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The Life & Times of Video Games

A Video Games podcast featuring Richard Moss
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An award-nominated documentary and narrative-style podcast about video games and the video game industry, as they were in the past, and how they came to be the way they are today.


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20 - RealSound™ and Voice Characterisations
How a quest to put sound in a couple of games in the mid-1980s led to a revolution in computer game audio design and production.***These are, in a sense, the sounds of a revolution in video game history, the sounds of a change so profound that it opened the door to entirely new genres. They’re digitised audio samples, a recorded analogue waveform converted into a digital signal — and then back into analogue audio through your headphones, in this case, via a couple of Macintosh games from 1985 and 86. We take this capability for granted nowadays, as we use our voice calling apps and record videos with our smartphones. But you only have to roll back the clock 35 years to get to a time when this sort of technology was beyond the reach of the masses — when digital audio was something only used by specialist researchers and archivists and cutting-edge or experimental sound engineers. And when the thought of using it on an off-the-shelf personal computer was almost unheard of. But then the Apple Macintosh came out in January 1984. And Apple's so-called "computer for the rest of us" had a secret capability that would unlock this door to digital audio for the masses. Featuring interviews with tech entrepreneur Charlie Jackson (Silicon Beach Software founder and Airborne designer) as well as former Silicon Beach Software VP of R&D Eric Zocher (who later worked as an executive at the likes of Adobe and Microsoft).Adapted from a chapter on Silicon Beach Software in my book The Secret History of Mac Gaming.You can find more of Dick Noel's music via Discogs and the Internet Archive. And about his life in a brief obituary at The Hollywood Reporter.A partial transcript of this episode is available at, along with all of the show notes and past episodes.Music and Sound Effects credits: A Dreamer's Holiday by Dick Noel with Ray Anthony and His Orchestra Explosion Crowd noise Continental Airlines ad from 1969 Game audio clips taken from: Airborne (Mac, 1985) Dark Castle (Mac, 1986) The Three Stooges in Brides is Brides (arcade, 1984) Galaga (arcade, 1981) Donkey Kong (arcade, 1980) Ground Zero (Mac, 1984) Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (DOS, 1992) Dragon's Lair (arcade, 1983) PowerMonger (Amiga, 1990) Phrase Craze Plus (Mac, 1986) Spaceship Warlock (Mac, 1991) Spike (Vectrex, 1982) Sinistar (arcade, 1983) Shufflepuck Café (Mac, 1988) Elite (BBC Micro, 1984) Alley Cat (Atari 8-bit, 1983) Choplifter (Apple II, 1982) Ant Attack (ZX Spectrum, 1983) King's Quest (PCjr, 1984) The Black Cauldron (DOS, 1986) Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum, 1983) The Manhole (Mac, 1988) At the Carnival (Mac, 1989) Air Ace 2 (Amiga, 1989) Uncharted 2 (PS3, 2009) Mercenaries 2 (PS3/Xbox 360, 2008) Everything else is my own work Thanks as always to my supporters on Patreon — especially my $10+ backers Vivek Mohan, Simon Moss, Wade Tregaskis, and Seth Robinson. You guys keep me going, and we never would have gotten close to this point without your help and encouragement. If you'd like to become a supporter, for as little as $1 a month, head to my Patreon page and sign up.Support The Life & Times of Video Games PayPal donations (any amount) — Patreon subscription (minimum $1 a month) — Breaker premium feed subscription ($2.99 a month) — ...Or share the show on social media and leave reviews in Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, and everywhere else.
Interview: Tom Lenting (Games History of the Netherlands)
I interview Gamegeschiedenis van Nederland 1978-2018 (Games History of the Netherlands) author Tom Lenting about his book and the history of the Dutch games industry. This is the first in a new series of interviews I'm running alongside the main show — every month I'll talk to a different person who's exploring games history, in one way or another, to further our understanding of how this wonderful medium (and the industry that's built around it) has come to be the way it is now. Links: A full transcript of this interview: Tom Lenting's book:  His YouTube:  And his LinkedIn:  Reviews of his book: My book:  Life & Times of Games on Patreon: Twitter: @LifeandTimesVG Instagram: @lifeandtimesvg (Newly redesigned) Website: Thank you to all of my wonderful supporters on Patreon for making this possible, but especially to my $6+ backers Wade Tregaskis, Simon Moss, Vivek Mohan, and Seth Robinson. You can help, too — a contribution as little as $1 a month makes a big difference towards ensuring this show has a bright future ahead of it. Head to to make your pledge.
19 - Premier Manager
On the rise and fall of the Premier Manager series of soccer management games — a former PC gaming juggernaut that lost its way amidst a shuffle of developers and publishers — and the part it played in the broader consolidation/homogenisation of sports games (of all kinds) over the past 20 years or so.All music and sound effects in this episode were composed and performed by me, except for the bits that came from the Premier Manager games (the football commentary clips and a couple of songs). And the clip from Highlander.If you'd like to try one of the Premier Manager games, the easiest option is to use the in-browser emulators on — which has the DOS, Amiga, and Sega Mega Drive versions of the earlier titles all playable. The early Championship Manager games — which eventually evolved into today's monster Football Manager series — are also playable on there, in DOS and Amiga formats.Remember to share this episode on social media and to leave a review of the show on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcasting app you prefer.If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to also listen to the previous entry this season, Hogs of War, or one of the many other game design/development-focused stories I've done — consider, for instance, the episodes on Lode Runner, Midwinter, FIFA 3DO, the grid-based level editor of the original Tomb Raider games, or the graphical innovations of pixel artist Mark Ferrari. Or for a change of pace, perhaps you'd like to learn about the origins of the "boss button" or of the App Store's race to the bottom in game pricing?There are "soundbites", too — short clips from interviews I've conducted over the years, like with Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers, former Microsoft executive Jon Kimmich, and legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim.***The Life & Times of Video Games on the Web and social media:Website: lifeandtimes.gamesTwitter: @LifeandTimesVGInstagram: @lifeandtimesvgYouTube: can make a donation to help cover running costs and allow me to rely less on freelance income viaPatreon: PayPal: book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website for more info.
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Podcast Details
Sep 5th, 2017
Latest Episode
Nov 7th, 2019
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29 minutes

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