Tuesday, January 26, 2010

David Crane: Videogame Pioneer

David Crane, creator of the first so-called "platform" videogame Pitfall! is to be honored with a Pioneer Award soon.   He worked at Atari back in the days when its Atari 2600 ruled the world.  Atari's games were each designed and programmed -- game, graphics, sound and all -- by one person.  But that person had no bonus, no recognition.  Not even in the game itself*, out of fear that he might get stolen away by a competitor.

Also at that time, videogame console manufacturers produced games for their own systems.  David and other Atari programmers left and formed the world's first third party game company, Activision.  They changed the rules -- programmers could now get recognition, and a percentage of royalties.  Activision spawned all other Third Party game companies and, I would argue, invented Rock Star programmers.

Somewhere there is a photo of my really high score on Pitfall!

* Although there are programmers who hid "Easter Eggs" signatures, like Will Robinette in his game Adventure.

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posted by Brian at 3:52 PM


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