Warren Robinett – Atari Adventure – Interview

Oct 24, 2009

(Este artículo está disponible en español. Traducción por cortesía de Andrés de Pedro.)

In the foreword to The Video Game Theory Reader, Warren Robinett, who invented the action-adventure genre of videogames in his mid-20’s, mentioned that the people who built the conceptual foundations of our industry – our medium’s versions of Bach, Plato, Shakespeare – are still mostly alive today. Given that we’re full of questions that we wish we could ask the innovators of other fields, we shouldn’t take this fact for granted in our industry. We owe it to the future generations to interview these developers while we still can.

So I did! I reached out to him (Warren) for an interview.

What follows is my interview with Warren Robinett, the creator of Adventure (first action-adventure game) and Rocky’s Boots (one of the first hit educational games):


[Begins with greetings, which have been edited out for brevity]

CD: What sort of work do you do these days?

WR: I’m in a research group at Hewlett-Packard.

CD: How long have you been over there?

WR: Six years.

CD: It sounds like it has been a good fit for your current interests, then?

WR: Sure. HP is now the world’s biggest computer company, by annual gross. Working in the corporate research lab for the world’s biggest computer company is a good place to be if you’re a computer scientist.

CD: And before that?

WR: I was making another educational game, actually. What happened to it, you might ask? It came apart for reasons entirely unrelated to the game – just the time consuming life distractions of the past 5 years. I ended up in a situation where I didn’t work on it.

CD: If we can rewind a bit, and zoom in on that same topic: what was the transition like from entertainment games, to education games, to no longer working on games?

WR: Well, what has to be understood is that all of these things were pretty new at the time. Videogames had only been around for a few years. I went to work for Atari in 1977… I should back up, and cover the trajectory of my career, to put this in context.

CD: Sure.

WR: I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and went to undergraduate at Rice University. I had a technical major – what would have been Computer Science, but they didn’t have a Computer Science department so it was within Math. I liked it very much there, and made a lot of lifelong friends. I worked for one year in Houston, where Rice is, then I went to grad school at Berkeley in Computer Science. I didn’t like it there – I guess it was culture shock. Maybe you can relate to this coming from Missouri to California.

CD: Certainly.

WR: It took me a long time to figure out how things work out here. It sort of shocked me to see that being a nice guy didn’t count for anything at all. I got used it though. There are some things that are better about California – for one, stuff happens out here. There’s a reason Atari was here and not in Springfield, Missouri.

I wasn’t very happy when I was a grad student, so I just stayed a year and a half at Berkeley, and came away with a Masters in Computer Science. It was 1977, returned to Missouri, and I ran into some high school friends who were building log cabins. This was in the post-Vietnam hippy era, so I spent a fun year making log cabins, going on a bicycle trip across the country, and then I was out of money. I came back to California and got a job. My timing was good because I ended up getting a job at Atari.

CD: Wasn’t ’77 the same year their console hit the market?

WR: ’76 was when it arrived. There were 4 Atari 2600 programmers at the time I was hired – I was in the second group of 4. Pretty darn good timing.

CD: How did you find that opportunity with Atari?

WR: I had no connections. I went to the front door and filled out an application, and wrote a little essay about why they would want me. An interesting thing happened… I like being diversified, and after studying software in graduate school and spending one year writing software, I was hoping for a job designing hardware. I had been partly an electrical engineering major at Rice. I was interviewed by the system architect of Atari, and he liked me, but he told me that he had another candidate who had a lot better experience. When that guy accepted, he got me an interview with the software team.

CD: You were trying to work on the hardware for the Atari, instead of making games?

WR: Yes, although in retrospect the software side was the better end to be on. I worked for Atari for a year and a half, and I did three commercial videogames – Adventure, Slot Racer, and Basic Programming. The last one wasn’t exactly a game; it foreshadowed educational software.

CD: With Basic Programming, was it a how-to? A console compiler?

WR: Well, it wasn’t really BASIC – it had some similarities, but it wasn’t capital B, capital A, capital S, capital I, capital C – it was like fundamentals. It was a marketing move to get people’s attention. The Atari 2600 didn’t have the resources to do actual BASIC. It only had 128 bytes of RAM for one thing, and 4K of ROM. I did make a little interpreted language, and it let users create simple programs and see them operate.

CD: Did it come with a keyboard peripheral?

WR: Yep. They had an idea that they wanted to sell a bunch of different peripherals, it never succeeded really. The joystick and the paddlewheel were the dominant ones.

Right around that time, I met these 3 women who were educators, and started The Learning Company to make educational games. It made sense to combine these people, with their backgrounds as educators, with a game designer, and that was successful.

