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A Veteran With Character: Roger Hector Speaks
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A Veteran With Character: Roger Hector Speaks

May 22, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 9 Next

Anyway, you were saying that it was Videa, and...

RH: Well, Videa turned into Sente Technologies. Nolan Bushnell came along and wanted to acquire us. He had been held back from being in the games business with a non-compete agreement that he had with Warner Communications when he sold Atari. That seven-year non-compete agreement expired in 1983, and he would then be free to get back into games. In preparation for that, he bought our development group. We had... I can't remember exactly how many people, but I'm going to say a dozen or so who were developers who were together at that point.

The name was changed to Sente Technologies, and there was kind of a cute story connected to that. You know the name Atari comes from the game of Go, and the term sente is another term that's used in the game of Go. It's a counter to an atari, and that's where all that came from. This was going to be the counter to Atari, but we wound up... the corporate entity that bought us was Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater, so we wound up... Sente Technologies was a subsidiary of Chuck E. Cheese.

We started building coin-operated games. That was a real roller-coaster ride. We finished our first set of coin-op games, introduced them into the marketplace, and then Chuck E. Cheese collapsed, so we had to find ourselves a new corporate home. We sold Sente to Bally, and then it became Bally/Sente. Across this several years period of time, we started... as Videa became Sente, then became Bally/Sente, we produced around I'm going to guess 20 coin-operated games in that same place.

But there was a point in time when Bally wanted to move our operations from California back to Chicago with their corporate headquarters, and none of us wanted to go, so we left. I moved on. I joined Electronic Arts at that point. It was a much smaller little company at that time. I came on board as senior producer in charge of all sports, action, and arcade game production for EA, and this is a pre-public version of EA. I had a great time, and produced a bunch of games.

Just to list this stuff, because it goes on and on, I left EA, and joined Disney. This was really to build up a development software business internally for Disney. I was there several years.

Were you there before they ramped down?

RH: Well, what happened was that we started making money. We were completely below the corporate radar when we got started, but then we started to ramp up the business. We were making sales, and software was becoming more of a visible entity within the company. And then there started to be a turf war that generated internally at Disney for which division should manage and control software.

Different divisional presidents all saw that they should have responsibility for that, so Michael Eisner's answer to that dilemma was to do nothing, basically. We were instructed to do nothing, meaning that we could finish all of the games that were in our pipeline, but we couldn't start anything new.

That was because we were in such hot demand, that they didn't want us to keep doing it. It was a confusing, difficult time. We finished all the games we had, but then we had to sit around and we had nothing to do. We couldn't do that. You can only do that for so long.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 9 Next

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