Category Archives: Interviews

The newsmakers of Central Florida’s video game scene have some deep stories to tell. Not only does it include those who build the games here. There are also alumni of schools that now work on some of the biggest titles in the industry.

Magic Gaming set to tip off 2020 with lofty goals, ‘chip on their shoulder’

Magic Gaming comes into the 2020 season with an interesting mix of high expectations and a chip on their shoulder.

The squad last year missed the NBA 2K League’s postseason by just one game, finishing 9-7 and dropping a key matchup with Grizz Gaming on the season’s final day.

But that team was reshuffled.

Out are Emmanuel “UCManny” Cruz, Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford and Tucker “TuckerLocksUp” Henry.

In are former Pistons GT center Robert “May” May, former Celtics Crossover standout Alex “Profusion” Snowden and Daniel “djbama” Burge.

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Magic Gaming coach Edwards thinks remote play could last more than 6 weeks

The NBA 2K League’s decision to play the first six weeks of the season remotely is likely only the beginning, Magic Gaming head coach Jonah Edwards said.

The affects of coronavirus caused the league to take a cautious approach, launching its third season using exclusively remote play.

But Edwards said he would not be surprised to see that extended beyond six weeks.

“The league is doing its due diligence, though, of making sure they are prepared,” Edwards said. It’s “just in case something does happen and the crisis (moves) behind us.”

Continue reading Magic Gaming coach Edwards thinks remote play could last more than 6 weeks

Mega Man music concert takes over The Abbey on Saturday

A concert featuring bands that play music related to the Mega Man video game series will roll into Orlando on Saturday night.

The concert presented by Ongaku Overdrive, which last year hosted a concert with bands playing music from Final Fantasy, will start at 7 p.m. at The Abbey music venue at 100 S. Eola Drive.

The show will feature local rapper EyeQ, Tampa-based DJ RoboRob, hip hop emcee Richie Branson and Danimal Cannon, a video game music composer and chip tune rock artist.

Athens, Ga.,-based Bit Brigade will headline the show.

Tickets are available at the Ongaku Overdrive website.

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NBA 2K League draft: Magic Gaming has ‘unfinished business’ as 2020 season approaches

Magic Gaming feels it has unfinished business, a year after finishing one slot out of the postseason.

On Saturday, the squad starts its journey toward the playoffs at the NBA 2K League’s draft in New York City.

Head coach Jonah Edwards said the third year for the league will be crucial.

“It’s vitally important,” he told The OVG. “We are a growing league. We have done a good job of finding ways to evolve, even expanding internationally this year.”

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‘Age of Empires, ‘Tomb Raider’ vet helps game firms be careful of cultural insensitivity

Kate Edwards has made a name for herself advising some of the biggest video game titles to make sure they are culturally sensitive.

It’s a challenge that video games face more frequently as storylines become more realistic and set in actual societies – or even made-up ones.

“Not everyone will interpret a historical event in a game the same way, especially when dealing with historical events,” said Edwards, who has consulted on games like “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Dragon Age” and “Mass Effect” to make sure the storylines were sensitive. “There are different sensitivities in different markets. I help them walk through some decisions.”

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Pitfall! creator preferred building for Atari 2600

It’s been more than 35 years since David Crane created the platformer Pitall! for the Atari 2600.

This weekend, he will be in Orlando sharing his love for classic games at the Free Play Florida retro game festival.

He talked to The OVG about his career.

The OVG: Why are events like Free Play Florida important and why do you think so many attend?

Continue reading Pitfall! creator preferred building for Atari 2600

Video game pioneer, Pitfall! creator David Crane says esports roots planted 40 years ago

Legendary video game designer David Crane said he probably should have seen the rise of esports way back in the 1980s.

While building games for Atari, a long hallway ended in a sort-of makeshift game room, where programmers would play the latest titles.

These often impromptu sessions would often draw six to eight people watching the gameplay.

“We, of course, looked at games differently than the average person – concentrating on design issues and technical implementation,” he told The OVG in an email interview. “But it could be entertaining nonetheless. It showed the value of watching an expertly played game.”

Crane would move on to Activision, where he would be the brains behind the legendary Atari 2600 game “Pitfall!,” and “Ghostbusters” for the Commodore 64.

This weekend, Crane will be in Orlando for Free Play Florida, an annual showcase of arcade games that serves as an homage to that classical video game period.

Continue reading Video game pioneer, Pitfall! creator David Crane says esports roots planted 40 years ago

In 18 years, Full Sail grad, Insomniac’s Shaun McCabe has seen video game industry evolve

A lot has changed in the 18 years that Shaun McCabe has worked in the video game industry, having contributed to AAA games like Ratchet & Clank and Spider-Man while at Insomniac Games.

More people play.

Many play for money.

And the tools available for video game developers to build have grown in both number and sophistication.

But as tech advances the industry, one very important aspect of the industry remains unchanged.

“At their core, video games seek to engage players with compelling fantasies that allow them to experience the impossible,” he told The OVG. “That’s the same today as it was when I started my career 18 years ago.”

Continue reading In 18 years, Full Sail grad, Insomniac’s Shaun McCabe has seen video game industry evolve

‘Ratchet & Clank,’ ‘Spider-Man’ vet to video game developers: Innovate, don’t emulate

Shaun McCabe first became interested in video game development when he was playing Final Fantasy VII in the late 1990s.

But to turn that spark into an actual career, he looked to Full Sail University in Winter Park.

The classes there would prepare him for a career that has taken him to Insomniac Games to work on the Ratchet & Clank.

Ratchet & Clank lead a Full Sail hall of famer

Now a Full Sail hall of gamer, McCabe returned to Orlando this month for a series of appearances at the school and around Orlando.

After he did, he shared three tips with The OVG that he said could help up-and-coming game developers.

Continue reading ‘Ratchet & Clank,’ ‘Spider-Man’ vet to video game developers: Innovate, don’t emulate

Full Sail grad, ‘Ratchet & Clank’ vet Shaun McCabe sought chance to explore amazing worlds, characters

When Shaun McCabe joined Insomniac Games near the end of 2003, shortly after he earned a degree from Full Sail University, he jumped into a game that the company hoped would recapture the magic it had discovered with its popular “Spyro the Dragon” series.

McCabe became the sound programmer on the adventure game “Ratchet & Clank,” the story of a Lombax named Ratchet who traveled around with a robot companion named Clank.

Several “Ratchet & Clank” titles later, McCabe continues to build video games for the studio as its head of technology.

“On the technical side, our good friends at Naughty Dog offered to let us use components of the ‘Jak & Daxter’ engine as a foundation for a demo,” he said. “The rest, as they say, is history. It speaks to the true nature of creativity. Great products are often the result of constraints and culture rather than resources and strategy.”

McCabe was recently named to Full Sail University’s Hall of Fame and granted The OVG an interview to talk about his career and his time in Orlando.

Continue reading Full Sail grad, ‘Ratchet & Clank’ vet Shaun McCabe sought chance to explore amazing worlds, characters