Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Where are they now? - Michael Legg

Legg was a writer, designer and lead programmer on Westwood Studios point 'n' click adventure, The Legend of Kyrandia

Earlier this month, I was talking about how I love point 'n' click adventures and how the company Westwood Studios actually took a punt in this genre. This led me to talk about Jennifer Sward, who was the Producer and Voice Director for the classic The Legend of Kyrandia. Today I'm going to focus the spotlight on a colleague of hers called Michael Legg. Legg is a man that has been in the games development industry for almost three decades now but what is probably seen as pretty rare in the industry, has only worked for a couple of games development studios, namely Westwood Studios and Petroglyph Games (which is basically Westwood Studios Mk II). While at Westwood Studios, Legg worked on several classic games including all The Legend of Kyrandia games and 1997's Blade Runner. At Petroglyph Games, he's worked on games such as Star Wars: Empire at War and Universe at War: Earth Assault. He currently serves as co-founder, President and Lead Programmer at Petroglyph Games.

Here are some of the milestones and highlights of his career in timeline format!

1980 - Legg enrols at Bonanza High School. He starts attempting to develop computer games on an Apple ][ + using BASIC, Pascal and 6502 Assembler.

1984 - Legg completes school and enrols himself at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, studying computer science.

1986 - Legg manages to land a job at Westwood Studios.

1988 - Legg graduates from university.

1992 - The Legend of Kyrandia is released. Legg worked as a designer, writer and Lead Programmer on the game. He says he was very much inspired by the Lucasarts adventure games of the early 90s.

1993 - The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate is released. Legg was Lead Programmer on the project.

1994 - The Legend of Kyrandia: Book 3 - Malcolm's Revenge is released. Legg was a Programmer on the project.

1997 - Blade Runner is released. Legg was a Programmer on the project.

1998 - Westwood Studios acquired by EA.

2002 - Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat is released. Legg was a Programmer and Designer on this project.

2003 - Westwood Studios is liquidated.

Petroglyph Games is co-founded by Legg, Steve Tall and Joe Bostic in Las Vegas.

2006 - Star Wars: Empire at War is released. Legg worked as a Lead Programmer on the project.

2007 - Universe at War: Earth Assault is released. Legg worked as a Programmer on the project.

2009 - Panzer General: Allied Assault is released - Legg provided additional programming on the project.

[ Reddit: IAmA with Michael Legg dated 21 September 2012 ]
[ MobyGames: Michael Legg ]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Choicest VGM - VGM #207 - Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf - Mongolian Strategy

Soundtrack composed by: Michiru Ōshima (大島ミチル)

This track comes from a game that's relatively obscure in the West, no thanks to it being so old nowadays and the fact it's made by a Japanese company called KOEI. However, KOEI is one of the giants of Japan's gaming industry and the only company I personally recognise when it comes to PC game developers from that particular country (so it must be reasonably famous if I've even heard of them). Regardless of how well KOEI is know in the West, I somehow managed to play a copy of the game, many years ago on the boarding house computer. Along with games like Scorched Earth and Llamatron, it quickly became a favourite. This track plays in the background when you're viewing the strategic layer for the Mongolian steppes. I'm not quite sure if the track is called "Mongolian Strategy" but it's a name I spotted on a website and it seems to fit. I'm also not entirely sure if Michiru Ōshima is the composer of the DOS soundtrack but I do know she was apparently uncredited for the NES version of the soundtrack, plus she has a pretty distinguished career as a composer, so it's most likely she composed the DOS version of the soundtrack too.

The music was recorded through DOSBOX and consequently this is DOSBOX's emulation of OPL3 I believe, the FM synthesis sound chip used in a lot of old Soundblaster cards.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #207 - Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf - Mongolian Strategy ]

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Spotlight Sunday - Week 48 - 2015

Spotlight Sunday is a way for Choicest Games to feature PC games that are scheduled for release on the following week - games that we consider worthwhile checking out.

This week (23rd November to the 29th November 2015) there's only one game that comes to mind when I think of games worth checking out and it happens to be a soppy visual novel. "Have you gone mad Mark?" you must be asking, well there's a bit more to it than that as you shall see. For this week, this is the game I think is worth checking out:


  • Release Date: 24/11/2015
  • Availability: Steam - Not available for pre-order
As mentioned, this is a visual novel so if you don't like the genre at all, you can stop reading now. However, if you like games with a strong plot, I daresay CLANNAD is going to be a game that hits the mark. Firstly, the company behind the game called VisualArts/Key have already released an old visual novel game on Steam that originally came out in 2004 called planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~ (what's with the Japanese and the use of tildes in their game titles? Oh never mind). planetarian is a highly rated game on Steam with an "Overwhelmingly Positive" score of 98% from 585 reviews. Apparently it's very emotional despite the fact people say no choices can be made in the game (so I'm guessing it's a kinetic novel). CLANNAD also originally came out in 2004 and this Steam version promises to have higher definition graphics, Steam achievements and a thing called a "Dangopedia" for all the Westerners out there that are perplexed by Japanese culture. The reason you should take notice of CLANNAD is because it's not just any visual novel game since it happened to spawn a huge franchise in Japan thanks to its success. The original game was the best-selling PC game in Japan and was ported to several other platforms such as Playstation 2, PSP, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PS Vita. It also exists in other media such as manga, comic anthologies, light novels, art books, audio dramas, music and anime (the anime was also critically acclaimed). So even if you're not big into these kind of games but are even remotely curious as to what is considered a Japanese gaming masterpiece, CLANNAD is probably worth a look.

So are you interested or excited about any PC games being released next week? Which games are you looking forward to?