Asteroids , Centipede , and Gauntlet . If there was ever an impressive track record for a game designer, that is it. Throw in some lesser-known classics such as Super Breakout , Millipede , Gauntlet II , and Xybots , and you have a truly unequaled career. Ed Logg designed and developed all of those titles at Atari back in the heyday of the arcades. Before the collapse of the coin-op market, Logg had already switched to working in home game development, adapting popular Atari arcade games such as the San Francisco Rush series to consoles. Subsequently, Logg took on an original home game for the first time, serving as lead programmer on the unique platformer Dr. Muto . Today Logg has returned to his roots, working on games for mobile phones. To look at them, the classic arcade games seem quite simple, but it is that simplicity which forced their designers to refine them to the point of perfection . Logg s classic coin-op games remain some of the best computer games ever made, and the insight designers can gain from studying them is enormous .
What was it like working at Atari in the late 70s and early 80s?
We were young and energetic . I imagine it is very similar to the atmosphere at most Internet start-ups these days. We were a relatively small group in the Coin Operated Games Division. This allowed everyone to know everyone else. Ideas and pranks flowed freely . Since we were working on a new medium we could do anything and it would be new. Even games like Lunar Lander , done by Rich Moore, which had been done originally years before, were new to our audience.
Where did most of the ideas for the games come from?
The ideas came from many sources. For example, Owen Rubin, another engineer at Atari, told me Nolan Bushnell had suggested to him an extension of Breakout . I took his idea and added many of my own to create Super Breakout , my first commercial success. The idea for Asteroids came from Lyle Rains, who was in charge of engineering at the time. He got the idea from a previous coin-op game. Xybots came from a challenge by Doug Snyder, a hardware engineer at Atari. We wanted to do a multi-player Castle Wolfenstein -like game but we had no bit-map hardware. So I created an algorithm based on 8 by 8 stamps and he did the hardware. Centipede came from a list of brainstorming ideas. Atari would go off-site each year to think up new ideas. One of those ideas was Bug Shooter, which was used as a starting point for Centipede .
Management had reviews where they would come in and play the game and give feedback. Sometimes the consensus was negative and a game could be killed . Most often it would continue until it could be field tested . This meant it was left to the players to determine how much and for how long the game earned. However, sometimes good suggestions came from these reviews. The most important one of all was a suggestion made by Dan Van Elderen, who was in charge of engineering. He asked me why we could not shoot the mushrooms in Centipede . Yes, the mushrooms were originally static. It was his suggestion that led to the breakthrough that made this game fun.
Were you excited to get into game development at Atari?
Actually, I had been doing games for many years on the side, while in high school, at Berkeley in the 60s, and also at my first job at Control Data Corp. I ported Star Trek and the original Dungeon game between Stanford s and CDC s computers.
I had built a home computer a year or two before joining Atari, just to create and play games. I had been to a Pizza Time Theater and played Pong and Breakout , so I was well aware of the coin-op business. I had also played games and was very inspired by a prototype of the Atari VCS (2600) at a Christmas party in 1977. So the change in employment seemed natural for me. At the time I thought it was great for them to pay me to create and play games.
Dirt Bike was your first game for Atari, but I understand it didn t make it into production. What sort of game was it?
This game was started by Dennis Koble who went on to do many consumer titles. It was a game similar to Sprint except you drove a dirt bike and the control was a set of handlebars that could be used to steer the bike instead of a steering wheel.
We field tested the game and it earned enough money to make it good enough not to kill outright but not good enough to make it into production. However, I had made Super Breakout at the same time I was working on Dirt Bike . No one at Atari had ever worked on two games at once before. Super Breakout had earned a large amount of money, and this probably led to the decision not to build Dirt Bike . I was not disappointed considering the success of Super Breakout .
What was the genesis of Super Breakout ?
The original idea included six variations on Breakout . I envisioned three released games with two variations in each game. However, in actual play there was one overall favorite: Progressive Breakout . In the end we put three variations in one game: Progressive , Double , and Cavity Breakout . The variations that did not make it were more vertically oriented and I had to agree they were not as fun.
Were you given a lot of creative freedom on Super Breakout , or were you constrained since it was a sequel to a previous hit?
To me, Super Breakout was not a sequel. Remember, the original game was not done in software. The code had to be created from scratch and the gameplay was completely different from the original even though we used the same controls.
I was given freedom because I was doing the title without any official sanction . It was not the last time I would do that, either. Games could be done in a short time in those days, which meant you could make something fun before anyone even noticed you were doing anything different.
Maybe I should explain how we were developinggames in those days. We had one main Digital computer which had the cross assembler for our 6502 based games. We had several gals who would enter our handwritten pages into our programs and give us back a computer printout and a paper tape. Yes, you heard that right. We would then feed the paper tape through our development system into the RAM replacing the game ROM on the PCB. We would debug this using primitive tools and a hardware analyzer and write our changes on the paper printout. Since this process left time between the debug session and the next version, I used this time to develop a second game. I would just swap the graphics PROM (yes, we created the graphics by hand ourselves ), and load the new paper tape.
That s really astonishing that you ever developed a game using such primitive methods . How did you manage to fine-tune your game with such a long time between versions?
Well, actually, I was very good at just patching RAM with new instructions, so it was easy to see what small changes did to the game. We also had an HP analyzer that we could use to trap on many conditions, which allowed us to find many bugs that many development systems cannot even do today. Actually it was possible to do some new coding while you were waiting for your last changes to be made, so less time was lost than you think.
But you would certainly agree that modern development tools have made game development easier?
There are several issues here. First, back then we often knew everything about the target hardware, which made it easier to see what was going wrong. Today, the target hardware is often hidden from us and there are several layers of software, which can make debugging or doing what we really want to do difficult. So in this sense it is much harder now. Also, these modern software or hardware layers are often not documented, documented incorrectly, or just getting in our way. Second, the hardware has gotten very complex with interactions between the many bytes causing all sorts of problems. Third, the processors have become very complex, causing all sorts of debugging nightmares, especially in dealing with the caches. Fourth, today there are many programmers working on a game and it is easy to mess up one of your coworkers.
Surprisingly, the development environment has not gotten any faster over the past few years despite the great increases in the computing power and RAM. As an example, some of my files on my 25 MHz Mac IIci with 6 MB of RAM compile and link in the same time or faster than files on a 550 MHz PC under NT with 512 MB of RAM. Even the same project on my 150 MHz Indy builds faster than my 550 MHz PC. I firmly believe that every tool developer should be given the slowest possible system to use to develop their software! Otherwise, we are doomed to continue to run no faster with each new upgrade.