It was hard on me though, because I didn’t believe in stress, or I just thought it was all in your head. It turned out to be in my neck, so I again got stressed out an moved on, then spent several years recovering from that. After that I had a job with NASA in the Bay Area – NASA Ames Research Center, doing what we now call Virtual Reality. I ended up being a VR researcher for a long time, eventually moving to North Carolina, because back in the mid-1980’s the University of North Carolina was one of the few places where you could do VR research. It wasn’t even called Virtual Reality at the time, it was just referred to as “Head-Mounted Display”. I moved there, and there were some professors that I knew a little bit, one of whom was Fred Brooks.

CD: I recognize that name.

WR: Fred Brooks was a Turing Award winner – he wrote a book called The Mythical Man Month.

CD: Ah, right! I read the book. That’s where I recognize him from.

WR: He was a real pioneer. He was a manager from the IBM/360 project which dominated the computing world for 2-3 decades when I was a young man. He founded the Computer Science department at North Carolina in the 60’s. He’s extremely religious though, so something happened to me there that I… well I guess I should ask…

CD: I’m not religious.

WR: Neither am I. What happened there is it turned out Fred Brooks created a little enclave of Christian computer scientists. I didn’t think this could happen at a major university. It made it hard to succeed there for those of us that didn’t share his views.

I continued with Virtual Reality research at North Carolina – VR was a hot technology at the time. It was fun to be in the middle of that. I got married around that time, and once you get married you’re a lot less mobile. That’s the main reason I stuck around Chapel Hill: I got married, and bought a house.

I worked there at the University of North Carolina for several years, but the politics didn’t work out very well for me.

CD: Speaking of family, do your sons play videogames?

WR: Oh yeah, they play videogames constantly. I have more of the dad point of view than the designer point of view these days though – I can’t get them off the videogames, they’re up until 4am playing them.

CD: Are your sons old enough to appreciate your role in game history?

WR: Sort of, but they’re not that impressed. It’s kind of hard to tell. They think it’s cool.

CD: Have they played your games?

WR: Yea, they’ve played my games. As you probably know, kids below a certain age are not worried about being bluntly honest, so they’ll give you direct feedback. They told me quite clearly how stupid and old fashioned my game Adventure was. That just doesn’t cut the mustard by modern standards.

CD: The middle school kids that I taught at camp last summer were actually quite fascinated by it. The last couple days of class I brought in my Atari 2600 and NES and we discussed how those things affect the work that’s done today. When they first came in they all wanted to know when are we going to get to do 3D, how can we get stereo music and fancy sound effects – but by the end of it they wouldn’t stop playing Warlords, and they each wanted to get to play Adventure all the way through. They found out fun wasn’t invented in the late 90’s.

WR: You used Adventure?

CD: Absolutely – I showed that I could go south twice, west twice, and wind up in the same room. We talked about how that worked with the hyperspace walls. They also found the bridge fascinating because there hasn’t been much like it since.

WR: Nothing like it since?

CD: Perhaps, in some sense, Portal, a recently successful indie game amplified through Valve’s development teams, which revolved around clever navigational puzzles using a carryiable item used to go through walls.

WR: The Atari 2600 has so many limitations that it’s hard to do anything. If I had more resources I might have represented it differently, but it worked.

CD: Were there other ideas, enemies, or concepts you wanted to work with but weren’t able to implement due to hardware? Perhaps things you tried then accepted weren’t going to fit due to memory or time?

WR: There were a few things I tried that I rejected. I wrote a book about the design of Adventure, now 25 years old, and although I had a publisher at the time when the game industry crashed that publisher went out of business too. The rights to the books they had went along to another publisher. After a few years passed it wasn’t clear that anybody was still interested in these old games. By then I didn’t work in the game industry any more, I had moved on to other things, so it just sat there a long time.

CD: Ian Bogost just released Racing the Beam

WR: I ran across that. I’m now in e-mail correspondence with him.

CD: There does to be a resurgence of interest in classical videogames and their impact – have you considered giving another push to getting the manuscript published, or perhaps trying to find a way for it to go into public domain?

WR: Sort of. I now have a somewhat different and more ambitious idea that I think I may try to publish within a series Bogost is doing with MIT Press. The book that I wrote in ’83 might be of interest to some people since it’s a contemporaneous take on what I did. It occurred to me that those old games, are so small, that the game’s programming is not that long, only 15 pages. That’s small enough that you could spend 100 pages where you have source of game, plus 85 pages of explanation, going into detail on every decision that was made in the whole thing, and that’s only half the book.

CD: Annotated!

WR: Like Annotated Alice. Exactly. So that’s what I decided to do. Ian Bogost seemed to be pretty interested in this. I have an outline that he’s thinking about. He has a coeditor for this series. Racing the Beam is the first book in the series he’s trying to do called Platform Studies, where platform refers to the videogame console. I had this idea before running across this book, but it seems like a pretty good venue to publish that idea in. I’m hoping it’s going to happen – I’m pretty busy, but you make time for things that you really want to make happen. The reason I bring this up is that the best answer to detailed questions about Adventure – stuff that I implemented and then rejected, and so on – will go into that book.

