Richard Moss

is creating a documentary-style podcast about video game history and culture

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About Richard Moss

Welcome to The Life and Times of Video Games, a documentary audio series about video games and the video game industry — as they were in the past, and how they came to be the way they are today. My name is Richard Moss.


I'm a writer, journalist, and historian, with a decade of experience covering video games and technology. You may have read one of the many hundreds of freelance articles I've written — perhaps something on Ars Technica, where I write big features on things like The Fall of Core Design (the original Tomb Raider creators) and the making of The Age of Empires and have a long-running game genre history series (here's my favourite entry, on city-building games); or maybe on Polygon or Rock Paper Shotgun or Gamasutra or any of two dozen other publications. A lot of my past work is on my portfolio.

I've also written a book called the Secret History of Mac Gaming, which was excerpted on Gamasutra, Ars Technica, and GamesBeat. And I produce a podcast about play

My cat is named Max.

What is this thing?

The Life & Times of Video Games is an audio documentary series about video games and the video game industry — as they were in the past, and how they came to be the way they are now.

That means that each episode is scripted, edited, and deeply-researched, with interviews and archival audio used whenever appropriate (and possible).

I try to cover a broad range of stories within my niche here — both forgotten and celebrated games and game designers, behind the scenes tales of development/marketing/modding/testing/whatever, fan culture, past trends and platforms, interesting obscurities, specific events, historical milestones, and anything else that seems interesting. And I attempt, always, to make my stories accessible (but also deep) and compelling, with context that helps you understand how they fit into both the messiness that is the past and the weirdness that is the present.

Why audio? Why not make videos instead?

My skills are way better suited to audio production than video (as you can see in the video I made below to promote one of my early episodes), but I also believe that the experience of just listening can be more powerful — more evocative of a sense of place or being — than having lots of pretty pictures to distract your imagination. Audio is also a growing storytelling medium now, thanks to the popularity of podcasts and audiobooks, and there's nobody else doing this kind of show out there.

I'm new to Patreon, how does this work?

Most of the documentaries I produce will find their way into a podcast feed, available for everyone on iTunes and through other podcast platforms with one or two ads per episode. If you'd like to support me, however, you'll get access to patron-only stuff like ad-free episodes delivered in a custom podcast feed and — depending on your level of contribution — extra content like extended interviews and research findings.

The best thing is that by supporting me here you can have a real impact on how The Life & Times of Video Games evolves over time. I'll be paying close attention to feedback and ideas from my patrons, and will conduct polls (and maybe group chats?) from time to time to make sure we're all happy about the show's trajectory.

When can I expect new episodes?

Episodes will come out fortnightly(ish), in seasons. Season 1 included stories on the race to the bottom in the early iOS App Store, the history of a 1990s ROM hacking and translation group, the legendary game designer Mike Singleton, the oft-underappreciated grid-based level editor from the early Tomb Raider games, Microsoft's adventures in games publishing pre-Xbox, and more.

Season 1 had 13 episodes, ranging from around 20 to 40 minutes long. Seasons 2 and 3 were shorter — just six episodes, each around 25 minutes long. A general rule of thumb will be ~30 minutes for the regular episodes, plus the occasional long interview or shorter "soundbite" mini-episode.

Can you actually pull this off?

I have a master's degree in journalism and a decade of experience interviewing game developers and writing about how games are made. I've written dozens of multi-sourced long-form feature articles about games history and culture, some of which have won or been nominated for awards. And this podcast itself even got a recent award nomination. This kind of research and interview-heavy storytelling is totally my thing, and I'd much rather do it than continue to freelance full time (which requires doing other less interesting kinds of work to pay the bills).

If in doubt, though, just listen to some recent episodes. Then make up your own mind.

I'm committed to making this show work long-term, but in the end it'll come down to you. Will you join me on this journey?
$159.04 of $200 per month
It's (sorta) viable in the long term!
At $200 a month, I can commit to keeping the show running indefinitely, in seasons, in something resembling its current form. You can expect around 15-20 episodes for the year plus some interviews and soundbites and other bonus stuff.
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