The modern tools are so much better than the old method, it is hard to imagine how I could have done so well, but you mustn t forget how much time is spent learning each new software tool, processor, and operating system these days. In addition, the amount of time wasted chasing after bugs on new systems because I did not understand some other hardware or software is quite large. But I would not want to go back to the old tools unless the processors, hardware, software, game concepts, and team sizes were much simpler.
I ve never seen your next game, Video Pinball . How did it play?
It simulated pinball by using a half-silvered mirror with a monitor below the mirror and the graphics for the play-field above the mirror. The monitor would show the flippers and ball, which gave the impression the white ball was on the play-field. The play-field actually had LEDs controlled by the program which simulated lit targets. In addition, the control panel was hinged, which allowed the player to nudge the cabinet to give the ball some English. I did not think this game up. I believe it was Dave Stubben s idea.
How did you hope to convince players to play Video Pinball instead of the real thing?
I did not believe Video Pinball would be successful and I was asking that exact question. However, there were places video games could go that a large pinball game could not. In the end, the game earned more than I had expected and it was a commercial success. I must say I was wrong on my first impressions , and that does not happen often.
Was it hard to work on a project that you did not think would be any fun? Did the final game turn out to be entertaining?
The gameplay was fun but no comparison to a real pinball game. I was surprised that it sold as well as it did. Yes, it was hard to work on an idea that I did not think would work well. But I was young and motivated What else can I say?
Where did the idea for Asteroids come from?
Lyle Rains had suggested to me the idea of a game where the player could shoot asteroids because there had been an earlier coin-op game with an indestructible asteroid that the players kept shooting instead of pursuing the intended goal. I told Lyle we would need a saucer to force the player to shoot the asteroids instead of wasting time. I also suggested breaking the rocks up into pieces to give the players some strategy instead of just shooting the larger rocks first.
Lyle gave me the idea. People often attribute the success to one or the other of us. I would probably not have come up with the idea on my own, and if someone else had done the game it would most likely have been totally different. So in truth, we should both be given credit for this idea. Come to think of it, without the vector hardware, Asteroids would not have been a success either. So there are many people and events that led to its success. I am very glad to have been there at that time and place.
The game changed very little in development from the original idea. I did make two saucers, one dumb and one smart. I made one fundamental change near the end of the project that had far-reaching implications. Originally, the saucer would shoot as soon as the player entered the screen. Players complained ” and I agreed ” this seemed unfair. Often the saucer was not visible just off the edge, and if it started next to your ship you had no defense. So I added a delay before his first shot. This, of course, led to the lurking strategy. While testing, I had actually tried to lurk at one point and decided it was not going to work, which shows you how well the game designer can play his own game.
Were you surprised by Asteroids success?
I was not surprised by its success. It sounded like a fun game when I played it in my mind. Even after the first few weeks, people would come by and ask when they could play. That was a sign your game was fun!
Even when we field tested the game for the very first time, I saw a player start a game and die three times within 20 seconds. He proceeded to put another quarter in. This tells me the player felt it was his fault he died and he was convinced he could do better. This is one of the primary goals a game designer tries to achieve and it was clear to me Asteroids had it.
Back there you mentioned that you played the game out in your mind. Do you find that to be an effective technique for predicting whether a game will be fun or not?
It is a skill which I find works well for me. I also play devil s advocate with my ideas. I ask myself , What can go wrong? or Will players be confused by what I am presenting? I find that some designers often are so married to their ideas that they will not accept the concept that maybe it just won t work. I cannot tell you the number of great ideas I have had that I played out in my mind that turned out to be bad ideas.
I am one of the few designers I have ever met that has actually killed many of his own games. I think this is a good trait. Why waste another year to two if the gameplay does not play like you expected?
Did you work on the sequel, Asteroids Deluxe ?
I did not do Asteroids Deluxe. It was done by Dave Shepperd. I was promoted around that time into a supervisor role. I believe I was also leading the four-player Football project. So I was busy. I have no problem doing sequels if that is the best course of action. I had some new ideas, so I wanted to do Millipede . Gauntlet II was a logical choice since Bob Flanagan, my co-programmer, and I knew the code and this was the best game concept we came up with.
After Asteroids you didn t make another vector-based game. Did you not like working with the hardware?
Actually, I loved vector hardware for the reason it allowed me to put up high-resolution 1024 by 768 graphics. However, the industry was just moving over to color monitors at the time. Dave Theurer did do Tempest as a color vector game, but the color mask on color monitors did not permit high resolution. Besides, you could not fill the screen with color on vector-based games, so that medium died with the advance of color games.
Wasn t Asteroids the first Atari game to have a high-score table?
Actually, Asteroids was not the first game; there was another game that used it just prior. I thought the idea was a great way to preserve your score and identity for the world to see. So I added it to Asteroids . I see it as filling the role of graffiti. Now it is standard, of course, and the industry has added battery- backed RAM or EEROM to save it permanently.
Around this time you created the Othello cartridge for the Atari 2600. I understand you studied AI while at Stanford. Did the Othello project grow out of your interest in AI?
No, actually Asteroids showed more influence from my Stanford experience. While I was at the Stanford AI Lab, I had played Space War on their PDP machines. I had also played a coin-op version of this in the Student Forum coffee shop. In my mind, this was the first video game. Pong certainly was the first commercial video game. Anyway, the spaceship design in Asteroids was a copy of the original Space War ship.
I had played Othello as a board game and I was intrigued by possible strategies. So I worked on this game at home and developed an idea that the game could be played by pattern matching without any AI. In other words, the computer does not look ahead at your replies to any of its moves, which was the standard AI approach at the time. So really the Othello game I did had no AI. It was good enough for the beginner and average player. It was not an advanced game by any means. Besides, the 2600 had only 128 bytes of RAM so there was not much space to look ahead.
In fact, Carol Shaw had done the hard part by providing me the kernel which drew the pieces on a checkerboard. The 2600 was extremely difficult to do anything complex on. It was intended to do Pong -style games. You spent all of active video counting cycles to draw the screen. This left Vblank to do any thinking or other work. There was limited RAM so nothing complex could be saved in RAM. Othello was 2,048 bytes. Most of this was the kernel. So I often spent time trying to eliminate a few bytes to add something new.
Was Centipede your next game?
No, as I mentioned I was a supervisor at the time. I was project leader on four-player Football and a kit to upgrade the plays on the original Football game.
