09 Mar

Dev Stories from the Past

A bit of nostalgy can never hurt anyone. To me, weird tales about old software are a source of inspiration — they are essentially war stories for nerds. Here are some cool software stories from the past told by the developers themselves.

Donkey Kong and Me

The aptly named DadHacker writes about his past at Atari Corp. and more specifically about his experiences on porting the Donkey Kong coin-op on Atari. Includes gory descriptions of 8-bit graphics modes.

… most of the game sources I saw in the consumer division were crap, just absolute garbage: almost no comments, no insight as to what was going on, just pages of LDA/STA/ADD and alphabet soup, and maybe the occasional label that was meaningful. But otherwise, totally unmaintainable code.

Sounds familiar…

Tim Follin Interview about Video Game Music

Here is a great video interview with Tim Follin, a composer of game music on the Commodore 64, Atari ST and many other platforms. Wikipedia has a surprisingly extensive biography but the below video has the same information told much better.

Be sure to watch the second part as well.

Macintosh Stories

The development of the Apple Macintosh is the source of many mythical stories. This site dedicated to Macintosh folklore contains probably most of them. I like the fact there is a lot of stories about both the people and the inner workings of the Mac.


Jeff Minter is a legendary character with the distinctive style of his games. Personally, Minter is in my all time Top 5. One of my first memories about computers is not understanding Colourspace at all back when I was about 8. Below is a really interesting and funny presentation by the man itself including game footage from his old games (I think the presentation is promotion for his latest effort, Space Giraffe). He has written an extensive history of his company Llamasoft.

An Interview with Rob Northen

Rob Northen was responsible for copy protecting many games on the Amiga and Atari ST platforms. Considering publisher giants like Ocean, Microprose and US Gold used his services, I’d say a majority of games used a version of his protection. This interview gives some insight into how he came up with his software Copylock and how it worked.