Douglas E. Smith

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Douglas Edwin Smith
Douglas E. Smith.jpg
Smith circa 1985
Born(1960-10-28)October 28, 1960
DiedSeptember 7, 2014(2014-09-07) (aged 53)
Occupation(s)Video game designer
Video game programmer
Video game producer
Notable workLode Runner

Douglas E. Smith (28 October 1960 – 7 September 2014), usually credited as Doug Smith, was an American video game designer and programmer best known as the author of the 8-bit game Lode Runner (1983), considered a seminal work of the 1980s.[1][2]

Smith, of Renton, Washington, wrote his most famous game while an architecture student at the University of Washington.[3] He wrote the game on a VAX-11/780 in Fortran with some Pascal and assembly over the course of a summer, where it was played by students who provided feedback and levels. It became a "cult hit" on campus. After his nephew asked to play on the Apple II+ he ported it over a 3-day weekend in 6502 assembly language. He borrowed money to purchase a color monitor and joystick and continued to improve the game. Around Christmas of 1982, he submitted the game to four publishers and quickly received offers. He took the deal with Broderbund and the game was published in 1983.[3] It was one of the first games to include a level editor.[4] While the game sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States, in Japan it sold millions, becoming the first western video game to become a major success in Japan.[5]

During the 1990s, he was executive producer of the English-language version of Secret of Mana and contributed[vague] to the localization of Chrono Trigger. He was the executive producer of Secret of Evermore.


  1. ^ "In Memoriam, Douglas E. Smith, 1960 - 2014". Tozai Games. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  2. ^ Owen S. Good (13 September 2014). "Douglas Smith, creator of 1980s PC-gaming milestone Lode Runner, dies". Polygon. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Lock'n'Lode", IGN, 1999-02-17
  4. ^ Roberto Dillon (2011). The Golden Age of Video Games: The Birth of a Multibillion Dollar Industry. CRC Press. p. 148. ISBN 9781439873236. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  5. ^ Parish, Jeremy (September 17, 2014). "TGS: With Lode Runner Creator Doug Smith's Passing, The World has Lost a Gaming Pioneer". Retrieved August 14, 2022.

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