Fun first-person account of designing the cartridge version of Donkey Kong for Atari, written by Landon Dyer, who was 21 years old when Atari hired him.
The Atari Program Exchange (a captive publishing house) was holding a contest. The grand prize for the winning game was $25,000. I’d spent a semester of college blowing off most of my courses and doing almost nothing except work on Myriapede. I finished it with a week or two to spare and submitted to the contest.
A few weeks after I mailed Myriapede off to the contest, I got a letter from Atari that said (1) they were very impressed with the work, but (2) it looked to them like a substantial copy of Centipede (well, it was) and that they’d rejected it for that reason. The subtext was they would probably sue me if I tried to sell it anywhere else, too. I was crushed. I wound up going to a local user group and giving a couple copies of it away; I assume that it spread from there. I hear that people liked it (”best download of 1982″ or something like that).
A few weeks later I got a call from Atari; they wanted to know if I was interested in interviewing for a job. I was practically vibrating with excitement. I flew out and did a loop, and made sure to show Myriapede to each interviewer; it was a conversation stopper every time. Until they saw it they kind of humored me (”yeah, okay, you wrote a game”), then when the game started up they started playing it, got distracted and (”ahem!”) had to be reminded that they were doing an interview! One of the guys I talked to was the author of Atari’s “official” Centipede cartridge. He said on the spot that my version was better than his.
Back in the day, I had a Datel Action Replay wedged into my Commodore Amiga. More than just a cheat device, it let you peek into all the internal goings-on of a game, manipulating content as well as a few select variables, scrambling the reality so carefully devised by the developers and artists. But, let’s […]
After five years without an update, MS Flight Simulator is getting refreshed. The XBox exclusive was demoed at the E3 trade show Sunday. Some of the scenes are spectacularly realistic. I would have been unable to tell it was video of a simulation when I was a kid, playing stuff like F-18 Interceptor and Falcon. […]
It’s been 24 years since Black Isle got to work on Baldur’s Gate, the classic computer RPG that melded AD&D rules with realtime-ish gameplay to make something immersive to play and gorgeous to look at. Though often counted among the top PC games of all time, the series ground to a halt after a superior […]
So you cut the cord and got rid of cable? Join the steadily growing club. But while you’re out picking a streaming service, you might find one big blind spot: Local TV and sports, not to mention first-run programming from the big cable networks. Luckily, there’s a throwback way to get it for free: The […]
Even if you feel like AirPods are worth the price tag, you’ve got to admit there’s a certain anxiety that comes with using them. What if I lose them? What if they get wet in the rain? Or drenched in sweat? Or fall into the drink you dropped them into? Shiny tech is great, but […]
With the quick-fix appeal of video games and their own cell phones, it can be tough to keep kids focused on supposedly “educational” toys. And while it may seem counter-intuitive to fight tech with more tech, we’re all in when it comes to the Toybox 3D Printer. We’re not sure if anyone had envisioned a […]