A special Little Metal Dog Show – Episode 17 – Peter Olotka

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For this episode I was honoured to speak with one of the fathers of designer gaming, Peter Olotka, one of the co-designers of the classic Cosmic Encounter. Peter has cemented his position in the history of games not only through his design of CE but also other classics, including the now hard-to-find Dune. We discuss everything from how Cosmic Encounter came into being (with a little help from Parker Brothers) through to why Sting is the kiss of death when you put him on a game box. This episode is packed out with anecdotes and tales from a long and storied history in the industry that is far from over as Peter reveals plans for the future, including a couple of exclusives. Talking with him was easily of my favourite experiences I’ve had while I’ve been doing The Little Metal Dog Show – I hope you enjoy it too.

A couple of pointers – the sound does go a little frizzy at a couple of points during the interview, but rectifies itself pretty quickly.

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You’ll also hear a few little ‘bing’ sounds as well – every time that happens, it means that Peter was holding up a box to the camera for me to grab a picture of, which you can see below (complete with captions):

Gloriously retro. This has got to be my favourite box.

The Japanese version of the game (with very little Kanji on it, really)

The legendary Brazilian pirate version of Cosmic Encounter!

The current version we all know and love. Good work, Fantasy Flight.

Sting! Bloody Sting! No wonder it bloody tanked!

If you’ve never played Cosmic Encounter before, do yourself a favour and at least check out the online version – you can find it over at http://www.cosmicencounter.com and, if you’re lucky, may even get to go up against Peter himself. He’s also – as mentioned in the show – on Twitter as @pgocosmic.

As a little extra, Peter spoke about the early prototype of CE that he left at the Parker Brothers’ office. I thought folks may enjoy checking them out too…

Can you imagine rocking up to a company these days with this…?

Where do you even begin?

The only copy of Parker Brothers’ “Encounter”. Truly unique.

(Mini edit: A couple of people have been in touch with me for referring to Dune as ‘ridiculous’ – I’d just like to clarify that I don’t mean it in the ‘…and stupid’ meaning, it’s more in the ‘towering, sprawling, mildly scary and certainly imposing’ fashion. I’ve read it! Promise!)

As usual, thank you for listening. The next show will be up soon (back to the normal two interview format!) and if you’d like to get in touch, do so! Email us via littlemetaldog@gmail.com or grab us on Twitter – I’m @idlemichael and Chris is @RallyIV. Of course, you can always check out the Facebook page (go on, it’s useful!).