ETAO PODCAST, EPISODE 139.
Zach Barth is back to talk about Last Call BBS, which is the last Zachtronics game, and also a collection of eight smaller—though not all especially small!—Zachtronics games, unified by the fictional hardware spec for which they were built and the fictional software pirate who distributed them. It’s a celebration of pursuing weird ideas, messing with old computers, and various kinds of inevitable endings. Here Zach talks about why the studio is closing up shop, why they’re choosing to end things on this particular note, and what might be next.
You can get Last Call BBS on Steam and on Game Pass for PC.
You can see the whole Zachtronics catalog on their website.
You can also follow Zach(tronics) on Twitter.
• When Zach came on the podcast previously, he talked primarily about Möbius Front ’83, about MOLEK-SYNTEZ, about EXAPUNKS, and about Opus Magnum—and before that, we had a trio of conversations about Infinifactory, focusing on puzzle design (and whether it’s right to call Zach’s “anti-puzzles” puzzles), then the narratives that people tend to ignore in non-Eliza Zachtronics games, and then how Zachtornics came to make TIS-100.
• As Drew mentions in the in intro, there’s also this live interview from GDC 2019. (The crowd was there to learn how to be Zach, which was not what Zach was there to teach, but hey).
• Drew refers to flatgames generally and Hypnospace Outlaw specifically, so for more on that, check out our conversation with Jay Tholen.
• Episode 7 of The Zachtronics Podcast is the one where Zach and company play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and for which Zach originally made Dungeons and Diagrams.
• Here’s the interview where Zach first talked about Last Call BBS being the last Zachtronics game, and also about teaching (if it’s still there; Twitch is very weird and kind of bad that way).
• And here’s the Kotaku piece (which presumably is sticking around) where Zach goes into more detail about the decision to close the studio.
• Zach mentions Logic, which rules.
• Zach also mentions Seeing Like A State and The Case Against Education.
• Here’s the mook about expensive Japanese PCs from back in the day.
• And here’s the stop-motion animated Last Call BBS trailer.
• The artist whose name we couldn’t remember is Zdzisław Beksiński.
• And the podcast Zach mentioned is Louder Than A Riot (not really a pun), which uses the catchphrase “Rhyme and Punishment” (an excellent pun). You can hear about the drama here.
• Thanks to The Mysterious Ian K. for the header gif (and the good conversation about the Japanese-style model-making in Last Call BBS).
“All The People Say (Season 5)” by Carpe Demon.
The ending music from the original arcade version of HACK*MATCH and the sole BGM from Sawayama Solitaire, both from the Last Call BBS OST by Matthew Seiiji Burns.
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Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.