Raster Blaster is a pioneering home computer pinball simulation game that paved the way for more elaborate and accurate pinball sims in the years that followed.
This video game was written and designed by Bill Budge and published by BudgeCo. It showed a fullscreen high resolution display of a pinball game table. The 6502-based Apple II was not designed to support fast graphics and collision detection, but Budge mastered these problems and the game ran with such speed and visual accuracy that it stood head-and-shoulders above other arcade-style games of its day.
Raster Blaster was one of the major hits of the "plastic baggies on pegboards" era of computer game stores, and Budge followed it with the popular Pinball Construction Set (1982). Raster Blaster was voted Softalk magazine's Most Popular Program of 1981.
Even as the second game took off in sales, Budge and his sister were being overwhelmed by all the tasks involved in running the business. It took all of Budge's energy to just keep things going, let alone write games.
Electronic Arts (EA) was formed that same year, and founder Trip Hawkins was impressed by Budge's titles. He approached Budge (with the help of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak) and invited him to join the initial group of EA developers, and leave the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution issues behind. Budge agreed, and became the central figure among EA's highly publicized designers. Pinball Construction Set became a mainstream hit, and the top title in EA's original line-up.
BYTE praised the game's realistic physics, writing that "Most microcomputer games that are versions of existing board or equipment games aren't worth the disks they're printed on, but Raster Blaster does not fall into that category!" Softline stated when reviewing David's Midnight Magic that it "ratifies Bill Budge's extraordinary program as a programming tour de force" and "proof of Budge's technical lead over his rivals", as Midnight was merely equal to Raster Blaster despite being nine months ("an eternity in the Apple II world") newer. Compute! called the Atari version "addictive", although it noted some bugs.
- "Most Popular Program of 1981: Raster Blaster!" Softalk. April 1982.
- "The Coinless Arcade". BYTE. December 1981. pp. 38–41. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- Tommervik, Al (January 1982). "David's Midnight Magic". Softline. p. 32. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- Kopp, G. L. (October 1982). "Raster Blaster". Compute! (review). p. 131. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
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