cover art for Kelsey Lewin, co-director Video Game History Foundation.

My Perfect Console with Simon Parkin

Kelsey Lewin, co-director Video Game History Foundation.

Ep. 22

My guest today is co-director of the Video Game History Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and teaching the history of video games.

In 2017, after graduating college, my guest helped curate an Atari-themed pop-up exhibition at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Two years later Game Informer enlisted her as a volunteer to digitize the magazine’s entire archive at its Minnesota headquarters. After five weeks of intense work, she became the Video Game History Foundation’s co-director.

Described by the New Yorker magazine as “compact and laser focussed”, since then she has sifted through thousands of old documents, discs, magazines, and prototypes in an effort to rescue the video game medium’s history from oblivion.

“Once institutions can see that putting effort and funding behind video game preservation in a useful, sustainable way is possible — I think they’ll do it,” she recently wrote.  “We’re working on it, but the work is just beginning.”

Play the console:

Thank you for listening to My Perfect Console. Please consider becoming a Patreon supporter; your small monthly subscription will help to make the podcast sustainable for the long term, and you'll receive bonus content, and access to the My Perfect Console community:

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Correspondence Special #2: The best game Keita Takahashi never made.

    In this special correspondence edition, host Simon Parkin reads out listeners' correspondence, answers questions, and offers at least one clue about a forthcoming special guest. Hear about the genius game that Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi never made, the latest on film director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of 'A Game of Birds and Wolves', and whether or not video game journalists face discrimination from the wider journalism industry...
  • 71. Teddy Dief, gamemaker (Hyper Light Drifter, We are OFK).

    My guest today is the American videogame designer and writer, Teddy Dief. Born in Illinois, they graduated from Columbia University with a degree in music, computer science, and Japanese. Then while studying for an MFA in filmmaking and game design at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, they worked on Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and as a designer for the Kinect at Xbox. In 2013, my guest joined the founding team of indie studio Heart Machine as a designer for Hyper Light Drifter. Three years later they became the creative director of Square Enix Montreal. When that project was cancelled, my guest returned to the world of independent development, working as creative director of We Are OFK, an episodic game about a fictional band that was recently nominated for a Peabody Award. My guest is also the co-founder of Glitch City, a Los Angeles-based collective of game-makers and independent artists.
  • 70. Keith Stuart, journalist & novelist (A Boy Made of Blocks, Love is a Curse).

    My guest today is the English author and journalist, Keith Stuart. He grew up in a town near Stockport in Greater Manchester, then studied English and Drama at Warwick University. After graduating he joined Big Red Software, testing Game Genie codes for the Game Boy, and coming up with names for the vehicles and tracks in Big Red Racing. In 1995 he joined the team of the recently launched Edge magazine, before becoming editor of the unofficial Dreamcast magazine, DC-UK. In 2005 he assumed the pioneering role of games editor for The Guardian, a position he held for more than a decade, as one of the first long-term beat reporters on games for a broadsheet newspaper. In 2016 he published his first novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, based on his experience bonding with his autistic son in Minecraft. After the book became a Richard & Judy bestseller more followed, and he is now publishing his fourth novel, Love is a Curse, a story about generational love and trauma. 
  • 69. Masaya Matsuura, musician, gamemaker (PaRappa the Rapper).

    My guest today is Masaya Matsuura, a Japanese musician and game designer widely considered to be the inventor of rhythm action video games. Born in Osaka City, music ran in the family; his father often performed with his guitar in clubs around Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. My guest was an unruly student until he discovered a love of keyboards and synthesisers, and found his people. in 1983 he formed Psy*s (pronounced ‘Saiz’), a progressive pop band fronted by the signer Mami Yasunori, which soon signed to Sony Music.Ten studio albums followed, and in 1994 my guest secured a budget to create a Simon Says-style rhythm game featuring an anthropomorphic, rapping dog. PaRappa the Rapper become an international smash his and led to a series of follow-ups: the guitar-based UmJammaLammy, the experimental wireframe project Vib-Ribbon, and Mojibribbon, a music game that played with calligraphic art.In recent years my guest has retreated from the video game business, focusing again on his music, and live events where he plays rare vinyl records, including tracks from the video games he has made, to an audience.Links:Cobalt Green, 1984, Masaya Matsuura E.P. -- Listen on Soundcloud.Pingu Rap/ ピングー ラップ vinyl re-release by Tower Records.
  • 68. Sarah Keyworth, comedian.

