David Crane (programmer)

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David Crane
David Crane (10453626776).jpg
Crane, 2013
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Nappanee, Indiana, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Game Programmer, Game Designer

David Patrick Crane (born 1953 in Nappanee, Indiana, United States) is a video game designer and programmer.[1]

Crane originally worked in the field of hardware design for National Semiconductor.[2] 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.[2] 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!.[3] 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.[4] Over 4 million copies of the game were sold in the 1980s.[5] It was the second best-selling game for the Atari 2600 after Pac-Man.[6]

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.[citation needed]

In 1986, Crane left Activision to co-found Absolute Entertainment with Garry Kitchen. Crane said that he left because the newly appointed CEO of Activision, Bruce Davis, offered a pay cut with the promise of a vaguely worded incentive program.[7] Although Absolute was based in New Jersey, Crane did all of his programming at his home in California. With Absolute, he was known for David Crane's 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.[citation needed]

In 1995, Crane co-founded Skyworks Technologies as the organization's Chief Technical Officer.


Year Title Credits Publisher System
1978 Boggle - unreleased Programmer Atari Atari 2600
1978 Outlaw Programmer Atari Atari 2600
1979 Canyon Bomber Programmer Atari Atari 2600
1979 Slot Machine Programmer Atari Atari 2600
1980 Dragster Designer Activision Atari 2600
1980 Fishing Derby Designer Activision Atari 2600
1981 Laser Blast Designer Activision Atari 2600
1981 Freeway Designer Activision Atari 2600
1981 Grand Prix Designer Activision Atari 2600
1981 Kaboom! Graphics Activision Atari 2600
1982 Pitfall! Designer, programmer Activision Atari 2600
1983 The Activision Decathlon Designer, programmer Activision Atari 2600
1983 The Activision Decathlon Designer Activision Atari 5200
1984 Pitfall II: Lost Caverns Designer, programmer, audio Activision Atari 2600
1984 Pitfall! Designer Activision Atari 5200
1984 Pitfall II: Lost Caverns Designer Activision Atari 5200
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
1997 Klondike Designer Sega Sega Channel


  1. ^ Covert, Colin. "Meet David Crane: Video Games Guru". Atari Magazine. Atari Magazine. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.gooddealgames.com/interviews/int_David_Crane.html
  3. ^ Kohler, Chris (27 January 2010). "Pitfall! creator David Crane named videogame pioneer". Wired. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Alumnus Profile". DeVry University. DeVry University. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.retrogamingexpo.com/speakers.php
  6. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/7-things-we-learned-from-activision-co-founder-david-cranes-reddit-ama-2012-8
  7. ^ Donovan, Tristan (2009-07-08). "Gamasutra - The Replay Interviews: David Crane". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 

External links[edit]

Media related to David Crane (programmer) at Wikimedia Commons