On Centipede , I thought up the idea of the centipede segments and the way the legs moved. I do not believe it was mentioned in the original Bug Shooter brainstorming idea. In fact, no one has ever stepped forward to claim Bug Shooter as their idea.
Maybe it was due to the finished product being so much different from the original idea. I had assigned a new programmer, Donna Bailey, to do the programming on Centipede . Partway through the project, I quit being a supervisor (I didn t like the job and it took me away from doing games) and spent time working on Centipede .
So Bailey was pretty important to the game s development?
I would guess she did about half the programming. The game design was left to me because she was working on her first project.
It seems that Centipede appeals to women more than most arcade games. Do you think Bailey had something to do with that?
I wish I knew the answer to that question. Someone could point out that no other game I have done appeals to women as much as Centipede .
Many theories have been suggested. One is that is was created by a woman. Another is that destroying insects fits well with a woman s psyche. I believe this game appeals to women because it is not gender biased like fighting games or RPGs or sports games. Other examples like Pac-Man and Tetris are notable.
I do know Centipede fits the basic criterion for a game that appeals to a wide audience. It has a new, appealing look (to get players to try it), an obvious goal (shoot anything), clear rules, an easy set of controls, a sense of accomplishment (kill the entire centipede before he gets you), dynamic strategies abound (trap the centipede and kill spiders or the blob strategy or channel the centipede or just plain straight-up play), enough randomness to make the game different each time, a goal to keep you going (a new life every 12,000 points), a clear sense of getting better with more play, and a sense that any death was the player s fault.
So you mentioned that Centipede grew out of a brainstorming idea. How did the brainstorming process work at Atari?
The brainstorming ideas came from anyone in the company. They were usually gathered weeks before the actual meeting which was held off-site, away from Atari. Often the ideas were just a theme. Most submittals had sort of a sketch or art to give the reader a little more info . Occasionally a full game description was submitted which explained the hardware, controls, art, and gameplay.
During the brainstorming session, each idea would be presented and then suggestions would be made for improving it. In addition, marketing would give a rundown of what was selling and the state of the industry. We would also break into smaller groups to discuss a specific type of game or talk about specific games themselves . In the end we would meet again to present any additional ideas from these smaller meetings and vote for the popular ideas. I would say we would get a majority from programmers and designers, but there were a significant number of ideas from artists and others in the company. I found many of the ideas needed a lot of work, so it was not uncommon for the original brainstorming idea to get a major overhaul .
Atari Games Corp., now Midway GamesWest, still uses this process each year. But quite honestly, many of the recent coin-op games are just remakes of older games. For example, more versions of Rush or Cruisin . The reason is often market driven: these are the games that have done well in the past and the company does not often want to risk taking a chance on a new theme.
How did Centipede change over the course of the game s development?
I mentioned that Dan Van Elderen asked why the player could not shoot mushrooms. I realized early I would need some means to create new mushrooms. This led to one being left when a centipede segment was shot. I also created the flea which left a trail of them when he dropped to create more randomness in the pattern. In other words, I did not want the player to create the only pattern of mushrooms. The spider was always planned to be my Asteroids saucer which kept the player moving; the spider also had to eat mushrooms to keep the player area somewhat free of mushrooms. The scorpion was added to add a randomness to the centipede pattern and create a sense of panic when the segments would come rushing to the bottom of the screen.
Do you try to create games that allow different players to use different strategies to succeed?
I do strive to give the players as much freedom to create as many strategies as possible. So in a sense, yes, I guess I do encourage players to experiment and try different strategies. I do try to make sure that none of them work all the time or make the game too easy. But I want to leave the player with the impression that if he was only a little bit better he could pull it off.
Why did you choose to use the trackball for Centipede ?
I believe we used the trackball from the start. I had experience with the trackball on Football , but I wanted something that was not as heavy and physical to move around. That is how the Centipede trackball came about. The trackball, just like the computer mouse, provides a means for inputting arbitrary direction as well as speed. No other controller comes close. It was the clear winner for player controllability.
In my opinion, Centipede is one of the best balanced games ever. Was there a lot of experimentation to achieve such a balance?
I would not use the term experimentation in this case because nothing was tried and discarded. There was a grasshopper that we intended to add to hop onto the player, but the spider was sufficient in forcing the player to move so the grasshopper was never even tried. Of course, you can still see the graphics for the grasshopper if you look at the self-test graphics.
There certainly was a lot of tuning. The timing and speed of when things happened certainly was changed over the course of the project. The balance comes from the inherent rules of the game and the art of knowing when to leave the play alone and when to change something. This art is something that some people have and others just don t. I cannot define it other than to use the term game sense.
Were you given freedom to do whatever you wanted for Millipede ?
With my past record I was given more freedom than anyone else. Something most people do not understand is that half of the games I started did not make it into production. No one ever hears about the failures. Some of the games I actually killed myself. That s something I believe no one else at Atari did. Of course, there are a few I tried to kill but was not allowed to that eventually died. These days you would probably see them come out in the consumer market anyway just to get back some of the development cost. But in the coin-op market there is no chance to sell anything that isn t a clear winner.
Millipede allowed players to start farther into the game, at 45,000 points, for example. Was this an effort to shorten the games of the expert players?
It was a way to increase the cash box. It allowed the good players to start at a higher score where the gameplay was on a difficulty level that was probably just above his level of skill. This often meant shorter game times but would allow higher scores. In a sense I was doing this for marketing reasons. This was not a first for Millipede . Tempest had this feature back in 1981.
I particularly like the growth of the extra mushrooms in Millipede . Was this done using a life algorithm?
Yes, it is based on the game of life where two or three neighbors would create a new mushroom and anything more or less would kill the mushroom. This has an interesting history. Mark Cerny asked why I didn t do a life algorithm on the mushrooms. I told him I was busy but if he wanted to add it to the game he could. Of course, Mark, being the sharp guy he is, looked at my code and quickly created this feature. He also added the attract mode to demonstrate all the creatures .
During the Asteroids to Millipede period, almost all your games were being ported to a wide variety of systems: the 2600, the Apple II, and so forth. How did you feel about these conversions?
It was good business for the company so it made business sense. Of course it always made me proud to see my game in many new places. I did have some concerns about several of the ports. I understand the limitations of some of the systems but I wanted to make sure the company released the best possible conversion. In many cases I was involved in making sure it had all the features but unfortunately not often enough.
