David Crane (programmer)
David Crane at the Retro Gaming Expo 2011
|Born||1953 (age 61–62)
Nappanee, Indiana, United States
|Occupation||Game Programmer, Game Designer|
Crane originally worked in the field of hardware design for National Semiconductor. Crane started his programming career at Atari, making games for the Atari 2600. He also worked on the operating system for the Atari 800 computer. After meeting co-worker Alan Miller in a tennis game, Miller told Crane about a plan he had to leave Atari and found a company that would give game designers more recognition. From this meeting, Crane left Atari in 1979 and co-founded Activision, along with Miller, Jim Levy, Bob Whitehead, and Larry Kaplan. His games won many awards while he was at Activision. At Activision, he was best known as the designer of Pitfall!. Pitfall! was a huge hit, and maintained the top slot on the Billboard charts for 64 weeks and was named video game of the year in 1982. Over 4 million copies of the game were sold in the 1980s.
Crane maintained that the Atari policy of relying on mangled adaptations of arcade games would result in a glut of cheap, unappealing games, which became one of the contributing factors to the Video Game Crash of 1983. He believed instead that tailoring new games to the strengths and weaknesses of the 2600 machine would have yielded positive results. The reasoning was that while the new games would have lacked the instant-promotion of an already-known name, word of mouth among video gamers, being a young and highly-social group, would have gradually made up for it if the game was good.
In 1986, Crane left Activision to co-found Absolute Entertainment with Garry Kitchen. The two of them left mainly because of Jim Levy's departure, and the way the newly appointed CEO of Activision, Bruce Davis, treated video games more like commodities rather than creative products. Although Absolute was based in New Jersey, Crane did all of his programming at his home in California. With Absolute, he was known for Amazing Tennis and A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia, a successful NES title following the adventures of the protagonist and his companion, a shape-shifting blob. In 1995, Absolute Entertainment was dissolved.
Crane is currently working as an independent video game developer and video game expert witness.
|1979||Canyon Bomber||Programmer||Atari||Atari 2600|
|1979||Slot Machine||Programmer||Atari||Atari 2600|
|1980||Fishing Derby||Designer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1981||Laser Blast||Designer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1981||Grand Prix||Designer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1982||Pitfall!||Designer, programmer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1983||The Activision Decathlon||Designer, programmer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1984||Pitfall II: Lost Caverns||Designer, programmer, audio||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1984||Ghostbusters||Designer, programmer||Activision||Commodore 64|
|1985||Little Computer People||Designer, programmer||Activision|
|1986||Transformers: The Battle to Save the Earth||Designer||Activision||Commodore 64|
|1987||Skate Boardin'||Designer, programmer||Activision||Atari 2600|
|1988||Super Skate Boardin'||Designer, programmer||Activision||Atari 7800|
|1989||A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia||Designer, programmer||Absolute Entertainment||NES|
|1990||The Rescue of Princess Blobette||Designer, programmer||Absolute Entertainment||Game Boy|
|1991||The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants||Programmer||Absolute Entertainment|
|1991||The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World||Designer||Absolute Entertainment|
|1991||Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly||Programmer||Absolute Entertainment||Game Boy|
|1992||David Crane's Amazing Tennis||Designer, programmer||Absolute Entertainment|
|1993||Toys||Designer, producer||Absolute Entertainment||SNES|
|1994||Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!||Designer||Absolute Entertainment||SNES|
|1994||Night Trap||Programmer||Digital Pictures|
|1996||SPQR: The Empire's Darkest Hour||Advice||GT Interactive||Windows|
- Covert, Colin. "Meet David Crane: Video Games Guru". Atari Magazine. Atari Magazine. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- Kohler, Chris (27 January 2010). "Pitfall! creator David Crane named videogame pioneer". Wired. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Alumnus Profile". DeVry University. DeVry University. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- David Crane's profile at MobyGames
- Legends of the C64 article on David Crane and Activision
- Meet David Crane: Video Games Guru magazine interview from 1983
- The Dot Eaters article featuring Crane, Pitfall! and Activision, retrieved December 2013
- "Playing Catch-Up: 'A Boy And His Job: Activision's David Crane'", interview with Crane on Gamasutra