John Romero’s Stage of Development

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I started my academic career in computer science but ended in communications. One way I currently marry those disciplines is not by developing games, as I originally thought I would, but by interviewing those who do. The IndieSider audio podcast airs biweekly with stories of independent game development (including on the Apple II), showcasing the design, execution, and funding challenges encountered by small studios with big dreams.

Documentarian Russ Pitts of Flying Saucer Media has a dream of his own: to produce a series of video profiles of games industry personalities. Think of Stage of Development as similar to IndieSider, but more professional, more visual, better funded, and not focusing exclusively on indie game developers. In fact, one early episode will spotlight one of the biggest names in the industry: John Romero, KansasFest 2012 keynote speaker.

In 1998, Romero hosted an Apple II reunion attended by platform luminaries, such as Dan Gorlin (Choplifter), Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia), Doug Smith (Lode Runner), Joel Berez (Infocom), and Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion). In the summer of 2015, Romero threw another such party, with the guest list including Robert Woodhead (Wizardry), Chuck Sommerville (Snake Byte), David Mullich (Heroes of Might and Magic), and Margot Comstock (Softalk). Not only was the event extensively documented by Jason Scott, but Romero had each of the attendees sign his Apple II case; a glimpse of their autographs can be seen in the opening moments of the above Stage of Development video.

I’m excited to see Romero’s contributions recognized and the human side of game development brought to life by Pitts’ series. Though Stage of Development didn’t meet its Kickstarter crowdfunding goal, the project is nonetheless moving forward. You can subscribe to receive email updates on the series.

(Hat tip to Polygamer)