Some of the conversions made improvements that were not possible in the coin-op market. For example, in Gauntlet they made a quest mode with a limited amount of health. This would not be possible in coin-op where the object is to get more money added on a regular basis. Another example would be to look at the number of variations of Pong included on the Atari 2600 cartridge. It just makes good sense to add value for a consumer title.
Was Maze Invaders the next game you worked on after Millipede ? I know it never went into production.
It was a cute puzzle-like game. I was not sad it didn t make it; it did not earn enough on field test. My son loved the game though and I still have one of the two prototypes in my garage. The other was purchased by an operator in Texas, I believe. He loved the game so much he talked Atari into selling it to him.
I believe I mentioned earlier that nearly half of my games did not make it into production. There were engineers that had a higher percentage, Dave Theurer in particular. But there were others who never had a game in production.
The name Maze Invaders suggests perhaps something inspired by Pac-Man. Was it?
Yes, in a way. It was a maze-like game but the maze changed dynamically. The main character was very Pac-Man like; he was cute. There were some parts that I found frustrating, such as when the maze would temporarily block me off. I could not resolve this frustrating aspect, which is probably why it failed.
I understand in 1983 you also worked on a Road Runner laser disk game. Was it based on the Warner Bros. cartoon character?
Yes, it was based on Road Runner created by Chuck Jones. The player played the part of the Road Runner who would try to have Wile E. Coyote fall prey to some trap. I had Time Warner send me all of the Road Runner cartoons. I watched every one and selected the best shorts to be included on a laser disk. So when you succeeded in gettingWile E. destroyed , the game would cut from the action to a similar scene from a cartoon where Wile E. met his usual fate.
I always loved the Road Runner and I thought I could bring him to a video game. When I started I had a vision of something unique. The game certainly met that criterion but it was not as fun as I had hoped. I certainly enjoying seeing all the old cartoons and meeting Chuck Jones but
So the game was killed?
Laser disk games were failing in the coin-op world because of reliability problems. The game actually earned enough to warrant interest but not as a laser disk game. So when they asked me to port it to their new System I hardware, I declined, saying I had another idea I wanted to pursue. I amglad they let me pursue this new idea because this idea became Gauntlet . Road Runner was converted over to System I and actually was released.
Did Gauntlet follow your initial vision fairly closely, or did it change a lot in development?
I went back recently and looked at the original game design document and I was surprised how closely the graphics and gameplay matched the finished product. Of course, what did change during development was the hardware. I created an algorithm which would allow me to deal with 1,000 objects without burdening the processor or slowing down the frame rate. I asked Pat McCarthy, the electrical engineer, if he could extend the existing hardware and he found a way to do this which would allow me to display all the objects I needed. In the end there were five patents issued for Gauntlet .
Because of the size of the PCB and the restrictions on PCB size for Japanese kits, we decided to use a four-layer PCB for Gauntlet . Atari had never laid out such a board nor had they ever used traces as small as we required. But in the end we paved the way for all future PCBs at Atari. So besides the success of the game in the industry, Gauntlet also made a giant leap in the way we did engineering and manufacturing at Atari.
To my memory of arcades in 1985, Gauntlet seemed to be one of the first action games to allow four players to play at once.
This was the first multi-player game which allowed players to end or leave at any time and the screen scrolling was controlled by their actions. This was not the first game to have multi-players. Tank 8 allowed eight players on one monitor. But all the players had to start at the same time. The idea of using four players was designed into Gauntlet from the start. I suspect it was due to the fact that I could only put four players around an upright monitor.
I believe Gauntlet was the first game that allowed the player to buy in any time he wanted. I did not want the players to wait, like in Tank 8 , for everyone to coin-up at the same time. The only solution was to have players come and go at will. Health was always planned from the start. I believe this idea came from Dungeons & Dragons , which was very popular at the time. So it was logical that money just bought more health. Since it is every coin-op designer s wish to have the players put as much money as they can into their game, I saw no reason why I would not have the players just increase their health with each coin. In hindsight, this is a wonderful idea because losing 2000 health was not as painful psychologically as inserting another quarter. Besides, the players would not need to reach into their pocket to find another quarter to insert before their character was lost.
Where did the idea to have the game say things like Red Warrior needs food, badly come from?
I do not remember. I suspect it was not my idea. It may have come from my co-programmer Bob Flanagan or from someone else at Atari. In any case we had a large list of phrases we wanted the Dungeon Master to say to taunt the player. There are several phrases that seem to stick in everyone s mind. My favorite is theWizard (me) seems to be eating all the food lately.
Many think the Valkyrie was the most powerful of the four characters .
Actually, the Hulk or the Wizard could be used to play forever. This was demonstrated first by players in Japan playing a one-player game. This was fixed later by reducing the amount of food on subsequent levels if the player had not lost enough health during the last level. The Valkyrie was designed to be the most balanced of the characters but shot power, shot speed, and strength proved to be more important than other attributes. This is why the Hulk and Wizard seemed to be the most powerful. Of course, the Elf was fun to play with for many players because you could always get more food or treasure than the other players.
Gauntlet II allowed four players to all be playing Valkyries, or Elves, or whatever combination they wanted. Did this mean the character classes had to be more equal than in the first game?
No, we actually did very little that I can recall to equalize the characters. This feature was added because some players wanted to play a particular character and I did not want them to wait until the desired position was open . So in essence I eliminated another reason for not entering the game right away.
Was Xybots your next project after Gauntlet II ?
Bob Flanagan and I actually started another game, which I quickly killed after the initial gameplay turned out to be less fun than I had expected.
Xybots, as I mentioned earlier, started out as an idea to do Castle Wolfenstein . I started the game as a twoplayer split-screen Gauntlet III. Partway through, marketing said they wanted something other than Gauntlet. So I changed the characters and enemies to be more like Major Havoc. I still regret changing the theme and wish I had kept my original game concept.
Was it a great engineering challenge to create the game s 3D look?
I developed a very interesting algorithm for doing the 3D rotation using just 8 by 8 pixel stamps, as we call them. I don t know how to explain how this worked without getting my original sketches to visually demonstrate it. I could have had the player rotate other than in 90-degree increments , but it made the gameplay simpler to just allow only 90-degree rotations .
If I recall, the game had interesting and unique controls.
The controller was very unique because it provided the standard eight-way joystick as well as a knob on top which could turn left or right to indicate a rotation. This control made the game more difficult, which is often the kiss of death in the coin-op market. As with any 3D game, players could not easily visualize where they were despite the map available to them. In addition, it was possible to get shot in the back, which added to the frustration factor.
