The Secret History of Mac Gaming

By Richard Moss

The untold story of a creative, innovative, fiercely-independent gaming scene that was serially ignored by the outside world

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The manuscript's nearly done, plus a list of interviews

I've been meaning to send out an update all month, but only just now found a spare moment to do it. Here's where we're at:

That final writing sprint I talked about last time has turned into an exhausting middle-distance run. We're not at the finish line yet, but we're close. I have 75,000 words done, or 80-85% of my portion of the book (Craig gets about 10k for his chapters). I am on track to be done before the end of October and into the hands of our very capable production team.

In the meantime, I thought it'd be nice to share with you the full list of people I've interviewed. Several of them were mostly just for background context, because I had the opportunity there to talk to them, but most have directly informed parts of the text.

On a side note, I haven't counted, but I suspect the interview requests that either went unanswered or didn't pan out number in the 20s or (at most) the low 30s. Thankfully most of the missing people who I wanted to cover in the book have talked enough about their work in the past for me to scrape a good story together about them.

So, in alphabetical order (by surname), with their most notable (relevant) company/game affiliations in briefly summarised brackets:

  1. Glenda Adams (Westlake co-founder, "porting" veteran)
  2. Bill Appleton (created World Builder, Enchanted Scepters; co-founded Cyberflix)
  3. Karl Becker (HyperCard/MetaCard game developer, one of the few people who made Mac sports games)
  4. Bob Bell (Journeyman Project Pegasus Prime programmer)
  5. Jon Blum (Inside Mac Games co-founder, artist on F/A-18 Hornet series)
  6. Glenn Bruno (top F/A-18 Hornet player on SimNet in mid-90s)
  7. Patrick Buckland (Crystal Quest developer)
  8. Bill Budge (created Pinball Construction Set on Apple II, was developing a Mac game before the Mac came out)
  9. Matt Burch (developed Escape Velocity)
  10. John Calhoun (developed Glider, Pararena, Glypha, other games)
  11. Steve Capps (original Mac team member, developed Alice aka Through the Looking Glass and Amazing)
  12. John "Magnus" Champlin (Ambrosia Software PR guy from 1999 onwards)
  13. Chris Chapman ("informal historian" of Virtual World Entertainment, the Battletech arcade pod makers)
  14. Peter Cohen (created Tikkabik/ website, Macworld games guy)
  15. Randall Cook (Wesleyan Tetris/Supertris/Asshole Tetris developer)
  16. Justin D'Onofrio (Freeverse producer)
  17. Chris De Salvo (MacPlay programmer, worked on Apple's GameSprockets technology)
  18. Ray Dunakin (Ray's Maze, A Mess O' Trouble, Another Fine Mess, Twisted developer)
  19. Craig Erickson (ICOM Simulations co-founder, designer & project manager on Déjà Vu)
  20. Mark Ferrari (artist on Heaven & Earth, LucasArts adventures)
  21. Mick Foley (SimCity 2000, SimAnt programmer, Will Wright's neighbour during SimCity development)
  22. Zach Gage (Current-day indie influenced by Mac shareware games, started with HyperStudio)
  23. Jonathan Gay (Dark Castle, Airborne programmer)
  24. Ian Gilman (Ishido, Heaven & Earth programmer)
  25. Brian Greenstone (Pangea Software owner/founder)
  26. Christopher Gross (Shufflepuck Café developer)
  27. Ben Haller (Solarian II, Lunatic Fringe developer)
  28. Roy Harvey (Grid Wars developer)
  29. Trip Hawkins (Apple Lisa marketing manager, Electronic Arts founder)
  30. Rebecca "Burgerbecky" Heineman (Interplay co-founder, MacPlay programmer, Logicware & Contraband founder)
  31. Rich Hernandez (Mac games evangelist during OS 9 to OS X transition)
