August 9, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Features | Tags: , , ,

Last year I attended the Annual Videogame Lecture at BAFTA’s swanky central London HQ. The event saw Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux look back over his career in videogames in an effort to contectualise his vision of the medium’s future. Rather oddly, that vision involved Coronation Street.

For those of you unfamiliar with British television, Coronation Street is a soap-opera set in working-class northern England. Known to its fans as “Corrie,” the show follows the affairs, scandals and sordid daily lives of the street’s residents. My wife loves it, as does half the country. Week after week it sits at the top of the viewing figure charts. It has done for 40 years.

However, it’s also complete nonsense. Currently, the storyline concerns the aftermath of an underwear factory explosion, where an escaped convict held a woman (who used to be a man) hostage, following a failed attempt to push her husband (who didn’t used to be a woman) into the canal. See what I mean?

It is far, far removed from the everyday concern of videogames.

So when Molyneux presented the crowd with a selection of slides detailing his influences, the auditorium was surprised to see a still from Coronation Street projected onto the giant screen behind him. We all laughed.

But he wasn’t joking.

(Read more at GamingUnion)


May 15, 2010, 1:28 am
Filed under: Retrospectives | Tags: , , ,

1986, Surrey, England. Peter Molyneux, failed games designer and founder of Taurus Impact Systems, sits before a Commodore executive. It has just occurred to him that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding.

Commodore, keen to foster industry support for their new Amiga system, have reached out for networking solution specialists TORUS. They haven’t realised it yet, but in Molyneux and his fledgling database firm Taurus they’ve got the wrong man. It leaves Molyneux in an impossible situation. Should he deceive them to secure the eight free Amigas he desperately needs, or confess and risk walking away with nothing?

He can’t afford to fail this time. Just two years earlier, Molyneux invested everything he had into developing a videogame, Entrepreneur. It was a disaster, selling just two copies. Scolded, Molyneux turned to database design where he now finds himself. He can’t screw this up too. Those Amigas could be the difference between success and failure.

As he sees it, he doesn’t really have a choice. So Molyneux chooses his words wisely, shakes hands with the exec and flees the office. The Amigas are his.

Molyneux’s measured deception would inadvertently lead to a videogame revolution. With the TORUS confusion cleared up the database was released to modest success. Molyneux used the the profits to co-found the legendary Bullfrog Productions. Their first game would change the landscape of games forever. It was called Populous.

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Christmas came early to London recently, with Microsoft holding a sneaky-peek preview event showcasing some of the goodies they’ll be offering this festive season. With everything from mice that work on any surface, to HD webcams and a new Windows Mobile operating system, rest assured that Microsoft has plenty to keep your average tech-minded geek smiling this Chrimbo.

But that’s not why we were there, of course. We were there for the games. For in among all the gadgets and gizmos were a couple of tasty looking triple-screen set-ups for Microsoft’s exclusive car-sim, Forza Motorsport 3. We ducked past the leggy ladies in sexy elf costumes, stuffed one last canape into our face and grabbed a controller.

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