How did you get involved working on the Atari Tetris ?
I played a version of Tetris and was quickly addicted. I asked our legal counsel, Dennis Wood, to get the rights. Since I had just worked on reverse engineering the Nintendo Family Computer, which soon became the Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S., I decided to create a version on the FC and NES and sell it through Tengen, which was
Atari s consumer publisher. Dennis Wood got the rights and we showed Tetris first at the June Consumer Electronics Show. It was decided to improve the game so I redid the visuals and we released it at the following CES in January.
I should point out that I was working on another game at the time I was doing this, so I could not devote all my time to the Tetris project. It was this fact that made me need to turn over Tetris to Greg Rivera and NormAvellar for the coin-op market. I did get my original code to run on the coin-op hardware before going back to my project. This is why my name appears on the credits of the coin-op version.
What did you like so much about Tetris ?
It was just so addicting I knew we had to have it. In hindsight, I could explain why this game worked so well but I am not sure that would prove anything. Besides, the real question is Why didn t I think of this idea?
Was Tengen Tetris your only NES project?
I had Centipede and Millipede running on the FC before the lawsuit with Atari Corp. resulted in the ruling that they owned the rights to all our games prior to the sale of Atari to Tramiel by TimeWarner. So we had to drop the work I did. So my previous work made Tetris very easy to do on the NES. I also added the two-player simultaneous feature, which made this game better than all the other versions. Later you would see Tengen versions selling for $150 or more.
Why was Tengen Tetris eventually withdrawn from circulation?
You can read several versions of the story but I suspect the bottom line is the Hungarian who had the rights did a poor job of covering all the bases. The Russians accepted money from Nintendo when Nintendo created a new category of rights. Despite the fact we had the rights to computer systems, Nintendo claimed their Family Computer was not a computer even though they sold Basic and a keyboard and other services in Japan just like any other computer. I was certainly disappointed to see my work lost.
Why did you want to work on conversions of someone else s game?
As with many of my games, this was the best idea I could think of at the time. However, in this case, because I enjoyed it so much, it was an easy decision. What better way to play the game you like so much and make sure it comes out the way you like?
What did you work on next?
I eventually killed the game I was working on during the Tetris Affair. I believe Steel Talons was my next project. I wanted to do a 3D Red Baron flying/shooting game but marketing thought World War I planes were not cool enough for teens, who were the prime coin-op target audience. Marketing wanted jets and I thought that was a dumb idea because who wants to see dots at a distance shooting at each other. I wanted something close where you can see the detail of the enemy you are shooting at. Helicopters were the logical choice.
Wasn t Steel Talons a fairly authentic helicopter simulator?
Steel Talons had all the regular helicopter controls: a rudder, a collective for controlling height, and a stick for turning. Of course flying a helicopter is difficult without some assistance, so I had computer assist just like real military helicopters. I added automatic collective control so the player would maintain level flight and any landing would be smooth. It would also increase height if the ground was sloping in front of the height. The real mode just disabled this helping code and increased the player s acceleration to compensate. This was a unique feature and Atari was issued a patent on this idea.
The game had another interesting feature that had never been used on a video game before. We installed a pinball thumper, often used to indicate a free game, under the seat. This was used whenever the player s helicopter was hit by enemy fire. During the first field test, the voltage for this thumper was higher than it should have been and the first players to use it nearly jumped out of their seats when it fired . The noise could be heard over the entire arcade.
The first field test also introduced a new problem that we never had before. I went out to check on collections and I tried to remove the coin box. If you have ever seen Steel Talons , you will see that the coin box is located at a strange angle, requiring the operator to lift the box with his arms fully extended. Not the easiest position to lift any weight. Well back to the story. I tried to lift the box out but could not budge it. I thought it was jammed . I soon discovered that the box was so full and was so heavy it was nearly impossible to remove. This led to the strange instructions in the manual asking the operators to empty the coin box every couple of days.
On Steel Talons , didn t you work with Battlezone creator Ed Rotberg?
Yes I did. He was at Atari during the golden days of Battlezone , Asteroids , et cetera. He left Atari to do a start-up called Sente, before returning to Atari a few years later. He had just finished working on a Tube Chase -like game using the same 3D hardware that Steel Talons used. This hardware was a cost-reduced version of the Hard Drivin PCBs. So it was natural for Ed to work with me on this project. Another interesting feature of this game was fog. The original Hard Drivin team did not believe me when I told them I could add fog to the world. I am still proud of this effect and they were surprised that it worked.
How did the Space Lords project come about?
I wanted to continue my ideas of multi-player play that I started on Gauntlet , and then continued on Xybots and Steel Talons . So I chose a 3D space environment with up to four cabinets linked together. Each cabinet had two monitors similar to Cyberball . I tried to keep the cost down by using Atari s growth motion object hardware, which was cheaper by far than the 3D hardware used on Steel Talons . It could not draw 3D polygons, but it could grow or shrink flat textures.
I understand Space Lords did not do too well financially .
Space Lords had some strange earning patterns. At some arcades it earned more than $1,000 per week for two double cabinets. But at some small arcades it earned only $75 as a single cabinet. The bottom line is we had a difficult time selling it because of its cost and the limited number of locations it could be sold into. It was definitely hard to make a coin-op game using the concept of one player per monitor. Even though I added a second player as a gunner at half price, it was felt by many to be not as fun as being the pilot.
And Space Lords came out right around the time the fighting games were taking off.
The fighting games made Space Lords difficult to sell because they were often kits, which sold much cheaper than a large dedicated upright. Street Fighter II had great earnings and continued to earn good money for a long time.
In fact, since the early 90s most arcade games have been in one of a very few, limited genres. What do you think of many of the arcade games that come out these days?
You are right, the coin-op market seems to be all driving, fighting, and shooting with an occasional sports title, like golf. There are reasons for this. Driving has universal appeal and usually earns for long periods. So it is often the most accepted game theme. Besides, most home units do not have steering wheels and gas pedals or give you the feel of being inside a car. So you cannot get this experience in the home. Fighting games are now difficult to sell in the arcades, and I believe this is because you can get the same experience on most advanced consoles. At the time, they were cheap and earned big bucks. Shooting games are still viable because guns are not the standard controller on consoles or PCs. So the only way a game player can get this experience is in the arcade.
So the bottom line is, most arcade games these days are not unique and fit very limitedcategories. I don t think the arcades are completely dead but they are not the destination places they used to be.
