This is a show about videogames, 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!
My guest today is James Ryan who - as part of his PhD at US Santa Cruz - has been working on some of the coolest and most exciting projects I’ve seen in years, and this chat made me incredibly excited about the future of games and could potentially change the future of writing. This is largely due to his Talk of the Town framework, which simulates 500 years of history in a small American town, and is the engine behind the award winning theatre piece / text adventure / procedural story telling of Bad News and the beautiful and poetic Juke Joint. For his final project he is using this framework to automate radio drama. Amongst several other exciting projects, one of my favourites is GameSpace, an explorable universe of tens of thousands of videogames grouped by genre. (I explored for an hour and only saw a handful of games I recognised). What a treat.
As well as possibly my favourite rage quit story of the show so far, we talk about the inner monologue of a Goomba, the profound impression that Link to the Past continues to have on him (and how apt that title is), why he could only be doing what he’s doing at UC Santa Cruz, how he discovered a whole other universe in Madden 2000, the slapstick violence of GTA3, how learning to code completely changed his life, and why Façade is like the first Velvet Underground album.
PATREON - patreon.com/checkpoints
iTunes HERE - SUBSCRIBE / RATE / REVIEW
Games discussed: Pitfall, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, NFL Blitz, Madden 2000, NBA JAM TE, Façade, Grand Theft Auto 3, The Sims, Sim City, Dwarf Fortress, Tecmo Super Bowl, Football Manager, Little Computer People, Driver
Theme song by Samuel Baker
Art work by Craig Stevenson