Player is a brand new radio comedy set in Dundee in the 1980s, following the life of, Casey, an aspiring game developer.
It’s been produced by TVandNotTV and was written by retro gaming fan, Raymond Friel. Player hits the airwaves on BBC Radio Scotland this coming Monday (22nd September) at 13:30
If you’re not near a radio, outside the umm… UK/Scotland, then you should be able to find it on BBC iPlayer.
We spoke to Raymond earlier today and asked him the sort of probing insightful questions that you’ve come to expect from the Scottish Games Network.
Scottish Games Network: Give us a quick summary of Player?
Raymond Friel: It is 1988. Anything is possible. Even in Dundee. Casey is 20 and dreams of turning his bedroom hobby into something massive – he designs video games and has seen the future… But first he has to convince his parents that he isn’t wasting his life and should get a job with some security instead. Like in Woolworths.
SGN: What inspired you to create Player?
RF: Iain Ross (the producer) and I had been talking about an interactive sketch videogame project and the opportunity to submit a pitch for a sitcom came up and it all just seemed to fit. As this coincided with the launch of GTA V plus the success of The Big Bang Theory it felt like it had huge potential (as well as being about something I’m familiar with – the only other thing I know anything about would not be allowed on radio).
SGN: What was your format (Spectrum/C64/Oric 1/etc…)?
RF: I can remember being 2 or 3 and watching my brothers/parents playing the original Pong. After that we had the Atari but it was the C64 that probably made the biggest impact on me. I had my high score for Clumsy Colin’s Action Biker by Mastertronic published in PCG (Personal Computer Games, an old gaming magazine from the 80s) when I was about 10. This remains the highlight of my life.
SGN: We understand there are some special guest appearances in the show. Care to give us a spoiler or two?
RF: Let’s just say if you like walking about in a maze guzzling pills, flying a Cobra Mark 3, Llamas and Grange Hill’s ‘Just say No’ anti-drugs campaign you won’t be disappointed. NB This isn’t a legally binding guarantee if you are disappointed (although you won’t be, promise).
SGN: What were your favourite games from back in the day?
RF: Pacman on the Atari was amazing and Vanguard was a great shoot em up. On the C64 there’re so many but a few would be Elite, International Soccer, Rocket Ball (an awesome version of the film Rollerball which had a brilliant 2 player game) and Clumsy Colin’s Action Biker for the obvious reasons.
SGN: Why do you think games and gamers get so little recognition in the media? (as in, the usual stereotypes and games are still morally bankrupt, causing obesity in kids, etc. etc.)?
RF: I think that’s still true but it is changing. Guys like Charlie Brooker, Limmy and Christopher Brookmyre are now open about the playing games which is making it easier for the rest of us to come out of the closet so to speak. When it comes to cheap headlines it’s always simpler to blame GTA for youth violence as opposed to looking at the more complex reasons.
SGN: What’s your opinion of the current generation of games and consoles?
RF: I don’t have a PS4 or XboxOne and can’t see me getting one soon. The DS has probably been my favourite console of all time as it has made going to the toilet a pleasant experience as opposed to a journey into hell.
SGN: Tell the nice ladies and gentlemen why they should listen to Player…
RF: Player will save your life! But only if your life doesn’t need saved to begin with – if it does go and see a doctor immediately and for God’s sake don’t waste your time listening to a radio show (you can always get it on the BBC Radio Player afterwards). And good luck, you can beat this!
SGN: You’re working with a Scottish indie developer. Can you explain who and how?
RF: Yes! We’ve teamed up with Stew Hogarth at Smiling Bag as his game I AM LEVEL is fantastic and suited the show like a glove. The characters in Player discuss making it and you can link to the free version of the game plus some bonus content from the show at www.tvandnottv.com. The plan is that there would be a game linked to each episode that you could download and play for free.
SGN: Do you have any future plans for Player?
RF: If enough people listen (or even better email the BBC to tell them how good the show is and that they want more as it’s about bloody time gamers’ interests were represented in the mainstream media!) then we’d hopefully get a series and from there world domination!
Player hits the airwaves on BBC Radio Scotland this coming Monday (22nd September) at 13:30. You can also find it on BBC iPlayer for a week after the broadcast.