The Escapist Magazine
Issue 87
The Rainmakers
Editor's Note The Rainmakers

"I do get into an awful lot of trouble for doing this. It's just that I get so passionate and excited when I'm explaining a game to anyone, be they a journalist or someone I just met down the pub. The root of this is probably that I genuinely want to create the best game ever, but such a statement requires an explanation about how this will be possible.
"Ihave tried to 'restrain' myself in recent interviews, but found it really hard to answer a simple question like 'Why are you doing Fable 2?' without launching into a detailed explanation. When I meet with the team, usually I say, 'Let's make Fable 2 the greatest game ever.' At least I'm consistent! Fable 2 in my opinion - here we go again - will live up to expectations."

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"Yokoi's next big hit came to him as he rode home one evening on the bullet train. The exhausted engineer noticed the gentleman next to him fiddling with an LCD calculator. Yokoi watched, fascinated, as the bored man punched buttons in idle boredom. Suddenly, Yokoi wondered if weary commuters, looking to pass the time, might be interested in a portable gaming device. Thus was the Nintendo Game and Watch born."

Lara Crigger profiles the elusive creator of the Nintendo Gameboy.

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"'The Odyssey came out in May of '72,' Baer says. 'By December, 100,000 of them had been sold. That probably means that 2-300,000 people had [access to] one,' though they shared his earlier dilemma. 'They had to figure out what the hell videogames were in the first place, simultaneously.' The arcade business soon followed. 'The Pong arcade game showed up in fall of '72. It was a knockoff of the Odyssey game, because Nolan Bushnell, he'd played an Odyssey game at a dealership, a Magnavox dealership, in May of that year, and he started the arcade business going.' Magnavox would go on to win a patent infringement lawsuit against Bushnell, but the electronic gaming genie was out of the bottle. 'By the time '74 came, the Odyssey was already obsolete,' Baer says."

Shannon Drake speaks to the father of the home video game console.

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"EA for me is very much of a start-up type of experience, because the first couple of years that I worked in EA we didn't have more than 40 people working in the entire company, so we all knew each other very well; we worked very closely together. The [idea of a 100-hour work week] easily started in that time period, so I saw more of my co-workers than any other human being, wife and children included. So they were very close experiences. ... There were no producers there; we had no methodology for doing things, we had no money either, and so it was very much a 'if we don't get this done we may not survive' kind of an existence for several years while I was there."

Joe Ybarra, co-founder of EA, speaks to Russ Pitts on his longevity in games.

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"Then there are the ambitious newcomers. After reading Pavlina's articles on the independent game business, Gianfranco Berardi woke up. 'I didn't have to work for some large company to work in the videogame industry! I could form my own company! Last March, I officially formed my own LLC [limited liability corporation], and I am currently working on finishing my first commercial game when I am not working my day job. Steve Pavlina's writing let me know I was gravely underestimating what I could do with my life.'"

Allen Varney explores the dynamic work of the game industry's most charismatic independent producer.

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