Jeff Minter was mentioned on a recent ep...

and it reminded me of this:

as lurvly as a ncot and a chocolate digestive, innit?

I guess this is the Jeff Minter appreciation-or-otherwise thread. He's an interesting dev to think about, for me. Anyone who knows him knows him first for this:


The (arguably) best game on a failed platform, and an update to an existing series that he didn't create at that, is his greatest claim to fame. And it certainly is the perfect intersection of playable, intelligible, and minter-y. It got ports, which helped, but from there he just went gonzo aside from other tempest versions and tempest-likes.

Each of his new yak and sheep oriented weirdo games became more impenetrable than the last, but somehow he made it work and became a known name in the game industry, but I'd recon a lot of the folks who know his name never played his games, or if they did, nothing past t2k, at least as far as Americans go. Folks in the UK probably played a bunch of his earlier work!

Anyway he's an interesting one because his fame skirts the traditional industry so roundly (I bet the thing he got paid most for in his life was the Xbox 360 visualizer), and his stuff is so obtuse, and yet if he releases a new game I do want to pay attention. That's a career, I'd say!

I mean good for him. He made one game whose aesthetic has been endlessly copied and then made enough of a career out of remaking that one game that he is a known auteur. It does help that the one game is something as good as Tempest 2000 though. But as Brandon pointed out the REALLY interesting thing is that he didn‘t invent Tempest. I am really trying to think of an analogous creator in another medium who made their place by riffing off an existing idea and then became completely synonymous with that idea. There’s gotta be like an action, sci-fi, or horror director in that position. It's like a reverse IC podcast question, “Who is the Jeff Minter of film directors?”

HMM, yeah, I think that‘s a good way to think about it. like… the 70s invasion of the body snatchers is THE invasion of the body snatchers as far as I’m concerned. the original film was good, but the 70s one was better, and later movies were trying to emulate that one, not so much the original.

But the director (philip kaufman) maybe isn't the right analog there. interesting to think about!

Oh and to be clear I do not begrudge jeff minter his success, I think it rules. I did an interview with him about obscure stuff back in the days before I wrote my own headlines (I would've called it something like "yakking with the yak" or something even dumber):

The only thing I'll compliment myself on with this interview is I never really let on that I had no idea what he was talking about when he got into code stuff. I knew other people would though, so I just tried to encourage him to say more things. Interviewing is fun!

I really enjoyed Space Giraffe on the XBox 360 and if you have the ability to play it, you should. It‘s an excellent Tempest-like which I played “to the end”. The game’s mechanics for whether or not you can destroy flippers up at the top of your web are clear and unambiguous which is a big beef of mine about the original Tempest and T2K. In full disclosure, the full time I've played T2K is about 15 minutes at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo several years back