A few days before his 40th birthday I sat down for a meander through videogame past with Kieron Gillen. After a long and storied career in videogame journalism - from early beginnings at Amiga Power to becoming one of the founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun via New Games Journalism - Kieron has moved on to a successful career as a comic book writer and been annoyingly great at that too. With a hugely successful run of books from Thor to Darth Vader, as well as his two creator owned books with Jamie McKelvie, Phonogram and the Wicked and the Divine, which has recently been optioned for a TV series.
Today's guest is Jason Rohrer, a fascinating, prolific and passionate videogame designer. From Passage to Sleep is Death to Cordial Minuet to his latest as yet untitled game which he talks about on the show, Jason is always searching for new ideas and new ways of playing. This passion for experimentation is what has led to a number of GDC design awards, a profile in Esquire magazine and name which has become synonymous with 'art games', despite how shallow a term that can be.
Today's guest is the Scottish novelist Christopher Brookmyre. Chris's love of videogames is peppered through many of his books, but most distinctly in his recent novel Bedlam which has subsequently become it's own videogame. We talk Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy, videogames as fuel for imagination, trolling Dreamcast players, and the parallels between the Quake scene of the 90s and the Punk scene of the 70s. All fun and games until someone loses an eye.
Today's guest is Kirsty Rigden of futurlab, makers of Velocity and Velocity 2x. We chat Pikmin, Atic Atac, Wolfenstein, why we shouldn't fear AI, building a career in games, why the WiiU is the best console ever and, after a misunderstanding of a name, inadvertently come up with one of the greatest ideas for a licensed videogame ever. Oh boy.
Today's guest is John Ribbins, creative director at Roll 7, creators of Not a Hero, along with the BAFTA winning Olli Olli and it's sequel. We hit Urban Chaos, Rocket League, Doom, Death Tank, Bullet Storm, California Games, and the creation and development of Olli Olli. Believe me, he knows that it's hard.
Today's guest is Cara Ellison, best known for her videogame journalism, in particular her soon to be immortalised as a book "Embed with" columns, which saw her travel the world meeting developers and checking out the local videogame scenes. She's now moved into development and is currently working on the narrative team for Dishonoured 2 and a bunch of other secret things. She's also really into Drake. Like, really. We talk DOTA, Goldeneye, Her Story and why her heart will always be with PC Zone.
Today's guest is Geoff Glendenning, a marketing guy whose work on the UK launch of the original Playstation shifted the popular perception of gaming.
Today's guest is videogame writer and creator Meg Jayanth. We have a lengthy chat about her work as the lead writer on Time Magazine's game of 2014, 80 Days before delving into all kinds of other narrative based games. We talk IFs, MUDs, MUSHs and Fanfic. We also hit on our differing approaches to play, how she can't bear to say goodbye to Commander Shepherd, making GTA your own, the peculiar ending to Sim Tower and my poor romantic performance in 80 days. Oh Passepartout....
Today's guest is Sean Vanaman. award winning game designer, one of the founders of Campo Santo and a host of Idle Thumbs. He also wishes he was a little bit taller. He wishes he was a baller.
Episode 10 - Our guest on today's show is the editor of Eurogamer, Oli Welsh. As has become tradition we talk about the Spectrum, we compare film criticism to game criticism and discuss his journey to Eurogamer via Draenor. Along the way we hit Wipeout, Mario Kart, Test Drive Unlimited and a beautiful piece of brotherly love. Essential.
Today's guest is Jonathan Smith. Formerly of Tt games, who were responsible for the recent LEGO game renaissance, he is now co-director of the newly opened National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham. We talk Nimrod and MUD, Command & Conquer, Sleep is Death, Hyper Sports, Lego Star Wars and how Space Pants made him proud.
Today's guest is Simon Parkin. A writer & videogame journalist who regularly contributes to Eurogamer, The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications. He also helped design the controversial tower defence game Sweatshop, which was famously banned from the App Store.
Today's guest is Kirsten Kearney , a videogame journalist and former frag doll, and we talk about everything. Romance, business, murder, politics, image, obsession and revolution. All focussed through the lens of some unlikely games: Rainbow Six, Xenoblade Chronicles, Fallout 3, and Assassin's Creed Unity.
Today's guest is Iain Cook of the popular music combo CHVRCHES. We discuss Galaga, Destiny, gaming on tour, Street Fighter 4 grudge matches and the inexplicable gaming creation known as Pi Man.
Episode 5: Maffew Gregg is the creator of long running web show Botchamania. We discuss Sonic on the Master System, Aladdin, Super Smash Brothers Melee and the curious case of an obese Rock found in a fan's copy of WWF No Mercy for the N64. This is awesome - clap clap clapclapclap!.
Mark Sorrell started his career in gaming working for late night TV call in show Quiz TV and now works as a a consultant and advisor on fremium game design, behavioural change, value perception and strategy. We talk about Superman on the Atari VCS, behavioural psychology, World of Warcraft and why Final Fantasy XII is not only the best Final Fantasy but one of the greatest videogames of all time.
Rhodri Broadbent makes videogames. Starting on games like Fable, Starfox 3DS and numerous Pixel Junk games, Rhod started his own video game company based in Wales called Dakko Dakko. We talk about videogames vs. computer games, the Legend of Zelda, Lemmings, Japan and the best Christmas present ever.
Ste Curran is a veteran video game journalist, host of video game radio show One Life Left and a video game developer and consultant. We talk to Ste about pop music, F-Zero GX, Space Truckers, Halo and how a chance encounter with Parappa the Rapper changed his life forever.
Leo Tan works for Turbine Games in Boston, and has previously worked for Activision and Capcom completing PR for games like Guitar Hero and Street Fighter 2. We talk to Leo about piracy, hairdressing, Bloodwych and the zen of the 0.1 line in Super Monkey Ball.
This is a show about video games, the people who play them and the people who make them. Each episode, a guest talks about the games that have shaped their life in one way or another. Games that have inspired them, games that have forged connections & games that have soothed wounds. Checkpoints!
In a special epilogue episode the tables are turned as I sit down with Violet Berlin and she interviews me about the games that shaped my own life.
We talk about blind runs of Alex Kidd, Tony Hawks Pro Skater as teenage therapy, why death wouldn't stand a chance against my Science Genius Girl, why I always skip the cutscenes, how far I was willing to go to get a Gamecube and why DDR is still one of the greatest games ever made.
We also of course talk about Checkpoints, how my own experiences form the structure of the show, trends and tropes I've discovered from interviewing so many people, and of course the poetic reasons for it's conclusion.
Thanks so much for listening!
PATREON - patreon.com/checkpoints
iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW
Theme song by Samuel Baker
Art work by Craig Stevenson