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Three Moves Ahead Episode 73: What Made You?

July 14th, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 14 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


This week, Troy and Rob are joined by Jenn Cutter in a trip down memory lane. The topic: How did you end up the gamer you’ve become? When did Rob and Troy learn they were strategy gamers? How do games fit into the rest of your life? How do you deal with being the only gamer in a social circle? Which games poke which aspects of our character? Troy and Jenn also explain BBSes to Rob.

Also, a date is set for the Washington DC area Flash of Steel/Three Moves Ahead meet up.

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The Realm


14 Comments so far ↓

  • Skyrider

    I’m amazed how this episode almost seemed to tap into my own personal past as to how I got ‘hooked’ on video/computer gaming and eventually into the realm of strategy, the genre that best quenches my thirst for the best gaming experiences!

    Several of my own “firsts” that were directly mentioned by the panelists today or in previous episodes:

    First console: Mattel Intellivision. Played that thing until it burned out! Often maligned for it’s wonky controllers, but many a scorching summertime day was circumvented playing so many memorable games with childhood friends. I liked the great sports games (for the time), and still remember sitting for hours in front of Astrosmash (thanks, Jenn!) trying to freeze up the game with the highest obtainable score. And, perhaps my first video strategy game, once mentioned in an episode by Troy, the venerable “Utopia”, a great granddaddy to games of the next decade like SimCity and Civ. I still have a working INTV box today, awaiting a permanent place of enshrinement in my envisioned gaming room (my wife will veto this concept all the way to the grave, but maybe someday…)

    First home ‘computer’: Commodore 64 Yeah, it was a game machine first and foremost, but beyond that it was my “proof of concept” device to show mom (who shelled out the $$ for it), that you could do other things on these boxes like basic word processing for school reports and ‘first contact’ into cyberspace with the awe inspiring 300 baud modem. Yep, younger listeners, 300 baud was KING for a brief time when your parents were taking their first baby steps into cyberspace 25 years ago.

    First naval tactics/strategy game: Harpoon. My thanks for the kind words about this great game, Troy. This game sparked an interest in naval combat games that has stayed with me to this day. Still hoping for a PC Harpoon 4 someday with full multiplayer!

    Flight simulators: For me, the flight sim was the most awe inspiring and most influential genre on the PC. Some of the earliest commecially made flight sims opened a window of discovery for me that would one day propel me into my chosen career as a pilot. Dear ol’ mom had no idea what she was talking about when she asked why I wasted so much time in front of “that game” all those years ago.

    Keep up the excellent work, Troy and the TMA team, and thanks for the memories.

  • Tom Chick

    Although Troy’s confessions of crime and sexual perversity in his youth were a stand-out, the real star of this episode was Rob’s dad!

  • Troy

    Yes, hurrah for Rob’s dad.

    Now you tell us what you would have said had you been there.

  • Hryme

    I think you forgot to link this episode to the main Three M0ves Ahead page (which I have bookmarked). I only noticed it was here because I saw Tom Chick commented on it. Btw thanks for this podcast series. It is the only one I follow.

  • Brian Owens

    I enjoyed this episode and the nostalgia involved. I forgot all about Harpoon and wanted to bring it out again, but the fear of overwhelming disappointment says not to.

    My first game that gave me the “love” of gaming and helped shape who I am was A-Train for the Macintosh SE. I was so young at the time, but I loved purchasing trains, laying track, buying and selling subsidiaries, stock market, and the timetables for the trains. This game gave me a love for strategic gaming, business, planning, and a “big picture” mentality. I remember trying to get my mom to buy it for my birthday from MacWarehouse (I think that was the magazine?) and her being hesitant that it may be too advanced.

    As for the flight simulators during that time period, they certainly required the use of your imagination when flying. It was fun starting off at Meigs Field (now defunct thanks Mayor Daley) in what looked to resemble a rough airplane and was an extremely ambitious game for its time.

  • Troy


    I always forget to promptly update that page. Thanks for reminding me.

    For prompt information on when the new show gets released, you are better off following my Twitter, subscribing on iTunes/RSS or bookmarking the main page, especially since the TMA page is not very conducive to quick browsing.

  • Chris Floyd

    Two excellent podcasts in a row! Great to hear Ms. Cutter on the show again.

    I became a video gamer when my parents got us an Apple IIe. Thinking back, I was surprised to realize that I really couldn’t think of any strategy games I had for the Apple II. (Unless you count the tactical combat of RPGs like Ultima.)

