The Minds Behind Sports Games

Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers


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SKU: 9781476679334 Categories: , , , Tag:
Imprint or Series:Studies in Gaming

About the Book

Featuring interviews with the creators of 35 popular video games—including John Madden Football, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, WCW/nWo Revenge, and RBI Baseball—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) sports video games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.

About the Author(s)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by Nintendo, Disney and EA Sports.

Series editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies, anthropology, and writing at Pace University in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick Hickey, Jr.
Series Editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell

Foreword by Michael Brook
Afterword by Sanders Keel
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 132 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7933-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4010-5
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Studies in Gaming

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Michael Brook 1
Preface 3
Introduction 7
Aaron Cammarata, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3: Simply the Best, Better Than All the Rest 9
John Salwitz, Rob Rowe and Don Traeger, 720: Build It and They Will Come 18
Don Goddard, Transworld Surf: Third Time’s a Charm 25
Pascal Sahuc and Nick Doran, Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer: Making Waves 32
Martin Edmondson, Destruction Derby: Have Your Cake and Break Stuff, Too
Jon Spencer, SSX: Big Delays, Big Thrills 46
Mark McArthur, Links 2004: Xbox’s Hole in One 52
Stephen Chaplin, Virtual Pool: Calling All the Shots 57
Alan O’Brien, Ten Pin Alley: A Turkey for Its Time 62
Benjamin Johnson, Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis: The Little Experimental Project That Could 66
Sanders Keel, Pride FC: Fighting Championships: A Sleeper ­Tap-Out 73
Loren Lemcke, Super Blood Hockey: An Indie ­Hip-Check 80
Craig Broadbooks, NHL FaceOff ’98: You’re Beautiful, It’s True 86
Michael Mendheim and Sam Nelson, Mutant League Hockey: When Glenda Shaved the Ice 94
Clint Forward, NHL 2K: Sega’s Black Box Special 105
Mark Flitman, WWF Royal Rumble: The Original ­Six-Pack Wrestling Challenge 110
Mark Flitman, WWE RAW: From Royal to Mega 116
Justin W. Withers, Showdown: Legends of Wrestling: A ­Semi-Charmed Kind of Life 122
Sanders Keel, WCW/nWo Revenge: Just Too Sweet, ­4-Life 129
Michael Rubinelli, Toughman Contest: Butterbean’s Brawling Bonanza 136
Dan Kitchen, Boxing Fever: A Forgotten ­First-Person Knockout 141
Chris Razmovski, Boxing Champs: An Uppercut from Mobile Phones to Mobile Consoles 146
Kevin Sheller, NBA Inside Drive 2000: Codename Rock 151
Jules Burt and Perry Rodgers, NBA ShootOut: A “Total” NBA Experience
Michael Brook, NBA Action ’95: Air ­Brook-Ziomkowski Ready for Takeoff 163
Don Traeger and Carl Mey, Lakers Versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs: Exchangeable Heads and the Birth of EA Sports 170
Mark Flitman, MLB Slugfest ­20-03: No Arcade? No Problem 180
Eddie Dombrower, Earl Weaver Baseball: EA’s First Triple Play 186
Peter Lipson, RBI Baseball: The Silicon Valley Survivors 194
Jules Burt, FIFA International Soccer: From the Beach to the Pitch 202
John Salwitz, Cyberball: The Lost Summer and Atari’s Explosive Gridiron Experience 209
Mark Flitman, NFL Blitz ­20-02: It’s Too Late Baby, But Still Damn Good 216
Michael Brook, NFL ’95: Jay’s Fridge Strikes Back 222
Cam Weber, NCAA Football 2014: Goodnight EA’s Football Prince 229
Michael Brook and Don Traeger, John Madden Football: How EA Got in the Game 234
Conclusion 243
Afterword by Sanders Keel 245
Index 249

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An absolute BODY SLAM! You MUST read these stories. Patrick has done it again, and somehow…keeps getting better”—Stephen Fontana, Duel Screens

• “FINALLY! Patrick Hickey Jr. shines a powerful and much-needed light on the actual human beings who struggled and sacrificed to give the world its favorite video games and cherished childhood memories. The Minds Behind the Games series is a heartfelt but honest love letter to the forgotten and until now never told stories of the passionate people behind the pixels. Only Patrick has the combination of journalistic talent, integrity, and affection for the subject matter to accomplish what has been admiringly and very gratefully achieved here.”—Dave Wishnowski, creator, Pro Wrestling X

• “By conducting interviews with programmers and putting the games they created in context of both the industry and the zeitgeist at large, Patrick Hickey is uncovering stories that are not only fun to read, but also important for gaming historians and anyone interested in the fascinating, behind-the-scenes history of popular culture.”—Brett Weiss, author of the Classic Home Video Games series and The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987

• “I was skeptical of anyone’s interest in my relic information about game development in the 90s. Slowly I was drawn to the light of Patrick Hickey, Jr.’s amazing talents and desire to find out what this era of game development was really like. I trust that his journalistic ethics and video game passion allow him no other choice but to tell the truth”—Barbara Michalec, former Blue Sky Software Programmer, The Little Mermaid, Ren and Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention and World Series Baseball ‘95