Fri, 2 January 2009
In this episode, I talk to Malcolm Craig of Contested Ground Studios about his new game, Hot War. Hot War is set in a post-apocalyptic 1960s London, and is a thematic sequel to Malcolm's earlier game, Cold City. I had played and really enjoyed the game the night before, so I can tell you it's a ton of fun. Also, Malcolm is such a generous person that I frequently had to fight to get us back to talking about his game, rather than mine. He's a great guy and I loved talking with him.
WARNING: The Independent Insurgency is an "explicit" podcast.
This episode is 65.3 MB big and 1:11:18 long.
00:00:59: What Contested Ground Studios is
00:04:29: Twilight 2000 is one of the first games Malcolm played
00:05:16: Hot War was also inspired by British authors like John Wyndham (specifically Day of the Triffids) and J.G. Ballard, and is unlike "cozy catastrophe" books like A Canticle for Leibowitz
00:06:00: Hot War is set after a nuclear (and quasi-occult) war touched off by the Cuban Missile Crisis
00:06:30: The Zone of Alienation, where physical laws don't work properly, is inspired by the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky and the novel upon which it's based, Roadside Picnic, as well as the Chernobyl Disaster
00:08:01: Characters in the game have secret agendas that often come into conflict with their organizations' agendas
00:09:32: A rundown of the game's mechanics
00:13:09: Ani DiFranco's song Letter to a John
00:13:31: We talk about music and politics as influences on game design and life
00:15:13: Malcolm's soundtrack for Cold City is dominated by non-50s music like DJ Krush, DJ Shadow,Fingerthing, and the Joe Acheson Quartet
00:16:10: The soundtrack for a Contenders game Malcolm played set in New Jersey (where I used to live) in 1983 included Blondie, Bauhaus, Talking Heads, The Cure, and The Clash
00:17:41: Malcom needs to visit New Jersey, if only for Dexposure's Dreamation gaming convention
00:18:15: We talk about more music: Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, and Green Day
00:19:11: How Hot War's conflict system works
00:19:55: Malcolm and I both worked the Playcollective booth at Gen Con
00:25:03: Megablockbuster 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars handles character death in a cool way
00:26:30: Why design this game?
00:31:09: "The people are not motor-bike-riding leather-clad, crossbow-wielding neo-barbarians"
00:32:46: The prevalence of kilts at gaming cons, Gen Con in particular
00:33:52: Jennifer Rodgers
00:36:17: What other games have you begun to shit out?
00:37:18: Malcolm wrote a game based on the song I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper
00:39:20: The possible third game in this thematic trend would be set in 1920s Constantinople and inspired by the book The Orientalist
00:41:36: The main differences between Hot War and Cold City
00:46:15: Gen Con's t-shirt problems: aggression, passive-aggression, and fascism
00:49:32: Malcolm "nicked mercilessly" from The Mountain Witch, Dogs in the Vineyard, and Covenant
00:53:38: Use of art in the book
00:56:54: The printer for the book is Fidlar Doubleday
00:58:44: Marketing (which Malcolm thinks Evil Hat are particularly good at)
01:02:19: Defining success
Closing song is Thick Ass Stout by Skankin' Pickle which can be found at Podshow's Podsafe Music Network, http://music.podshow.com/
Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis: http://danielsolis.com/