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Paul Norman (game designer)

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Paul Norman
Norman in 2023
Born (1951-12-18) December 18, 1951 (age 72)
OccupationVideo game designer

Paul Norman (born December 18, 1951) is an American game designer, musician, composer, and computer programmer. He has been active in the music scene since 1970 and has been involved with the development of computer entertainment and information since 1982, including the production of Forbidden Forest in 1983.


Early career[edit]

Norman spent fifteen years working as a professional touring and studio musician.[citation needed]

Forbidden Forest[edit]

Norman programmed his first major computer program in the 1980s: a video game called Forbidden Forest. Norman's wanted to create a cinematic experience for its user,[1][2] and he used 6502 machine language to program the game. Forbidden Forest was originally developed for a company known as Synchro, which went out of business when the game was about three-quarters complete. However, the game was eventually[when?] bought out by American developer Cosmi and brought to completion.[2] The finished game was described as a "technical masterpiece" by Retro Gamer.[3] The game was released in 1983.

Aztec Challenge[edit]

Norman's second title was a graphic adventure game named Aztec Challenge, which was released in 1983 for the Commodore 64. A game with the same title was released for the Atari 8-bit computers. Norman authored the game's music, programming, and game design. Like his previous game, Aztec Challenge received praise for its "high standard of graphics and sound" from the game magazine publication Your Commodore.[4]

Caverns of Khafka and Super Huey[edit]

Following the release of Aztec Challenge, Norman developed another game titled Caverns of Khafka,[5] inspired by an 8-bit Atari computer game of the same name by Robert Bonifacio.[6] The game was released sometime between 1983 and 1984.

On the development of Super Huey (claimed to be the first helicopter simulator launched on the gaming market), Norman cites the television show Airwolf and the movie Blue Thunder as inspirations for its gameplay. The game went on to sell over two million copies. A Steam version of the game and its sequel were made available to the public in 2021.[7]

1990s to present day[edit]

In 1990, Norman joined a CD-ROM development team at Tiger Media, acting as a scriptwriter, audio and music producer, creator, and engineer. After two years as a design consultant for Sega, he was contracted to produce audio and video content for the Discovery Channel Software titled Carriers: Fortress at Sea.

Between 1995 and 1999, Norman became a consultant and contributor for internet projects, using Java programming to handle various responsibilities, from GUI to data 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. Later, he developed a web system for learning to play musical instruments, including guitar, piano, and harmonica. Though the website was launched in 2014, it is no longer available to the public.


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 "The Making Of The Forbidden Forest | Retro Gamer". www.retrogamer.net. 23 April 2014.
  3. ^ "The Making Of The Forbidden Forest". Retro Gamer. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  4. ^ Your Commodore Magazine Issue 02. Argus Specialist Publications. 1984. p. 31.
  5. ^ "IMDB: Caverns of Khafka". IMDb. 2 January 1984. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  6. ^ Caverns of Khafka credits for Commodore 64
  7. ^ "Super Huey™ 1 & 2 Airdrop on Steam". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  8. ^ "gamebase64.com - The Gamebase Collection". www.gamebase64.com.
  9. ^ "Heading Beyond the Forbidden Forest once more". October 31, 2019.
  10. ^ "gamebase64.com - The Gamebase Collection". www.gb64.com.
  11. ^ a b c d "Interview with Paul Norman". www.c64.com.
  12. ^ "Impossible to Display Scan". www.zzap64.co.uk.

External links[edit]