The Escapist Magazine
Issue 100
Editor's Choice
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

"For those of us who grew up in the current era, capturing the thrill of childhood adventures may mean rekindling the excitement of one's first videogame, not transforming something exogenous into game form."

Marty O'Hale compares early developers' real-life inspirations with those of today's crop and wonders if modern game-makers haven't lost something in translation.

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"Curt Vendel is one name to remember: He designed both the Flashback and Flashback 2. For all intents and purposes, Vendel is the current caretaker of the classic Atari gaming hardware. He runs the Atari History Museum, which is dedicated to archiving the legacy of Atari's classic gaming era."

Howard Wen sits down with Curt Vendel for a Q&A session.

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"Sure, modern games still penalize failure, but often in the most trivial ways. Getting caught by the police in Grand Theft Auto III will roll back your bank account, but won't do the same to your progress in the game. You'll never see a game over screen in Jak and Daxter - the worst punishment there is being sent back to a few hundred feet to the edge of the current environment. Going into a Metal Gear Solid boss battle? Just use the codec to save your progress and you can die as many times as you want without having to retrace your steps.

"It wasn't always this way."

Kyle Orland mourns the death of the game over screen.

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"We've learned to compensate for the psychological factors of the virtual office with a few simple rules. The first is simply: Ask. We ask many questions of each other. If we don't understand, we ask questions. Once we think we understand, we ask more questions. The second rule is: Repeat."

Corvus Elrod covers the trials and tribulations of a young development company just getting on its feet.

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