    So the earliest serious strategy game I played must have been The Ancient Art of War. It was released on Apple II, but I played it on a friend’s IBM. I was enthralled by the way squads would meet on the larger battlefield, and then the skirmish would play out in the zoomed in view. I don’t know why. But I went on to imagine and even mock up on paper or with toys my own variants of that kind of wargame.

    I always wanted desperately to get Seven Cities of Gold, which I saw advertised in magazines, but never found a copy and to this day haven’t played it.

    But probably the greatest early strategic experience I had was seeing SimCity on another friend’s PC and then playing for the entire night without stopping. A similar thing happened later with Pirates! Those games are still high points of my gaming life.

    By the time I got my own PC, it was the era of Civ, Dune II, and XCom. But I also went back and played (mostly pirated versions of) Centurion, Warlords (1&2), Railroad Tycoon, and a great CGA management game called Project Space Station.

    On console? I had Nobunaga’s Ambition on the NES!

  • bred

    Rob really is 12 isn’t he?
    Nothing wrong with that, but he did miss out on the magic of playing Barren Realms Elite until he got in trouble for making 2 long distance calls a day for a month.

  • Dauntless_Dad

    Good choice of topic, Rob. This is one of those episodes in which all of us listeners can participate vicariously, as every one of us has our own story to tell. Listening on the drive to work this morning, it was easy to imagine that Troy, Jenn, Rob, and *I* were discussing our personal gaming history. There were a couple times that I had to rewind the podcast because I lost track of the conversation while thinking through the stages of my own strategy gaming experiences.

  • Ginger Yellow

    Harpoon and Red Storm Rising were definitely important games for me, but I’m not sure I ever really conceptualised them as strategy games. They were fairly influential in making me buy an Atari ST though, as I used to play them at a friend’s house. Similarly, playing Dune II on a friend’s Amiga was my first introduction to the RTS. As for strategy proper, I don’t think I ever really engaged with the genre until the first Civ. I remember the controversy over it not originally being released for the ST – that was when I first realised that the ST was on its way out as a gaming platform, and I think I bought it more out of spite than anything. But it totally hooked me, and I’ve been a strategy gamer ever since.

  • Troy

    Harpoon was a wargame, and I see wargames as a subset of strategy. Red Storm Rising was just a Sub Sim – I was referencing the book, not the game.

    When Civ came out, though, yeah – things just changed.

  • Jared H.

    The first strategy game I ever played was SimCity but I was too young to figure out how to play it properly so I didn’t like it. RollerCoaster Tycoon and Pharaoh were the games that got me into city builders (possibly simply because I was a fair bit older when I tried them) but it wasn’t until I played C&C Tiberian Sun that I found a strategy game that I really loved.

    Jenn is right, Turtle in Time was an amazing game for the SNES, but the Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie was also great.

    I look forward to the local meet-up in August, hopefully its not too early in the day though.

  • belgerog

    Great podcast, I loved the discussion on discovering games and how sometimes there is too much information. But I recently had a great experience with Mount & Blade : Warband. Not a strategy game, and I hadn’t played the original one. Once I saw a friend playing it, I tried the demo and was hooked, I had never played something like that. It had been a while since I last felt that way.

    That’s one of the reasons I stopped trying to get into betas, I’d like to be surprised with the first final version of the game. On the other hand, the Internet and forums allow you to discover excellent games you’d have never seen otherwise, and are also great for discussing games once you have played them. I think that by avoiding previews and watching too many pre-launch videos one can have the best of both worlds.

    Troy talked about wanting to be back in high-school right now, but I’m doing my CS degree and you’d be surprised by how few people you can actually have discussions about games with, at least where I live. Despite the growth of the industry and games becoming more popular, it’s very rare to find passionate gamers outside the Internet.

    In some ways I think it must have been great to be of a certain age when all those great PC games were coming out. I was lucky to have found great games like Thief II and Half-Life when they came out, but there’s a lot I missed which I’m discovering only now. I’ve been playing Combat Mission for the first time, and have played Fallout 1 not long ago!

  • Katy

    I really enjoyed the nostalgia episode, especially when you had to explain modems to Rob.

    My introduction to computers & computer games was an Atari 800 my parents bought for the family. Star Raiders was a favorite for a long time, and I remember Eastern Front 1941, though I wasn’t sufficiently caught by it to master its gameplay.

    Like Troy, I was more interested in adventure/RPG games. I spent a lot of time with Ultima II, III and Bard’s Tale, and also played a lot of the Infocom games with a friend of mine, who had one of the early Macintoshes.

    I was one of a handful of females active on the local BBS scene (somehow that made me VERY popular with the sysops), and met my husband there on a SF discussion board, before it was trendy to meet on the Internet.