better supports developers and their fans in the quest to bring their passion projects to life—and we believe Fig will become the best option to get games funded in the future.”

For Fig, funding is just the start – plans are in place to support developers through the entire life cycle of their games. The company has already started filling its pipeline with prospective titles for 2015.

Fig’s first campaign, Outer Wilds, won the 2015 Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards Grand Prize and Excellence in Design. Created by Alex Beachum, the title will be developed by Masi Oka’s (of Heroes’ and Hawaii-Five-O fame) Mobius Digital studio. Outer Wilds’ funding goal of $125,000 will give the team the tools to upgrade the artwork, polish the game systems, and bring much more content to the experience. For more information on Outer Wilds or to contribute, click here.

“We’re excited about this opportunity because, as indie developers, creative control and IP ownership are critical,” said Masi Oka. “Having a crowdfunding platform specifically targeted to games also allows us to reach and focus our marketing to the gaming community.”

Train2Game News Mobilize your games

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iQU Group today announced the launch of its new outfit, Mobilize, focused exclusively on the mobile games market to help developers self-publish successful mobile titles, engage players and operate profitable games.

In a crowded, confusing market, Mobilize gets involved in the development process early to offer a holistic, bespoke go-to-market and growth strategy with scalable products and solutions. Led by mobile games guru, Oliver Kern, the Mobilize team is already working with established developers such as Hutch Games, Mind Candy and more… and will be rolling out additional services in the coming weeks.

“In today’s saturated mobile games market it’s very important for developers to not only make a great game but to also create a viable strategy to soft-launch, launch, run and monetize their game properly”, said Oliver Kern, the group’s VP and Chief Mobilizer. He continued “There is a lot of noise with too many companies claiming to provide the silver bullet in terms of player acquisition or analytics or some other such service. However, a game is successful when many factors work in harmony. In a nutshell, our goal with Mobilize is to help developers understand all the levers of launching a successful game and maximizing their opportunity when self-publishing their titles. We want to start working with them early on in a project to help create a cohesive strategy for launch, promotion and live operation that will benefit the life and commercial viability of the game”.

iQU Group’s founder and board member, Reinout te Brake, said, “We are very proud to announce the launch of Mobilize as a new addition to the group. For over 5 years, iQU has been helping games developers and publishers increase the value of their games by providing solutions that extend and maximize the player life-time and value of their marketing spend. The current games landscape is extremely complex, with small teams having to master technical, creative, analytical, tactical, marketing and industry knowledge to be successful. With Mobilize we have brought together an experienced, world-class team to help clients navigate this landscape and increase their probability of success.”      
                       
Mobilize services include campaign management, soft-launch management and data analysis, channel expansion to help mobile developers reach every relevant channel, regardless of studio size, and country management to execute international marketing campaigns in French, German, Russian, Spanish, Dutch, Italian and English.

For further information on Mobilize, please visit: www.mobilizemygame.com

Train2Game News Insomnia 53 success

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Multiplay, hosts of the UK’s biggest gaming festival Insomnia, is delighted to announce another record year for the event with more visitors, more games, more special guests and more fun than ever before.

Driven by an increase in visitors across the year of over 64%, Insomnia cemented its place as the number one gaming festival in the UK. Insomnia53 alone was watched online by over a million viewers, streaming over 11 years of content across a single weekend.

Featuring debut tournaments for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Halo 2: Anniversary, Insomnia53 was once again the best place to take part in and spectate completely open UK eSports action. Featuring high level competition across a variety of returning games including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, this year also saw the introduction of tournament’s for Blizzard’s popular online card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, with hundreds of players battling it out across the year for a slice of the prize.

Throughout all of 2014 the Insomnia Gaming Festival has given fans a chance to meet and greet huge content creators from across the spectrum of gaming media, including The Yogscast, SkyDoesMinecraft, Syndicate, KSI of The Sidemen and many more. With a variety of interactive activities available for fans to participate in, there was no better place for young and old gamers alike to meet their heroes than at Multiplay’s Insomnia events.

Attended by tens of thousands of gamers, Insomnia remains the number one gaming festival in the UK; thanks to a wide breadth of content, Insomnia attracts a unique audience that encompasses every sort of gamer across not just PC but Console and Mobile, welcoming the hardcore and the casual alike.

“The past two years of growth for Insomnia and Multiplay as a whole have just been incredible, and we couldn’t be more thankful to our incredible community and partners for making all of this possible,” said Craig Fletcher, CEO & Founder of Multiplay. “We have an inclusive community, an event that attracts gaming fans of all ages and backgrounds, and partners that truly believe in what we’re doing; creating some of the best gaming events on the planet. 2015 is going to be amazing, and with a well earned rest for Christmas, we’re looking forward to our biggest Easter event ever on April 3rd.”

Insomnia54 takes place from April 3rd-6th 2015 at Coventry’s Rich Arena, promising the biggest spring event ever imaged, with more games, more tournaments, more special guests, and more visitors than ever. To ensure you don’t miss out on the action, book your tickets now: http://insomniagamingfestival.com/tickets/

For more information on all activities at Insomnia54, please visit http://insomniagamingfestival.com.