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Member Since 03 Mar 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:44 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Secret History of Mac Gaming

04 September 2018 - 09:55 PM

Neither Welch nor Spees wanted to talk about their falling out when I interviewed them, but they gave the impression that it's water under a bridge now. I think Spees has the rights to both Ferazel and Harry nowadays. He was talking about bringing them back for iOS last I heard from him, but that was a while ago so not sure what the status is on those now.

Definitely planning to include Ambrosia and the other major Mac shareware happenings in the new book. Wouldn't feel right to ignore them (Ambrosia especially, given how big they were in their prime). I do want to limit the overlap as much as I can, though, so I'll be shortening any stories that get carried over from Secret History of Mac Gaming and trying to pull in new/leftover material that wasn't (I never got to speak to Ingemar Ragnemalm, for instance, so maybe I'll talk to him this time, while there are unused Ambrosia stories and lots more detail on Jeff Vogel's work that I could go into).

I think I'll probably point people to the other book for more detail, though, because these Mac shareware stories are fantastic.

I love Nightfall. I actually missed out on it back when it came out, despite knowing about the game — didn't have a computer that could run it. Then I couldn't find a copy anywhere (and wasn't in a position to import) for years after that, until finally I emailed them one day in I think 2012 and they sent me a free copy (I offered to pay but they said not to worry).

Had intended to do a retro review and making of story on Archive.vg, but it fell through when the site went on hiatus, so I'm really glad I could get their story into the book. They're on my list for possible future livestreams, in the same style as the one I did with Robyn Miller a few months back. I'd love for more people to know about the game. (And yes, it runs near-perfectly in Sheepshaver, from what I've played on there.)

In Topic: The Secret History of Mac Gaming

03 September 2018 - 09:53 PM

Yeah, the purest form of shareware was the full program, unlocked and unlimited, with a notice requesting payment if you like it displayed prominently only on *the first run* (and then relegated to a menu or credits screen or something else you can easily ignore). It was a kind of hybrid of the old hacker ideal of everything being free and the then-new concept of software as a commercial product — a way to make money without completely selling out.

I'm taking that broad "blanket" definition for this book of anything that was distributed freely with a request for payment — whether that registration would mean you get source code, extra episodes/features, no more nag screen, or nothing at all except good vibes and a subscription to the dev's mailing list. The interesting thing with shareware games is that pretty much nobody was making more than "pizza and beer" money until Apogee came up with the episodic model in the late 80s, whereas developing shareware utilities was always a viable way to earn a living.

I'll definitely be asking everyone I interview for their thoughts and memories about the economics of shareware and their reasons for adopting the particular type of shareware. Hoping to find more quirky examples like the Continuum "beerware" story, too.

In Topic: The Secret History of Mac Gaming

30 August 2018 - 08:50 PM

Oh wow. I'd forgotten about MacBrickout. I don't remember which version I had back in the 90s, but that and Brickles Pro definitely gave me some fun times.

It likely won't get in the book beyond a name in a list of shareware Breakout games or at best a couple of paragraphs, but I'd be interested in learning the story behind it. If nothing else, it's more material for my still-theoretical Secret History of Mac Gaming volume 2 project.

In Topic: The Secret History of Mac Gaming

29 August 2018 - 07:27 PM

I gave a keynote talk about Mac gaming history at an app developer conference this week. I believe there'll be a video up in a few weeks, provided the tech worked -- will post it here.

In other news, my next book project with Unbound went live several hours ago. This time I'm digging into shareware games history, with the same people-focused approach to the storytelling but a bit of a different, more linear (though not totally linear) structure since the story's not as complicated.


There'll be Mac gaming coverage in there (and DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple II, etc), but probably not a great deal of info that wasn't in Secret History of Mac Gaming -- so mostly just rehashes of the shareware bits from that book, but I should be able to get some new interviews that didn't end up happening there for whatever reason (like Ingemar Ragnemalm, for instance) as well as find some leftover material that didn't fit last time but does this time.

I'm open to suggestions for shareware games and devs to look into, whatever the platform. And as always happy to answer any questions.

In Topic: The Secret History of Mac Gaming

27 June 2018 - 09:51 PM

I just finished a livestream with Robyn Miller in which we celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Manhole's public debut. Lots of cool stories here, including some stuff that even I didn't know. We played some Cosmic Osmo as well, and even snuck in some Spelunx action at the end.

Here's a replay: https://www.youtube....h?v=-kX5E7yOHJg

Same replay is also on my Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/278446619