Did Space Lords turn out to be your last coin-op?
I was working on a shooting game prior to my departure fromAtari. That game died but the gun was used later on Area 51 . I joined Electronic Arts who were trying to start up their own coin-op group. My intention was to start doing consumer games. But EA had some old Atari friends and I decided to join them. I had done one puzzle game, which I killed, and was working on a shooting game when they decided to drop out of the coin-op market. Then I was even more determined to enter the consumer games business.
How did you come to start doing N64 programming?
I was looking for a project to work on, so I contacted many companies to see what they had to offer. I was planning to work with another programmer from EA but he decided to join some friends to start up a new company. Atari wanted the coin-opWayne Gretzky 3D Hockey done on the N64 and I was looking forward to doing something on that platform. This was partly because the game promised to look better than the PSX but also because it looked like we could be the first hockey title available. So I joined a group at Atari and we started work on Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey . This turned out to be more work than I expected partly due to the state of N64 development systems but also due to the fact the coin-op was not going to be done until just before we released.
As you mentioned, a lot of the appeal of playing an arcade game like San Francisco Rush seems to be sitting in the chair , having the gearshift, the steering wheel, the force feedback, and so forth. How do you try to capture that for the N64, which has none of these niceties?
You are right. The home does not have the environment of the arcade cabinets but we can do things on the home games we can never do in the arcade. We can provide more choices for the player, more tracks for them to learn, and more things to discover.
I try to keep the basic play the same but I always try to add value to the product. This is one thing I made clear when I joined Atari. Atari wanted me to just do a straight port. That had always worked for them in the past. I did not believe this would work and told them I would be adding additional stuff. For example, on Gretzky we added a full- sized rink, a new AI, instant replay, more players, full seasons, et cetera. In general, home games require considerably more work. I also believe we can do different games for the home market that we could never do in the arcade. So for me, this opens up new possibilities.
Arcade pieces must be easy to learn with rules that are obvious and provide entertainment that lasts ninety seconds. The home market is not bound by these rules. Instead, you must provide more life for your product. Often this means it takes the player longer to finish the game. Even when the player has finished it, there must be reasons why he will want to go back to do it all over again.
Do you like the engineering challenges of doing home conversions?
I actually enjoy the old style of trying to get everything to fit. I also enjoy adding tricks to get the frame rate as high as possible. It was very interesting to get all of SF Rush into 8 MB, which includes around 3 MB of audio and all the graphics.
How did the Dr. Muto project originate?
I am not sure of all the details, but I believe the basic concept came from our producer, Scot Amos. I was very intrigued by the idea of playing as a mad scientist, so I thought the game idea was a good one.
There is actually an interesting story that goes along with this. When we proposed the game to the management committee, their main complaint was that no one would want to play a mad scientist. To prove their point they wanted to do a marketing survey to see if a mad scientist was a good choice. Of course, the engineering team thought this was a waste of time. Imagine if they were to ask anyone if a purple hedgehog or an Italian plumber would make a good main character. Of course, the answer came back that the mad scientist was not a good idea because they had no point of reference as to how it would be used. In the meantime we did a small demo with a couple of rooms to show off our rendering engine, basic look and feel, morphing, and some basic humor. When management saw this, they knew exactly what we had in mind and we got a unanimous decision to go ahead with the project.
I always thought that Dr. Muto was fairly unique for a platformer in that its main character was older and not particularly cute or furry. Where did the desire to have such a different character originate?
The character design concepts came from our lead artist, Steve Caterson, whom we call Scat. We definitely wanted to do something different than everyone else was doing. Having a cute and fuzzy mad scientist just did not sound right. Besides, we wanted to look different than everyone else.
Dr. Muto was the first game you developed for the home market that wasn t an adaptation of an existing game. How was the development different from your previous experiences?
This game was so different from any other game I have attempted to do. The market of course had changed, requiring better rendering, special effects, and movies. But the most important point was, this was a platformer and the standards for this type of game are very high indeed. We needed to match anything that was currently on the market or planned to be on the market.
The other most significant point is the sheer number of people, the cost, and the time required to do this project. Dr. Muto was by far the largest project I had ever been part of. There were more than twenty-five people on the team plus a tools group and video production people. The game design alone was orders of magnitude larger than anything else I have ever been associated with.
For Dr. Muto you were just the lead programmer and not the lead designer, correct?
The lead designer, Mark Simon, came in later on the project, around April 2002, I believe. This was his first large-scale project where he was lead designer, and I think he was a little over his head on this one. I would not have made a good choice as lead designer either because this type of game was unfamiliar territory for me. Besides, I like to program and I would not have been able to do anything except design as the designer. Even then I would have had to have several others assisting me in laying out levels, tuning, et cetera. But I was not even leading all the programmers because there was a tools group doing the rendering engine and all the work making sure the game ran on the Xbox and GameCube as well. Scot Amos, our producer, served as project lead. He was really good at motivating people and even better at enthusiastically pushing our product ” much better than I could do. He did a marvelous job.
But there were things I would have done differently. I certainly would have pushed our original idea for a sidekick. She was called Eyesore. She was to add sex appeal and humor to complement our bumbling mad scientist.
Why do you think Dr. Muto didn t fare better commercially?
I wish I had a good answer to this. I amafraid that we just did not get critical mass in the market. There were many platformers coming out at Christmas 2002 and we were up against some very well-done and well-advertised products. The industry claims that platformers did not do as well in 2002 as they had done in previous years. However, I believe the reason has to do with the game Grand Theft Auto . Because this game had such huge sales it naturally took sales away from other games. I contend this game is really a platformer, shooter, and a driving game all in one. If you lump this game into the platformer category, then you will see that platformers actually did quite well.
What are you working on these days?
I am doing cell phone games for a start-up called GenPlay Games. There are several of us from Midway Games West (originally Atari Games Corp.) working together now. I have just finished my second game, which will be out shortly on Verizon and Sprint.
I like the cell phone game industry in that the games are smaller and more arcade like. By that I mean the audience is looking for a more casual gaming experience. I also like the fact I can get back to doing programming and game design without managing other programmers. This industry will of course change as the cell phones become more powerful. 3D chips are already on their way into cell phones. It will not be long before we see the latest console games running on cell phones. The marketing of games is already getting to the stage where licenses or some name recognition are needed to get the attention of the carriers and players.
You have been involved in game development for almost twenty-five years. How do you explain your longevity?
