That was a great podcast! The more we discuss the art of Dani Bunten the better. We are fortunate enough today that many of the pioneers of gaming are still with us including the founding fathers, Baer, Bushnell, Alcorn, etc, but it saddens me that I will never be able to meet one of the industry's brightest stars. The best you or I can do is play her games and get the word out about her art and you guys have done an excellent job of that with your latest podcast. Hopefully you've inspired a few folks to search out her games and give them a try. In a strange coincidence I was reading some back issues of EG that I have and came across a Dan Bunten interview in the February 1983 issue (the cover has Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man getting married - Mrs. Pac-Man???). He was still releasing games for SSI at this point but hinted strongly about branching out. He talks about his influences and how he admired Scott Adams and - somewhat enviously - pointed out how Scott had become synonymous with adventure gaming. He also discussed how important he thought packaging should be, hinting at what would come from EA. I get the feeling he'd had a conversation with Trip Hawkins just prior.
I'd like to point people who are interested in chatting about Dani or her games like M.U.L.E. to another forum topic we've started here:
I love how Raz was applying metaphors to the design choices for Seven Cities of Gold. I think he made some really good points I hadn't thought of before. I also wholeheartedly agree with Raz about playing these games on the _real_ hardware. I love emulation for many reasons, but it doesn't hold a candle to the real deal when you really want to immerse yourself into a game.
Your discussion about videogame "journalism" parallels my own thoughts. I think there is a big difference between 'reviewer' and 'journalist'. Most of the people you seem to mention fall into the 'reviewer' category and as such are simply, for better or worse, puppets of marketing. I'm not saying a reviewer cannot be a journalist, but the two hats must be exchanged in order for that to work. To use a popular figure in the movie industry as an example: Roger Ebert is simply a 'reviewer' on his tv show, but becomes something else (journalist, historian, whatever-you-wanna-label-it) when he applies himself to dvd commentary, non-review movie article or book. I personally don't care for his reviewer side, but his commentary on Citizen Kane was one of the best I've ever heard. What I think we need to ask ourselves is: do videogame reviews matter at all? Have you ever been influenced by one? I certainly haven't... ever. The only reason I ever watch/read a review is that it usually gives me the best glimpse of a certain game to date. I think it is much more interesting to discuss the facets of the games themselves, much like you guys did with SCoG. Bringing out certain aspects that the gamer may not have realized about the source previously - again, like the metaphor discussion in SCoG, great stuff!
There is hope amongst the videogaming literati though. There are also some folks in the blogoshpere that I think are leading by example and I think it is simply a matter of time before their voices are the voices heard above the corporate shills. A good start is the Brainy Gamer: http://www.brainygamer.com/
Thanks for the great podcast guys, keep up the great work. I'm really looking forward to the next one already. If I could suggest another person-of-topic for retro-respect next time: Scott Adams and his adventure games.