This page contains links and brief descriptions for episodes of the They Create Worlds podcast.
Episode 15 – The Story of Chuck E Cheese – We discuss the founding and development of Chuck E Cheese. We go over Showbiz pizza, and its founding as well as eventual acquisition of Chuck E Cheese. At a higher level we go over how companies need to go public in order to grow, but this is a major problem for the video game industry.
Episode 14 – Nintendo: Playing With Power – We discuss the state of the industry after the crash before Nintendo came onto the scene, and the difficulties in relating with the modern viewpoint to the situation at the time. We cover how Nintendo entered the US market and set up policies that would be ridiculous today, but were necessary for the industry to recover and grow. We cover how as Nintendo grew they were eventually sued for anti-trust, and price fixing, but were exonerated. Still this led to them easing up on their control in the early ’90s.
Episode 13 – History of Acclaim: The Fall – We go over the changes that led to the fall of Acclaim. How some other publishers were able to survive, and why. We also discuss how it is a unique situation that led to the growth of Acclaim in the late ’80s early ’90s . We can also see parallels between Acclaim and more recently THQ.
Episode 12 – History of Acclaim: The Rise – We go over the rise of Acclaim Entertainment from its inception by two former employees of Activision. We cover Acclaim’s rise as they started off as publishers of games from smaller companies, and then branched out into franchising. We discuss the interactions between Acclaim and Nintendo, and how they become one of the first American publishers for Nintendo.
Episode 11 – The Genesis of JRPGs – We go over the Genesis of JRPGs, and discover that their origin is not where we would have expected them to come from. We go over the influences on developers in Japan that lead to the development of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. We discuss how western RPGs made their way into Japan via the Apple II, and how RPGs eventually ingrained themselves into Japanese society.
Episode 10 – The History of Mediagenic Part II – We conclude our discussion of the history of Activision/Mediagenic. We cover the company under Bruce Davis’s leadership onto it becoming Activison again under Bobby Kotick.
Episode 09 – The History of Mediagenic Part I – We go over the history of Activision, from the great crash, right up till Bruce Davis takes it over. We cover Activision’s varied acquisitions by Jim Levy, and some of the challenges faced by the company during this time. We go over some of their successes, and misses, in reading the evolution of the industry.
Episode 08 – Birth of the Japanese Game Center – We cover the beginning of the Japanese game center. How games had to change for Japan due to space limitations, leading to the evolution of Bagatelle into Pachinko. There is the dissolution of the pachinko parlors starting with the cessation of production in 1937, and the closing of the parlors in 1938. After WWII pachinko started to come back as a gambling device to get basic needs. With the rebuilding of Japan games were not viewed as something adults would do, and were targeted at children. We continue on with jukeboxes and Taito acquiring them from military bases to restore them for Japanese use. We go over some of the differences between the Japanese and American arcade industries. We cover how arcades start to spread across Japan, first as add-ons to movie theaters and shopping centers, then as add-ons to bowling allies that allowed arcades to penetrate the entire culture. We cover the medal game fad and the first big video game in Japan, Breakout. Then we get Space Invaders which becomes a massive hit in Japan!
Episode 07 – History of the Arcade – We cover the history of the arcade going over the many roles it has occupied from the late 1800’s to the present day. The arcade has changed in form and function quite a few times over the last century.
Episode 06 – The Early History of Electronic Arts – We discuss the early history of Electronic Arts, including, he founders, how it was financed, the origin of the name, and the initial games made. We go over some of the controversies involved with the founding of EA. We also go over the three core founding tenants of the company and some of the early employees and games.
Episode 05 – The Untold History of Sega – We discuss the history of SEGA. We go over how the company came to be, and the myriad of names the company was known by. How SEGA started as a distributor, and evolved into making their own coin op-games. We also go over how the coin-op business evolved in the post WW II era. The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega in the console market. We also go over how Nintendo had a stranglehold on the game market in the USA, and Sega beating them out in market share for a year.
Episode 04 – A Tale of Cycles – We discuss the cycles in the video game industry, and the numbering of the generations. We also go over how transitions happen. We go over the market, and technology changes that happen.
Episode 03 – What Makes an Industry? – We talk about the three existing industries; arcades, home console, and PC games, and how they merged together to form the “Video Game Industry”. How this almost happened in the 80’s but was stopped by the video game crash. We also discuss at what point is an industry made, and what has to happen for it to become one.
Episode 02 – You Talked to Whom? – We discuss Alex’s interview process. Whom has he talked to? How does he find them? How does he prepare, and for that matter why is he interviewing people?
Episode 01 – All I Can Do Is Ask Why? – Alex and Jeff introduce themselves and discuss why they have decided to do a video game history podcast.