Longevity comes from doing what I like. Working on games requires something which many people do not have. Many cannot take the constant pressure to perform, the long hours, and the thought that their baby that they have been working on may get killed after eighteen months of hard labor. Others are programmers or artists who have found more interesting things to do.
I must admit I have often thought of doing something else. I just have not found anything else I want to do more than what I am doing now. That could change or I may find myself doing games until I retire.
How did you feel about the closing of the old Atari offices?
This is like asking me how I feel about an old, dear friend passing on. I was very sad. We were the only project at Midway to be on time but in the end we were all let go. Such a waste of technology and the really great people we had working together.
In recent memory, Asteroids , Centipede , and Gauntlet have all been remade. How do you feel about the remakes?
Many are doomed to fail just like most game ideas. Gauntlet was a good case of a remake that worked very well. Arkanoid was a remake of Breakout that worked very well. So remakes can work, but it is difficult.
The real failure comes from comparing the gameplay to the original. For example, making a 3D version of Centipede makes the gameplay harder because the 3D information is not as easy for the player to process. Remember, designers have had twenty years to play these old games and come up with a new twist to make a new great game. The fact that they haven t done it yet seems to indicate that it is unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely .
Which one of your games might you want to remake?
If I had the answer to that, and if I believed it was the best idea I had, I would be working on it. Besides, if I told you, then someone else would be doing it now, wouldn t they? In other words, I don t have any idea how to take some old classics and make them new and interesting in today s market.
How has the game development industry changed over the years?
The games industry has definitely changed, but it is still a video game industry. Video games were not a $7 billion industry when I started. With big business comes big money and that invariably brings with it control over how it is spent. So there is definitely more politics at the corporate level. The interference from management comes from their need to control the costs, but the real reason, I believe, is due to the evolution of the games themselves. By that I mean, we could design and program a game in three months in the early years. In three months you did not spend enough money for them to interfere. Games have evolved to the point where you cannot do a game with just one person in a realistic amount of time. It takes several programmers, several artists, an audio specialist, and someone to manage the project over a period from twelve to twenty-four months. The console market has changed too. You did not need to spend $1 billion to launch a new console in the early days, but it costs that much now. So with evolution comes longer periods for development and higher costs to produce a product. With the higher costs comes more money and hence more control (i.e., interference) over how it is spent.
When working on home games, what have you changed in how you design your games versus your work in coin-op?
This depends on the type of game. For example, it is not sufficient to have a driving game with a dozen cars and a similar number of tracks. Now we would expect to see a large number of licensed cars , perhaps licensed drivers or tracks, or better yet a movie license. Of course we expect even better graphics and special effects than before. But aside from this point the basic idea is to add enough gameplay to make the purchase of a console game worthwhile. Remember, players can rent the game at the video store. If the gameplay is too short or does not meet their expectations or does not merit replays, then you can be sure the game will not sell well.
Now that I am on the subject, I have been really disappointed to see that nearly ninety percent of the top one hundred games are licenses or sequels. It is the single most overwhelming concern for any new game. It is sad to think game design cannot proceed without some tie-in with a movie or some other easily recognized title.
Do you miss doing more simple, classic arcade game designs?
Yes, I do miss the old game designs, which is why I am glad to be working on cell phone games. 2D worlds are so much easier for the player to understand. I also like the idea of creating a game with a fixed set of rules and enough randomness so that the player can create different play-styles and their own strategies.
I am not sure I could sell a game with an old design to the console market. Players have different expectations now. They would expect 3D designs or Internet play or high-resolution textures and pre-rendered movies or highly developed characters . . . Besides, just about anything I do now will just elicit comments like It is just a twist on game xxx with a little of game zzz. For the record, many of the old designs were based on previous game ideas. Remember, Asteroids came from a previous game with a little of Space War thrown in, even though many thought of this as an original design.
For most of your original designs, you served as both designer and lead programmer. Do you enjoy working in both capacities ?
Working as game designer and programmer is a good idea if you can pull it off. There are very few people who are good at both. So it is not a strategy I recommend today. For example, for today s complex multi-character and multi-level games, I amnot as good a designer as I would be on other styles of games. So I would be willing to give up this role to someone else.
The programmer has to implement the design and if the designer s ideas are not communicated well enough, then the game is programmed differently than the designer expected. I believe it is often the programmer who can make or break the feel of a game.
You seem to have missed one point. I was also project leader on many projects. This is a role I am very good at but receive no acknowledgment. My projects are almost always on time and if there are problems, management is often told well in advance. No one outside Atari probably is aware of this. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy this role so I try to spend as little time as possible actually managing a project.
You even served as artist on your early games, didn t you?
Early on it was a good idea. There is no reason to train an artist to create a rock on graph paper and provide me with the coordinates so I could enter them into my game. When there was so little in the way of graphics or audio required, it makes no sense to have another specialized person doing this. Today, it is an entirely different matter. Today it is absolutely required.
Do you feel that any of your games are underappreciated?
As a game designer, no, I do not feel I have any games that were underappreciated. If the game design works, then the gameplay is fun and the game sells. As a programmer, yes, there are probably some game ideas or algorithms or programming speed which are underappreciated. Many programming tricks I do for personal enjoyment so I am not looking for external recognition.
In the early days you were pretty limited by the technology available to you. Did the technology limitations foster creativity?
Yes, I would have to agree. There were many times I spent thinking about how to do something on a given hardware and that turned into a game. Xybots was certainly one of those games. On Gauntlet we created new hardware to make the gameplay possible.
Do you think that gaming technology is stabilizing to the point where future games will be less about cutting-edge rendering and more about new game ideas?
As I mentioned earlier, marketing forces will drive games more than technology from the standpoint of getting the financing to get started. Since games have gotten so much more expensive and take so long, I suspect technology and new game ideas will take a backseat. This is not to say that there will not be even more improvement in the quality of the video and audio. I can assure you technology will be used to help sell the game in the end and will be a factor for the players. I can also assure you that new ideas will be tried but I doubt that any major studio will pin the hopes on the technology or game idea by itself.
In a way I agree that gaming technology is leveling out, as it were. By that I mean if the number of polygons that can be drawn increases by ten I would not expect to see much improvement in the quality of the video. Yes, you can add bump mapping or per-pixel shaders, but the basic TV has only so many pixels and covering the screen with more than one polygon per pixel will not improve the quality of the final video.
When working with an original game design, where do you start?