  32. Andy Hertzfeld (original Mac team member)
  33. Sean Hill (GATO programmer, co-founder Digital Illusions)
  34. Rick Holzgrafe (Scarab of Ra, Solitaire Till Dawn developer)
  35. Louise Hope (The Tower, The Palace, Double Trouble developer)
  36. Charlie Jackson (Silicon Beach Software founder, Airborne designer)
  37. Cliff Johnson (The Fool's Errand, At the Carnival, 3 in Three)
  38. Keith Kaisershot (produced modern re-release of Journeyman Project, fountain of knowledge on 80s/90s Mac games)
  39. Marc Khadpe (Ray Dunakin fan, proprietor of Ray's Maze website, more recently ported A Mess O' Trouble to OS X)
  40. Scott Kim (puzzle designer on Heaven & Earth, created early Mac puzzler Letterforms and Illusions)
  41. Eric Klein (Mac games evangelist, Bungie director of business development)
  42. Matthew Korybski (Freeverse QA Tester/producer)
  43. Nathan Lamont (Ares developer)
  44. Dave Marsh (Shadowgate artist/designer, Uninvited artist)
  45. Rand Miller (Cyan co-founder)
  46. Robyn Miller (Cyan co-founder)
  47. Darrell Myers (Ground Zero artist, Spin Doctor artist/designer)
  48. Brad Petit (Phraze Craze Plus developer)
  49. Mark Stephen Pierce (Dark Castle artist/designer)
  50. June Power (Altor Systems co-founder)
  51. Graham Randall (Cricket developer)
  52. David Rees (Altor Systems co-founder)
  53. Lane Roathe (Three-Sixty Pacific producer, notably involved with getting V for Victory greenlit; briefly worked with Heineman at Logicware and Contraband)
  54. Yoot Saito (SimTower, Yoot Tower, Seaman designer)
  55. Alex Seropian (Bungie founder/co-owner)
  56. Eric Sirkin (Pippin engineering lead)
  57. Burt Sloane (MazeWars developer)
  58. Colin Lynch Smith (Freeverse co-owner)
  59. David Alan Smith (created The Colony)
  60. Ian Lynch Smith (Freeverse founder)
  61. Trey Smith (co-founded Graphic Simulations Corporation aka Graphsim, programmer on F/A-18 Hornet series)
  62. Eric Snider (developed Eric's Ultimate Solitaire, Eric's Cascade)
  63. Matt Soell (Bungie community guy)
  64. Joe Sparks (Spaceship Warlock co-creator)
  65. Ben Spees (Harry the Handsome Executive, Ferazel's Wand developer)
  66. Richard Sprague (Pippin liaison between Apple and Bandai, also handled developer recruitment for the system in Japan)
  67. Phil Sulak (Westlake co-founder, A-10 Attack programmer, porting veteran)
  68. Mark Sumner (early Mac developer)
  69. Alexei Svitkine (worked on an open-source modern implementation of World Builder, Project Magma lead)
  70. Steven Tze (Freeverse creative director)
  71. Jeff Vogel (Spiderweb Software founder)
  72. Marc Vose (created MacSPORT, Gamedb websites)
  73. Gordon Walton (Digital Illusions co-founder)
  74. David Wareing (Swoop, Mars Rising, Deimos Rising developer)
  75. Andrew Welch (Ambrosia Software founder/el presidente)
  76. Dafydd Williams (EV Nova team lead)
  77. Joe Williams (Delta Tao Software founder)
  78. Randy Wilson (plus a brief email exchange with brother Brian; Continuum developer)
  79. Ken Winograd (Hang-Man, Brickles developer)
  80. Doug Zartman (Bungie PR guy)
  81. Eric Zocher (developed audio system for Dark Castle, Airborne)

I think that's everyone I corresponded with enough to call it an interview.

One final order of business. I want to get your thoughts on whether we should include a brief (<100 words) note at the end of each chapter to say what the key people are doing now. I've kind of done it on a couple of chapters because it flowed directly on from the last paragraph, but I'm wondering whether to put it on all of them. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

On a related note, here's what Ian and Colin Lynch Smith did next (courtesy of an email from Ian I received earlier today).