    My guest today is the English stand-up comedian Sarah Keyworth. Born in Nottingham in 1993 they studied drama at De Montfort University, where they became an active member of the university's comedy club. After graduating, my guest then worked for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, while performing on the circuit. Their first show, Dark Horse, was nominated for best newcomer at the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and included on the second season of Soho Theatre Live on Amazon Prime. They soon became a fixture on television and radio, appearing on Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Richard Osman's House of Games and, in 2021, Live at the Apollo. Now, my guest is returning to the stage with a new tour titled, My Eyes Are Up Here, described by the Guardian as “engaging and touching”.
  • 67. John Johanas, creative director Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within, Hi-Fi Rush).

    My guest today is John Johanas, creative director at the Tokyo-based studio Tango Gameworks. Born on Long Island, New York, he played in a Radiohead covers band while in High School. After graduating with a degree in East Asia studies from Brandeis University, he moved to Japan to work as an English teacher.He started translating Japanese books into English in his spare time. A keen player of video games, in 2010 my guest applied to work at Tango Gameworks, the studio founded by the legendary horror director Shinji Mikami. He joined, and there worked first as a translator, then as a designer on The Evil Within, before assuming the role of director on the game’s two DLC episodes and full sequel.In 2023 he directed the studio’s innovative music-combat game Hi-Fi Rush, which has just launched for PlayStation 5. [Photograph Game Informer/ Alex Van Aken].
  • 66. Siobhan Reddy, co-deputy chair, BAFTA.

    My guest today is Siobhan Reddy, a video game executive and the co-deputy chair of BAFTA. Born in South African to Irish and Australian parents, at the age of four she moved to Campbelltown, New South Wales in Australia. There as a student she became interested in filmmaking and technology. At eighteen she moved to the UK and began working for Perfect Entertainment, the independent game studio behind Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld series of game adaptations.In 1999 she joined Criterion Games and there worked on a string of racing games, including Burnout 3 and 4, then left in 2006 to help set up production within the newly formed Media Molecule. In 2009 she was named studio director, helping to oversee the production of the LittleBigPlanet series, Tearaway, and, most recently, Dreams.In 2013 was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by BBC's Woman's Hour and, in 2021, was given the BAFTA Fellowship award for her pioneering work in the games industry. She now serves as BAFTA’s deputy chair, helping to oversee the delivery of the academy’s mission to empower and spotlight the screen industries and the talented people within them.[Photograph: Sam Hendel/Media Molecule]
  • Correspondence Special #1: Revisiting Jack Thompson.

    In this special correspondence edition, host Simon Parkin explores feedback from the recent episode with Jack Thompson, reads out listeners' correspondence, answers questions, and offers at least one reveal about a forthcoming special guest...
  • 65. Wes Fenlon, senior editor, PC Gamer.

    My guest today is Wes Fenlon, a San Francisco-based writer and senior editor at the video game publication PC Gamer. Having graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and magazines, my guest freelanced for The Wirecutter –– the product review website now owned by the New York Times –– and where he reviewed and recommended PC hardware.In January 2014 he joined PC Gamer Magazine as features and hardware editor. There he has written dozens of investigative pieces, highlighting specific video game communities, publishing stories of how video games affect our lives and culture, and revealing how games and the hardware they run on are made. He is also the author of Read Only Memo, a newsletter all about video game emulation.Twitter: Only Memo newsletter: