The Minds Behind Shooter Games

Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers


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About the Book

Featuring interviews with the creators of 39 popular video games–including Halo 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Medal of Honor and Metroid Prime–this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the origins of some of the most iconic shooter games. Interviewees recount endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers, the growth of the genre and 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 Jeff Paquette

Afterword by Benjamin Johnson

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 273
Bibliographic Info: 128 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8273-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4178-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Studies in Gaming

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Jeff Paquette 1
Preface 3
Introduction 5
Neil Biggin, Michael Hirst, Paul Hiley and Greg Staples, Loaded: A Bloody Good Time 7
Jake Simpson, Revolution X: An “Angel” in Arcades, but “Jaded” on Console 17
Vic Tolomei, Chiller: Medieval Mayhem 26
Rob Fulop, Missile Command: An Arcade Perfect Port 34
Steve Woita, Quadrun: Definitely Not Ms. Pac-Man 39
Steve Cartwright, Megamania: Cheeseburger in Slide and Shoot Paradise 47
John Mracek and Mike Feinstein, Phoenix: The Birth of the Big Bad Boss 52
Noah Falstein, Sinistar: More Than Words 57
Paul Marrable, Horizon Shift ’81: Back to the Future 62
Ste Wilson, Super Mega Space Blaster Special: A Personal Challenge 67
Dan Kitchen, River Raid II: Refueling the 2600 72
Dan Kitchen, Turn & Burn: No Fly Zone: The Long Atari Highway to the SNES Danger Zone 76
Benjamin Johnson, War­Jetz: Ben’s Big Break 81
Dylan Cuthbert, Star Fox: Super FX Chips and McVities 85
Cam Weber, Scarface: The World Is Yours: Say Hello to Not Your Typical Movie Tie-In 89
Perry Rodgers, Jumping Flash: Taking the FPS to New Heights 93
Ronald Pieket, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction: Destroy It All, One Card at a Time 98
Richard Rouse III, The Suffering: Ties That Bind: A Monster in My Closet 102
Jools Watsham, Xeodrifter: Pint-Sized Metroid-Mania 111
Ronald Pieket, One: Man on the Run 115
Jools Watsham, Dementium II: No Konami? No Problem 119
Brian McNeely, Powerslave: Walk, Shoot and Jump Like an Egyptian 124
Jens Andersson, The Darkness: Jackie Boy’s Day Out 131
David Szymanski and Dave Oshry, Dusk: The Rediscovered Roots of the FPS 136
Joe Mirabello, Tower of Guns: .38 Special 142
Neill Glancy, South Park: From Guns to Yellow Snowballs 154
Jim Stiefelmaier, Area 51: The Truth Is Cardboard Thin 159
Simon Hason and Philipp Döschl, Lonewolf: Click, Click Boom 166
David Dienstbier and Stephen Broumley, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter: An E3 Cinderella Story 171
Jon Knoles, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire: Rendar’s Day Out 180
Tony Giovannini, Metroid Prime: Through Samus’ Eyes 186
Jens Andersson, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay: Better Than the Movie, a Lot Better 191
Taylor Kurosaki, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Redefining a Classic with a New Story 198
Tony Barnes, Medal of Honor (2010): Let Them Know You’re “There” 203
Rebecca Ann Heineman, Wolfenstein 3D: Symphony of Destruction 209
Frank O’Connor, Halo 3: The Biggest and Baddest on the 360 216
Lee Perry, Gears of War: Cover Me 223
Dominic Craig, Red Dead Revolver: Rockstar Did What Capcom Couldn’t, for a Dollar 230
Jake Simpson, Soldier of Fortune: GHOULs and Guns 246
Conclusion 259
Afterword by Benjamin Johnson 261
Index 263

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Patrick’s interviews with all the top names in the industry let the reader feel like they know the developer and the games when they finish reading. I consider him one of the good guys in the industry.”—Todd Friedman, author of The Walter Day Superstars, Volume 1

• “Patrick has taken on an incredibly important task of telling these fascinating, untold stories of the greatest minds in the most underappreciated art form. Without him and these books, their stories would never be documented like they are now. Classes of video game history will owe this man everything.”—Kyle Davis and Blaise Dahl, Top Kvlt (Horror Podcast

• “When it comes to preserving the stories behind the gaming industry’s most influential titles, Patrick Hickey Jr. has proven to be an unwavering force time and time again. With an impossible attention to detail and profoundly entertaining story telling, Patrick’s writing has an incredible knack to transport its readers to a very special place in gaming history. It is a journey that anyone – gamer or not – would be grateful to be a part of.”—Andreas Asimakis, host, The Duel Screens podcast