I began my career in games with a small development team (Robin Antonick, John Friedman and myself) working on a sports title. We knew that what Robin and Trip Hawkins had done with the first Madden was a ground-breaking step for sports games (hell, all computer games) with it's advanced notion of a simulation that never played the same way twice. The idea that you would take a legendary NFL coach and attempt to put his kind of football into a game was brand new. So, the chance to work on the sequel and attempt to make it better was exciting and challenging.
Sample John Madden Football II Review:
Gamespy - 25 Smartest Moments in Gaming -
"The result was John Madden Football, published for the Apple II computer in 1989...That successful launch was followed up in 1991 by John Madden Football II. This version, created for DOS, featured gorgeous VGA graphics and enhanced AI, and some diehards still claim this was the best Madden ever."
The motivation to try something no one had done before and to put someone's expertise in a game continued with Shadow President and CyberJudas (it's sequel.) Working with Brad Stock and his innovative ideas on how countries form alliances, I had the education of a lifetime on how the world works. The daunting task was how do you create an interface that makes all of this complexity easy to use and understandable? And fun? Turns out, the fun part for most people was launching nuclear weapons at Canada and Australia.
Sample Shadow President Reviews:
"Cutting edge." Computer Gaming World
"Shadow President is one of the most ambitous games of it's type. Competent to the extreme. A great political simulator." Videogame and Computer Entertainment Magazine
"...a stunning sim...awesome stuff and highly recommended." The Sun - United Kingdom
"...startling heavy stuff, offering as comprehensive strategy simulation as I've ever seen." CTW - Europe's Electronic Games Trade Paper
"a richly entertaining gaming experience...the intellectual action is first-rate. We were deeply impressed by the depth and richness of the game; it has a texture that's almost palpable, coupled with a handsome and extremely friendly design." Game Players PC Entertainment Magazine
PC Games Magazine Editors' Choice Award
With CyberJudas, I attempted to meld my love for all things cyberpunk and this world political simulator we had. Plus, I convinced the company to buy one of them new-fangled SGI Indigo II Extreme machines and lease $100K+ of Wavefront software to create one of the first games to be made entirely of 3D high-end graphics and animation. We would of been the first, but we were so damn late, a couple other games beat us to it. Damn.
Sample CyberJudas Reviews:
"This game is to international politics as Deep Blue is to chess." Prof. Ben Hunt, Dept. of Politics at NYU
"CyberJudas is refereshingly original...strangely addicting."
"An enthusiastic thumbs up. Very well made, incredibly replayable, and gorgeous to look at."
At the heart of CyberJudas is a lush world simulation. A detail-laden, intelligent strategy game...a breathtakingly ambitious game...it carves out a genre all it's own."
PC Entertainment Magazine - **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Electric Reading Land
Electric Reading Land was a game designed to teach kids to read and keep their parents entertained at the same time. Doing the math, we figured most parents buying the product would have grown up during the Sixties and we littered the game with 60's references. ERL's claim to fame is that it is the very first piece of software to officially license and use an actual Jimi Hendrix song in it. (The song is "The Power of Soul".)
This was a very cool project that I was invited to participate in by award-winning film and video director, Mark Neale*. It was going to be a virtual rock 'n roll city inhabited by the band, U2, and all manner of creatures of the night. They needed someone who understood life in a rock band, cyberpunk, William Burroughs' cut-up techniques, etc. and could translate that to a computer game development group in their language. After getting references from people like William Gibson and Sally Rosenthal, they ended up calling me.
It was great fun in London while it lasted and getting to dabble in the wonderfully weird tastes of Mark, U2, Grant Gee**, and Debbie Mason was exceptional.
*Check out other work by Mark Neale:
|© 2004 Burning City, Inc.
John Madden Football II cover art - © 1991 Electronic Arts;
Shadow President cover art - © 1992 D.C. True, Ltd.;
Electric Reading Landcover art - © 1994 D.C. True, Ltd;
CyberJudas cover art - © 1995 Merit Software.