The Ted Dabney Experience. Intimate conversations with leading lights from the golden age of video arcade gaming. A podcast project by Richard May, Paul Drury (Retro Gamer magazine) and Tony Temple (author of Missile Commander). Brought to you in association with The American Classic Arcade Museum (US) and Arcade Archive (UK).
TDE EP33 - Atari Inc Designer and R&D Manager Roger Hector
29.6.2023Senior corporate executive, serial entrepreneur, automotive designer and fine artist. Roger Hector is not only a successful businessman but a bona fide creative polymath. A long time ago, Roger sharpened his pencils at Atari Inc, working alongside co-founder Nolan Bushnell and creative director George Opperman on a vast range of videogame projects. Hector became R&D manager at Atari, before leaving to co-found his own games company, Videa, with Howard Delman and Ed Rotberg, programmer of Atari’s Battlezone.
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TDE EP32 - Eugene Jarvis - Part 2
1.5.2023Part 2: Eugene Jarvis cut his teeth in the Atari pinball division before going on to produce the groundbreaking Defender for Williams Electronics. Also for Williams (contracted as Vid Kids, his new company with Defender co-creator Larry DeMar) was Stargate, Robotron: 2084 and Blaster. Jarvis left Vid Kids in 1984 to attend Stanford University where he gained an MBA in 1986. He then returned to Williams to design the OTT run and gun title Narc (programmed with George Petro) and, with Mark Turmell, Robotron’s spiritual successor, Smash TV. To this day Eugene produces popular arcade video game titles for his own studio, Raw Thrills Inc.
TDE EP32 - Eugene Jarvis - Part 1
1.5.2023Eugene Jarvis cut his teeth in the Atari pinball division before going on to produce the groundbreaking Defender for Williams Electronics. Also for Williams (contracted as Vid Kids, his new company with Defender co-creator Larry DeMar) was Stargate, Robotron: 2084 and Blaster. Jarvis left Vid Kids in 1984 to attend Stanford University where he gained an MBA in 1986. He then returned to Williams to design the OTT run and gun title Narc (programmed by George Petro) and, with Mark Turmell, Robotron’s spiritual successor, Smash TV. To this day Eugene produces popular arcade video game titles for his own studio, Raw Thrills Inc.
TDE EP31 - Arcade Britannia author Dr Alan Meades
23.2.2023Dr Alan Meades teaches the undergraduate and post-graduate game design courses at Canterbury Christ Church University and is the author of Arcade Britannia, published by MIT Press. After dedicating so many episodes of the show to the mythic American arcade of the late Seventies and early Eighties (in some ways perhaps more a figment of our collective imagination than we might care to admit) it was wonderful having Alan provide a much wider historical context of the amusement arcade, actually dating back hundreds of years and all via a uniquely British lens.
TDE EP30 - Atari Engineer Dave Sherman
5.2.2023Dave Sherman joined Atari shortly prior to Nolan Bushnell’s departure and was at the company through its precipitous near-collapse and subsequent restructuring during the infamous market crash of ’83 and ’84. Sherman worked alongside Dave Theurer on iconic such as I, Robot and Missile Command, and shares many an anecdote about those early days, including soundly beating Bushnell at his own predilection, the strategy board game, Go. After Atari, Dave engineered a dual-purpose CAD system, generating fluid, texture-mapped polygon graphics for videogame application a good eight years before Sony ruled the roost with the Playstation.
This is The Ted Dabney Experience
8.12.2022The Ted Dabney Experience is a podcast project by Richard May, Paul Drury (Retro Gamer magazine) and Tony Temple (author of Missile Commander). We host long-form conversations with the leading lights and supporting cast from the Golden Age of coin-op video arcade gaming. Our guests have included Evelyn Seto (graphic designer at Atari, Inc., alongside George Opperman), Warren Davis (Q*Bert), Jeff Lee (Q*Bert, Mad Planets), Mike Hally (Star Wars, Akka Arrh), Ed Logg (Asteroids, Centipede), Owen Rubin (Space Duel, Major Havoc), Carol Kantor (the industry’s very first market researcher), Doug Wismer (Canadian monitor manufacturer Electrohome), Kevin Hayes (former MD of Atari Ireland), Walter Day (founder of the world-famous Twin Galaxies arcade), John Newcomer (Joust, Sinistar) and many more. The podcast is produced and edited by Richard May with a bespoke sound suite by Ghost of Wood.
TDE EP29 - Crystal Castles programmer Franz Lanzinger
29.11.2022Franz Lanzinger programmed the singular Crystal Castles for Atari, Inc. Released in the summer of 1983 and housed within a typically eye-catching Atari cabinet, the game found modest success as a coin-op title and was adapted for numerous home platforms. Franz talks to us about being the person to establish the long-overdue display of creator credits in video arcade games, meeting avid arcade gamer Steven Spielberg during the development of Atari’s ill-fated Gremlins arcade game, and then quitting the company in a fit of pique following a dispute with management over proposed creator royalties.
TDE EP28 - Food Fight programmer Jonathan Hurd
31.10.2022Jonathan Hurd coded Food Fight at General Computer Corp for Atari. A decidedly ‘non-violent’ game amid a galaxy of shooters, Food Fight was GCC’s first title for a smart-thinking Atari after the infamous Super Missile Attack lawsuit was settled (for more on Super Missile Attack, listen to our interview with GCC’s Steve Golson).
TDE EP27 - Bally Midway graphic artist Paul Niemeyer
16.9.2022In any video arcade, especially during the proverbial Golden Age of the Seventies and Eighties, it wasn’t always the games on screen that first caught the eye but the colourful, imposing, sometimes lurid cabinets that housed them. This was bona fide pop art for the coin-op kids of America and beyond. Paul Niemeyer started his career at developer Bally Midway during the early Eighties, working on such titles as Ms. Pac-Man, Tapper and Spy Hunter. He also had a hand in creating such impressive cabinets as Discs of Tron, Satan’s Hollow and the peculiar Wacko. Niemeyer tells us about the precision art of cutting and layering art screens, life at Midway during the Bally takeover, working with the so-called Bally Pinball art gods, the development of the notorious and enduring Mortal Kombat and having his homework marked by Sylvester Stallone.