Paul Norman (game designer)

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Paul Norman
Paul Norman.jpg
Born (1951-12-18) December 18, 1951 (age 70)
OccupationVideo game designer

Paul Norman (born December 18, 1951) is an American musician, composer, and computer programmer. Active in music since 1970, he has been involved with the development of computer entertainment and information since 1982. Norman's debut video game, Forbidden Forest was critically acclaimed.


Forbidden Forest[edit]

After fifteen years as a professional touring and studio musician, Norman programmed his first major computer program in the 1980s, a video game called Forbidden Forest. Norman's stated aim was to create an almost-cinematic experience,[1][2] and he relied on 6502 machine language when programming the game. Forbidden Forest was originally developed for a company known as Synchro that went out of business when the game was about three-quarters complete, but the game was eventually bought out by Cosmi and brought to completion.[2] The finished game was described as a "technical masterpiece" by Retro Gamer.[3] One year after release, Forbidden Forest sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.

Aztec Challenge[edit]

Norman developed his second title, the graphic adventure game Aztec Challenge which was released in 1984.

Caverns of Khafka[edit]

Following the success of Aztec Challenge, Norman developed another game titled Caverns of Khafka,[4] that was inspired by an Atari 8-bit computer game of the same name by Robert Bonifacio.[5] Though Norman rejected the "programmer" label, his skillset as a computer entertainment developer allowed him to make what he affectionately referred to as "little 16-color 'films'". Norman's growing expertise with computer languages and their logic made it easier to work on his stories and special effects. The popularity of the television show Airwolf and the movie Blue Thunder inspired Norman to make Super Huey, the first-ever helicopter simulator, which went on to sell more than two million copies.

1990s to present day[edit]

In 1990, Norman joined a CD-ROM development team at Tiger Media,[6] acting as script writer, audio and music producer, creator, and engineer. After two years as design consultant for Sega, he was contracted to produce audio and video content for the Discovery Channel Software title Carriers: Fortress at Sea. In 1995, Norman became a consultant and contributor on internet projects as well as interim contracts for Java programming. In 1999, he produced a website for a retail Internet startup, from GUI to database processing. He spent the next two years developing ideas and methods for a better model of Internet presentations and entertainment employing Adobe Flash and Caligari Truespace as tools.

Norman has developed numerous websites for a variety of businesses and celebrities. In 2014 he completed development of a web system for learning to play musical instruments, starting with guitar, piano, and harmonica. The website,, was officially launched in July 2014.[7]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title
1983 Forbidden Forest[1]
1983 Aztec Challenge
1984 Caverns of Khafka
1985 Monster Trivia[8]
1985 Beyond the Forbidden Forest[9]
1985 Super Huey[10]
1986 Def Con 5[11]
1986 Super Huey II[12]
1987 Chernobyl[11]
1989 The President Is Missing[11]
1989 Navy Seal[11]
1991 Murder Makes Strange Deadfellows
1995 The Umbra Conspiracy
2003 Super Huey III


  1. ^ a b Perron, Bernard (May 31, 2018). The World of Scary Video Games: A Study in Videoludic Horror. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781501316210 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b House, © Future Publishing Limited Quay; Ambury, The; Engl, Bath BA1 1UA All rights reserved; number 2008885, Wales company registration. "The Making Of The Forbidden Forest | Retro Gamer".
  3. ^ "The Making Of The Forbidden Forest". Retro Gamer. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  4. ^ "IMDB: Caverns of Khafka". IMDb. 2 January 1984. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ Caverns of Khafka credits for Commodore 64
  6. ^ "C64.COM - For the best in C64 nostalgia - We just do things so much better than Lemon 64!".
  7. ^ Paul Norman
  8. ^ " - The Gamebase Collection".
  9. ^ "Heading Beyond the Forbidden Forest once more". October 31, 2019.
  10. ^ " - The Gamebase Collection".
  11. ^ a b c d
  12. ^ "Impossible to Display Scan".

External links[edit]