The Minds Behind Adventure Games

Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers


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About the Book

Featuring interviews with the creators of 31 popular video games—including Grand Theft Auto, Strider, Maximum Carnage and Pitfall—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the origins of some of the most enjoyable and iconic adventure games of all time. Interviewees recount the endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers, the growth of the adventure genre, and reveal the creative processes that produced some of the industry’s biggest hits, cult classics and indie successes.

About the Author(s)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by Nintendo, Disney and EA Sports.

Series editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies, anthropology, and writing at Pace University in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick Hickey, Jr.

Series Editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell

Foreword by Pete Paquette

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 124 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7966-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3847-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Studies in Gaming

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Pete Paquette 1
Preface 3
Introduction 7

Mark Flitman, Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage: Paint It Black and Red 11
Masaya Matsuura, Rodney Alan Greenblat and Perry Rodgers, PaRappa the Rapper: Don’t Stop Believin’ 19
Garry Kitchen, Keystone Kapers: The “Little Man” That Could 25
Warren Spector, Epic Mickey: When Mickey Met Oswald 32
Fabien Demeulenaere and Philipp Döschl, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom: A ­Cult-Classic Competition 39
Todd Clineschmidt, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: The Fellowship That Almost Never Was 47
Kevin Sheller, Hunter: The Reckoning: Teddy Bears, Tequila and a ­Triple-Buffered Adventure 53
Patrick Lipo, X-Men Legends: The Birth of the Marvel Action/RPG Monopoly 61
Tony Barnes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wooden Stakes and Bad Pizza 73
Dan Kitchen, Double Dragon: From the Arcade to the Atari 2600 Extreme 81
Garry Kitchen, Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker: The First “Unity” in Game Design 86
Simon Pick, Die Hard Trilogy: The Tech Demo That Did It All One Christmas in Nakatomi Plaza 93
Marshal Linder, Zyll: IBM’s “Quest” Before the King’s 101
Adam Jeffcoat, The VideoKid: Paperboy Meets Voxel Pam Anderson 106
Nate Weiss, Songbringer: A Whole New World, Every Time 111
Carlos L. Hernando, A Rite from the Stars: “Tou Kune Tu Kiki” 116
Chris Carpenter, Pheugo: Man Down Under at Work 123
Brett Taylor, Linelight: An “Adventure” Between the Lines 129
James Deighan, Andrew Marsh and Zack Manko, Coffee Crisis: Fade to Coffee Black 135
Zack Johnson, West of Loathing: Getting by with a Little Help from My Stick-Figured Friends 140
Kevin Sheller and John R. Sanderson, Family Guy Video Game!: “Thank You, Mr. Belvedere” 146
Chris Seavor, Conker’s Bad Fur Day: Making Lemonade When Poo Hits the Fan 156
Chris Seavor, Conker: Live and Reloaded: When Microsoft Met Their Match 166
Yoshitomo Moriwaki, Boom Blox: Spielberg and Jenga, with Explosives 171
Howard Scott Warshaw, Raiders of the Lost Ark: An “Adventure” in Research and Discipline 177
David Crane, Pitfall!: Tarzan Screams and More Than 200 Screens 184
Andrew Glaister, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure: From Killing DOS to Porting Jim 190
Nic Cusworth, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos: Lights, Lava, Action 196
Don Traeger, Spider: An Amazing Arachnid Adventure 202
Tony Barnes, Strider: Even Better Than the First Time 207
David Cowan and Don Traeger, Grand Theft Auto: From the Food Truck to the PlayStation 215

Conclusion 224
Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Wonderfully well organized, the book showcases what happens behind the scenes in the development of video games….An informative and inspiring read, this is a book for anyone who is interested in gaming development or the history of adventure video games….recommended”—Choice

• “Welcome to the journey. At each chapter you’ll have two paths to choose from. One is to continue on to the next chapter. The other is to put the book down and play the game. Follow the first option each time. I guarantee that when you finish reading the book and play the games they’ll be more fun because you’ll appreciate what went into the creation of them.”—Leonard Herman, author of Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry

• “Patrick delivers a refreshingly sober look at video game development through the context of his interviews. The stories these legends of the game industry tell are full of disappointment and excitement – failure and success. The stuff video games are made of. The stuff of life.”—Jeffrey Paquette, designer, KROOM

• “Patrick Hickey Jr. doesn’t just parrot off the facts like other books in the field, he does his homework, digs deep, and asks the right kind of questions. When you read this book chock full of interviews with those in-the-know you will undoubtedly be pleased!”—Michael Thomasson, author of Downright Bizarre Games: Video Games that Crossed the Line