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Andrew Fisher
 Andrew Fisher says:

Yes, always interesting to read what people are doing now - especially those no longer in the industry

posted 19th October 2016

Thomas Alexander Frederiksen
 Thomas Alexander Frederiksen says:

I'll second what Andrew Fischer said. Given the nature of the industry it would be very interesting to see where the heroes of old have gone since then.

posted 19th October 2016

Matthew Reagan
 Matthew Reagan says:

+1 on the 'What are they doing now?' notes, I think those would be really interesting particularly since it relates to how the industry and Mac game development scene has changed over the years. Can't wait to read the completed book!

posted 19th October 2016

Matt Lee
 Matt Lee says:

I'd love the "where are they now" notes. If they have some kind of public face for what they're doing now, like a Github or Twitter feed, it might be nice to include a link too, since obviously, the book will not be continually updated with what's new.

That's quite an interview list! Wow!

posted 19th October 2016

Guido Rößling
 Guido Rößling says:

I would also like to see these short notes wherever you have them available.

posted 19th October 2016

Phil Salvador
 Phil Salvador says:

Very excited to read thoughts from Mark Ferrari, Bill Appleton, and Brad Petit!

I do love hearing about where people went for the same reasons Andrew says, but not knowing how much each chapter focuses on people's careers, I don't know how well it'd fit every chapter to end with "Keith Kaisershot is an oyster chef now." If there's a good standardized format you have in mind, definitely go for it!

posted 19th October 2016

Aric Pedersen
 Aric Pedersen says:

I would very much like to know what everyone is doing now. That would be a great addition to the book.

posted 20th October 2016

Matthew Diamond
 Matthew Diamond says:

Just the list brings back so many memories.

As for where-are-they-now, I generally am interested but I wouldn't force it into each chapter where it doesn't help your thesis or isn't interesting. if I am curious I can always search online for extra details unless the person is obscure.

posted 20th October 2016

Zachary Waibel
 Zachary Waibel says:

I actually like the idea of putting a "where they are now" note, but I generally like to read where people came from, what they did, and where they are types of things. Does it mean you have to go back and interview them again, or did you already gather this info?

posted 20th October 2016

Rob Caporetto
 Rob Caporetto says:

Agree with the general consensus very much - if there's a standard way you can close it, then it'd be a nice bit or something.

posted 20th October 2016

Fabrizio Pedrazzini
 Fabrizio Pedrazzini says:

The "what are they doing now" part would be a great addition for me as well! Very impressed by the list of people !

posted 20th October 2016

Richard Moss
 Richard Moss says:

Re: Zachary's question "Does it mean you have to go back and interview them again, or did you already gather this info?"

In most cases I already gathered this information, so it's just a matter of whether to mention it or not. For some interviews we actually had an involved discussion about what they've done since their Mac gaming endeavours.

From feedback so far, I'm leaning towards including a short Where Are They Now? note or boxout at the end of each chapter that briefly elucidates the breadth of Mac gaming people's post-Mac games career and details the most interesting postscripts. We'll probably do some little design thing that visually separates it from the chapter narrative.

posted 20th October 2016

James Weiner
 James Weiner says:

I'd love this info as well! Just super interesting to know :)

posted 20th October 2016

Louis Rodriguez
 Louis Rodriguez says:

please include a "where are they now?" paragraph at the end of each interview.

posted 21st October 2016

Brendan Schoone-Jongen
 Brendan Schoone-Jongen says:

I would like the "where are they now" information in the book as well. Either at the end of the chapters or if it's better for the manuscript flow you could add them as appendices in the back if the book organized by chapters.

posted 25th October 2016

Andrew Herron
 Andrew Herron says:

I wasn't a mac gamer in the early years, so I don't recognise a lot of the names or studios - knowing what they do now would definitely help to provide context to the stories :)

posted 26th October 2016

Z Toups
 Z Toups says:

Just occurred to me to check up on this project. Any updates since October?

posted 6th February 2017

Richard Moss
 Richard Moss says:

Hey Zach, yes — just posted an update. We've hit a pretty big delay, but I'm trying to steer the ship back on course ASAP.

posted 17th February 2017

David Halligan
 David Halligan says:

I heard about this book after it was fully funded, will I still be able to get a copy? Richard Moss, thank you so much for writing this!

posted 22nd April 2017

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