First, I try to come up with the game and then look at all the aspects of the play. From the market perspective: will it sell, is the timing right, licensing requirements, competition, et cetera. From the player s perspective: what makes this game fun and what is unique that will make it interesting. From the development side: what will it take to do this game in terms of people and equipment and will it be fun to do. Ideas themselves come from just about every possible source. I have mentioned how some come from previous games, brainstorming ideas, technical challenges, and other people s suggestions.
So, once you have your idea, do you start coding right away, or do you spend a lot of time thinking it through ahead of time?
With the large budgets and large teams these days, it is necessary to do a game design document and technical design document before the game gets too far into development. However, I try to start work on some critical aspect while the design documents are being drawn up. I believe it is extremely important to work on the aspect of the game that will make or break the concept. The front-end movies, story line, front and back end screens can all wait until the gameplay has been proven. Sometimes this prototyping phase is quick but often it can take several months.
Once you have proven the gameplay concept in a prototype, how does the rest of development progress?
Games go through four phases for me. The high at the beginning of a project of doing something new and the feeling that this will really be a great game. The project often makes giant leaps in short periods. The middle part of the project is mundane. The concept has been proven but there is often so much work to do and the game does not appear to change much for all your effort. The third phase is often full of panic and stress. This is the part just before release when you just want the project to end. The fourth phase is one of satisfaction after the game has been released.
With the current long projects I often feel I am getting diminishing returns for my effort, so I amhappy to have the game end. In my case, almost everything I had planned for my game has been implemented, so I am happy to call it done. Except for finding those irritating last-minute bugs
So after the prototype is functional, you don t really enjoy the development process?
Yes, I would say the bulk of the game is done after the core game concept has been proven. However, there are often parts that prove rewarding during the long development before the game is finished. But after doing so many games over the past thirty years, working on, say, the user interface just does not get me all excited.
No, I would like to do a prototype and leave it to someone else to finish. But I feel I still have the vision for the gameplay and I do not believe another person or group would continue the gameplay as I envision it. So in the end I would feel that the game was not what I expected, not mine anymore. I would always have the feeling that if I had worked on it to the finish, the game would be better than what anyone else could have done. I guess I would feel differently if I had not been as successful as I have.
Do you think focus groups or playtesting accomplishes for home games what field testing accomplishes for coin-op?
Field testing served as a means to make sure the software and hardware was bug free but this was a secondary benefit ” this was not the real reason why it was done. Field testing for coin-op games gives you a good idea how well the game stacks up against other current games. It is easy to predict from the earnings and sales price how well it will sell. Focus groups rarely gave any clear indication of how well the game would sell either in coin-op or the consumer market.
For the consumer games, I do not believe there is any direct equivalent. The playtesting or focus group gives you some idea how well the game will be perceived, but in the case of Dr. Muto the ratings did not translate into the sales expected. I believe the reason is when a player goes to an arcade he can expect to see only a few new games. So it is likely your game will be seen. In the current consumer market there are numerous titles and it is not easy to find the new games. In many cases your local games store may not even carry the game because they have reduced the number of games they will put on shelves . Even more important, coin-op games have a sample of gameplay, which players can glimpse to see if it interests them. The best you are going to get from the consumer store is a few screenshots on the box. I know this is not really accurate because we expect to see TV time for consumer games, but you need to be one of the top games to warrant that kind of marketing money and not all games do.
For Dr. Muto this point was rather moot for another reason. The finish date was selected for the team. We were told when it would be released, so we cut many of the features and gameplay we would like to have seen. More importantly, player testing was of no use because if they suggested a change there would be no time to add it or change the game.
What role do you think AI plays in games?
In the old games AI had no involvement. Often the enemy would follow a fixed set of rules with some randomness thrown in if necessary. These days it is entirely a different matter. It is becoming very important for modern games. Some people have recommended that, when appropriate, each project have one specially trained person dedicated to doing the game AI. And for some games, I would agree.
Why do you think games require more sophisticated AI now?
I believe the theme and gameplay of most new games require more AI. The sim games, the shooters, et cetera, all try to give the real sense of intelligent life competing against you. If games do not try to mimic real life, then a set of rules may do just fine.
How important do you think it is to make the AI in a game real ? That is, to provide the AI only with the information the player would have in the AI agent s position?
It is not necessary but may lead to more believable enemy AI, so I would recommend it in some cases. For example, in Steel Talons, the enemy gunners would not turn or fire until they could see you visually. If there was a hill in the way or you were hugging the ground at the end of their range, then they did not see you. This is one case where it was necessary.
Lately, a lot of attention is being given to combining games and stories. Many arcade coin-ops, perhaps as part of their nature, have almost no story. What do you think about telling a story within a game?
I have never been high on stories. I feel it is absolutely necessary to have the player grasp the theme: setting, ambience, and goals. Sometimes stories help to make the goals easier to understand. Some games are made like a movie, so a story makes good sense: the player feels he is the main character that he is controlling. In a coin-op game, a story makes no sense unless it is shown in the attract mode. We do not want the player wasting his time watching something when he could be playing or putting in more money.
You mentioned before that you specifically wanted to get into doing games for the home market. Why was this?
I wanted to do home games instead of coin-op games because I saw more opportunity to do something new in the home market.
Do you not see any future for coin-op arcade games?
I suspect coin-op games in the arcades will tend toward cheaper simulation rides (physical movement or encompassing environment), just like you see now. They provide something you cannot get at home and are cheaper than the rides at Disneyland. I believe the coin-op arcade market is already there. The coin-op street market will always need to be inexpensive. So I see a consumer platform in a coin-op box or cheap PCBs with simple games that do not require long development times.
The consumer market already dominates over the coin-op industry. I do not have the numbers, but it is clear to me by looking at sales numbers of hit games and the dollars they represent. It is sad to see the changes in the coin-op industry. I am sure glad I was a part of the industry. I feel I was definitely in the right place at the right time.
Ed Logg Gameography
Super Breakout , 1978
Video Pinball , 1979
Asteroids , 1979
Othello (for Atari 2600), 1979
Football (four-player conversion), 1979
Centipede , 1981
Millipede , 1982
Gauntlet , 1985
Gauntlet II , 1986
Xybots , 1987
Tetris (conversion to NES), 1988
Steel Talons , 1991
Space Lords , 1992
Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey (conversion to N64), 1996
San Francisco Rush (conversion to N64), 1997
San Francisco Rush 2 (conversion to N64), 1999
San Francisco Rush 2049 (conversion to N64 and Dreamcast), 2000
Dr. Muto , 2002
GenPlay Stack um , 2004
GenPlay Pool Pro Online , 2004