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The early games and tech that inspired a generation of game devs

The early games and tech that inspired a generation of game devs

May 22, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon




"Our father knew that programming and computers would be important, and he thought that games would be a good way to get us interested. It stuck a little too hard."

- Dwarf Fortress co-creator Tarn Adams recalls how he and his brother first learned to code.

Polygon sat down with over a dozen long-time game creators to explore how their childhood fascinations with coding, early video games, and board games led to their now-prolific careers in game development.

The story offers an interesting look back at how some familiar faces first got their start, while also providing a glimpse at how both technology and the video game industry itself has changed in just a few decades.

Polygon captures memories from developers that have had their hands in games like Myst, The Witcher, Spore, Dwarf Fortress, and Monkey Island. Many of those interviewed got their start in childhood, with some even starting work on their first commercial projects during their teenaged years.

In the case of 3D Realms founder Scott Miller, some light breaking and entering helped speed the process along. He tells the story about how his high school got a Wang 2200 computer in 1975 and how he would eventually start sneaking into the building after hours to get more time to code his own games.

"At first, I didn't think [the computer] was interesting. I just saw it as a big calculator,” he recalls. ”But some of my friends had copies of a magazine called ‘Creative Computing’ and they were typing in games written in BASIC. This was a revelation and I realized that computers allowed you to create worlds with your own rules. I was immediately hooked.”

The full story over at Polygon is well worth a read and is filled with the earliest game development memories from designers, writers, and coders that are still in the game today, including looks at some of their first games and early coding triumphs.



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