David Perry (game developer)

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This article is about the game developer. For the co-commentator on the UK video game television show 'GamesMaster', see Dave Perry. For other uses, see David Perry (disambiguation).
David Perry
Born (1967-04-04) April 4, 1967 (age 48)
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Nationality Northern Irish
Occupation Video game developer, programmer
Known for Shiny Entertainment
Spouse(s) Elaine Perry (28 July 2001 - present)

David Perry (born April 4, 1967) is a Northern Irish video game developer and programmer. He became prominent for programming platform games for 16-bit home consoles in the early to mid 1990s, including Disney's Aladdin, Cool Spot, and Earthworm Jim. He founded Shiny Entertainment, where he worked from 1993 to 2006. Perry created games for companies such as Disney, 7 Up, McDonald's, Orion Pictures, and Warner Bros.[1] In 2008 he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Queen's University Belfast for his services to computer gaming.[2] He is co-founder of cloud-based games service Gaikai, which was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment.


Perry and other game developers at a BAFTA event in Los Angeles in July 2011. From left: Rod Humble, Louis Castle, David Perry, Brenda Brathwaite, John Romero, Will Wright, Tim Schafer, Chris Hecker.

Perry was born in April 1967 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, growing up in the towns of Templepatrick and Donegore in County Antrim, attending Templepatrick Primary School[citation needed] and then Methodist College Belfast.[3]

He began writing computer game programming books in 1982 at the age of 15, creating his own games for the Sinclair ZX81. According to an interview with the BBC, Perry stated that his first game was a driving game, "a black blob avoiding other black blobs", which he wrote and sent to a magazine, which printed it. He sent them more games and they sent him a cheque for £450—a bit of a problem for a teenager who did not yet have a bank account.[citation needed] His work continued though, until he was offered a job making just £3,500/year as an apprentice to a veteran programmer who taught him how to do more advanced programming.[3]

At the age of 17, he moved to London, where he developed games with Mikro-Gen and Probe Software for publishers such as Elite Systems, Mirrorsoft, and Virgin Games, working on titles such as the ZX Spectrum conversion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game and the Sega Genesis version of The Terminator.

In 1991, he moved to the United States to work for the American division of Virgin Games, usually known as Virgin Games USA. While in there, he led the development duties for several award-winning games for the Genesis, including Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, and Aladdin. His work within Virgin Games USA also served as a basis for the development of other games such as the Sega CD version of The Terminator and the Genesis versions of RoboCop Versus The Terminator and Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, all of them developed after David Perry had left the studio.

David Perry in 1996, with a miniature of Earthworm Jim

On October 1, 1993, Perry formed his own company in Laguna Beach, California, Shiny Entertainment, naming the company after the song "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M..[citation needed] The company's first game Earthworm Jim was a hit, selling millions of copies on multiple platforms, including Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo and PC. The title character, an "average worm" who stumbles upon a space suit which turns him into a superhero, became immensely popular, and spawned a variety of other types of merchandise: action figures, comic books, and a syndicated television cartoon series.

In 2002, Shiny Entertainment was acquired by Atari, Inc. in a US$47M deal, with Perry signed to a long-term contract to continue on as President. Also in 2002, Perry collaborated with The Wachowskis on games in coordination with their Matrix series of movies.[4]

In 2006, he resigned from Shiny,[5] and formed GameConsultants.com, a consultancy firm planning to offer executive level video game industry advice,[6] followed by GameInvestors.com, a business-to-business company to help video game development teams get funded.

In February 2008, Perry re-released his Game Industry Map website, a large games database, offered for free, mapping thousands of games and game companies on a map of the world, allowing students and industry employees to look up where games are made and companies based.

Perry is on the advisory board for the Game Developers Conference, and has spoken at industry venues such as E3, CES, Hollywood and Games, Digital Hollywood, iHollywood, SIGGRAPH, Entertainment in the Interactive Age, What Teens Want, The Banff Summit, as well as at major universities such as USC, and MIT.[7] In 2006, he co-hosted the annual Game Developers Choice Awards with Tommy Tallarico.

In November 2008, Perry co-founded Gaikai in the Netherlands, a company that released game streaming technology in late 2009.[8]

In July 2009, Perry confirmed that he had been involved in developing a title with Michael Jackson prior to the singer's death and had spent some time with Jackson and his children.[9]

In July 2012 Gaikai was sold to Sony Computer Entertainment for $380 million.[10]

Selected works[edit]

Description Year Publisher
National ZX80/ZX81 Users Club Magazine 1982 Interface Publications
Tim Hartnell's Giant Book of Spectrum Games 1983 Interface Publications
49 Explosive Games for the ZX Spectrum 1983 Interface Publications
Astounding Arcade Games for your Spectrum + & Spectrum 1984 Interface Publications
Sord M5 Graphics Demos [Written in BASIC] 1982 Sord
Drakmaze (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Pot-Holing Pete (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Three Weeks in Paradise (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Stainless Steel (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Savage (Original IP) via Probe Software -> Go / US Gold Ltd.
Tintin on the moon (Comic Book License) via Probe Software -> Infogrames
Paperboy - II (Arcade Game Conversion) Mindscape International Ltd.
Captain Planet (TV Show License) Mindscape International Ltd.
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TV Show License) 1990 via Probe Software -> Mirrorsoft Ltd. / Konami
Smash T.V. (Arcade Game Conversion) 1990 via Probe Software -> Ocean Software Ltd.
Supremacy (UK) / Overlord (US) (Original IP) 1990 via Probe Software -> Virgin Games Ltd.
The Terminator (Movie License) 1992 via Probe Software -> Virgin Games Ltd.
McDonald's Global Gladiators (Based on McD Characters) 1992 Virgin Games Ltd.
7-UP's Cool Spot (AdvertGame) 1993 Virgin Games Ltd.
Disney's "Aladdin" (Movie License) 1993 Virgin Games Ltd.
Earthworm Jim 1994 Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Earthworm Jim 2 1995 Playmates Interactive Entertainment
MDK 1997 Playmates Interactive / Interplay Entertainment.
Wild 9 1998 Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
Messiah 2000 Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
Sacrifice 2000 Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
Enter the Matrix 2003 Atari Inc.
The Matrix: Path of Neo 2005 Atari Inc.
The Darkness 2007 2K Games
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures 2008 Eidos Interactive


  • 49 explosive games for the ZX Spectrum. By Tim Hartnell with David Perry. London : Interface, 1983.[11]
  • David Perry on Game Design. Delmar, 2009.


  1. ^ http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/html/enternewsindex.html
  2. ^ http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/Graduation/HonoraryGraduates2008/DavidPerry/
  3. ^ a b "The Game Makers: The Producers". GamePro (IDG) (83): 20–24. August 1995. 
  4. ^ "CNN article about Matrix game". May 15, 2003. 
  5. ^ "Dave Perry resigns from Shiny". Eurogamer.net. 2006-02-20. 
  6. ^ "GameDaily article". 
  7. ^ "MIT Speakers List". 
  8. ^ Lifshitz, Jesse (2009-08-08). "OnLive and Gaikai - How to Stop a Gaming Revolution". ablegamers.com. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  9. ^ Bailey, Kat (2009-07-10). "New Michael Jackson Game Reportedly Under Development". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  10. ^ Brown, Nathan (2012-02-07). "Sony acquires Gaikai". edge.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  11. ^ Search result from Oxford University Libraries (solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk)

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