This episode of Built to Play is all about lost worlds and preserving the past. We find lost opportunities, lost levels and lost neighbourhoods.
We talked to Robin Arnott about his time on the failed game show, GAME_JAM. The show was meant to showcase indie designers, such as Zoe Quinn, Davey Wreden and Adriel Wallick, as they competed to make a video game in a weekend. They would also be partnered with Youtube video creators, like JonTron. Robin joined up because he thought it would be a good way to promote his more experimental projects. His last game, Deep Sea, definitely had a following, but he hoped to show his new game, Soundself, to a larger audience.
The show's production crew, Polaris, then hired brand manager Mattie Leshem to ensure that the Mountain Dew brand was properly represented. Things took a solid turn for the worse when he became started dictating interview questions, including one that repeatedly asked participants whether a woman made a team better or worse. All the designers revolted, and refused to comply with the $400,000 production. You can hear more about Robin's version of events starting at 21:41.
Next we have Frank Cifaldi talking about his adventures in archivism, Lost Levels. About 10 years ago, Frank started documenting old video games. He was watching an AMC special about how the majority of silent films have been lost, and wanted to start archiving old Nintendo Entertainment System games. He was fairly sure that anything that came out in stores would be archived. Even the rarest of games eventually made their way online.
He was worried about unreleased games. Games he saws previews of in Electronic Gaming Monthly, but never had a cartridge for sale. Since then he's been dealing with collectors and combing the web for versions of games that were built but never released. Listen to find out more about rom dumping and Bio Force Ape starting 29:24.
Finally, for people who lived around downtown Toronto, Queen Street West was a marquee neighbourhood. It had the best clubs, the best bars, and the best book stores. If you were looking for a good time, or even just quiet time, Queen Street West was the place to be. But only a couple years ago, everything got expensive. Rent became too high, so mom-and-pop stores closed down. Restaurants moved out, replaced by high end locales. Benjamin Rivers lived in Queen Street West just as things started to change, and he ended up writing a comic about it, called Snow.
Snow then became the first video game he ever made, and now it's the first movie he's ever helped produce. Ben, and director of the film, Ryan Couldrey, talk about the process to adapting the graphic novel to a game and then a movie, as the neighbourhood itself continues to change. To hear from Ben and Ryan, they discuss their history and the neighbourhood starting at 44:20.