CD: Any general timeframe, if it did happen, for when this book might be available?

WR: In the next year I hope. It’s hard to feel in that big of a rush when I’ve been sitting on a manuscript for 25 years. [laughs]

CD: Adventure is well known for having the first Easter Egg, where you had injected your name into the finished game, in combatting Atari’s policy against developers getting credit. Did the managers try to explain at that time why they intended to obscure developer credits? Was it a corporate branding thing, or…

WR: It was real clear what was going on. It was a power play. They wanted the developers anonymous so they wouldn’t have any negotiating power, so that they wouldn’t know who the individuals developing the games were.

CD: I read it sold a million cards at $25/game and you were being paid $22,000 a year.

WR: I came out of it fine overall, since that was a stepping stone to starting this other company. So I can’t complain money wise. I might complain if it had never led to anything at all. Do you know about the Dumb Sh**s Club?

CD: No, I haven’t heard of it.

WR: Something was written about it – if you type that into Google you can find more. The context is that there weren’t that many Atari game designers are Atari when it exploded – there had been less than a dozen who had been there for about a year when it went crazy and started making hundreds of millions of dollars.

It took quite awhile to get your head into this little chip. The executives did not understand this; they thought they could just hire… they said this: “You guys are just programmers, we can hire some new programmers, programmers are a dime a dozen.” That was pretty stupid. They insulted the programmers, so they all quit, they all founded competing companies, and all the money was in the software. Nintendo learned from this mistake, but there was no way to prevent third parties from making games for the Atari 2600 so all the talented designers left.

Four of them founded Activision, three of them founded Imagic which was a big deal for awhile then collapsed, but anyway, this was the context. My two friends and I – I had quit Atari, and was doing this Learning Company thing, but it wasn’t clear whether that was going to amount to anything or not. So I went out and was drinking beers with my two friends, Jim Huether and Tom Reuterdahl. The guys who started Activision were multi-millionaires, at least on paper, so we wondered are we idiots are what? We weren’t rich. We called ourselves the Dumb Sh**s Club, and the requirements were that you had to have designed games for Atari and never made much money from it. Jim Huether was the only one who had never left Atari during that period, so we elected him president of the Dumb Sh**s Club.

[At this point we discussed my experience doing contract work for ngmoco to develop Topple. Warren jokingly offered a youth membership to the club.]

CD: Speaking of iPhone development, these days through DSiware, PSP Minis, casual web games, and other such channels, there is increasingly an opportunity for the people to make videogames the way they used to be made: with one person having the idea, doing the programming for it, doing the art for it. I’m curious as to whether you’re ever tempted to make a little web game, a little iPhone game… if it’s just no longer your thing, or if you’re too busy, or…

WR: All of the above. I’m tempted, but I’m also busy, and at this phase of my life I have a lot of obligations that I didn’t when I was much younger. I look back over my career, which is not finished, but probably more than half over, considering I’m 57. I made some really good moves at times, but I made some mistakes, too. That’s normal. But one thing that probably would seem kind of weird, but it happened, is… I had a mega-hit when I was quite young, Adventure, and then I started this company and had another hit (Rocky’s Boots an educational game), and then, what I did after that was, nothing. I’ve never done another commercial game since then. And believe me, that was never my plan. I fully expected to do another game soon after that. I even worked on some, they just never got published. Rocky’s Boots came out in ’82, and in the mid-80’s I was working on another game that was an evolution of Adventure on the Macintosh, but for various reasons it just didn’t work out.

I was doing it in black-and-white, and that didn’t work out very well, and I sort of misjudged the difference between working for the manufacturer (Atari) and not. Working within the publisher has it’s disadvantages, like they don’t pay you any royalties, but you’re there at the source, but the people around you know everything about the ins and outs. Working as an external party you are going to get a cut, but that lacks a lot of the support that’s easy to take for granted until it isn’t there. I learned what I didn’t have when I no longer had all these people supporting me. That was the first time that I tried to do another game.

I’m kind of an interest-motivated person. My career has mostly been my working on whatever interested me at the time. First it was videogames, then it was educational games, then it was virtual reality – these were fascinating things to get to work on. I actually stayed with virtual reality too long and got a little sick of it; 15 years a bit too long to work on the same thing. When I was in a university as a VR researcher there just wasn’t a lot of other options to switch around.

While in North Carolina I made an effort to combine the two big things that I had done in my career, virtual reality and videogames. At that time a major toy company was making efforts to release a virtual reality home videogame platform. They made a prototype, and spent a lot of money on it – $60 million total on hardware prototypes for the head mounted display, plus there were ten companies making prototype games for it. This was in the mid 90’s. I found a couple of programmers and a couple of artists, and I had a small company in North Carolina trying to make a virtual reality game for this new platform. If that had taken off we would have been well positioned to be one of the initial companies in this space.

What happened was that you just couldn’t deliver a decent virtual reality headset to a consumer for the amount of money consumers would pay. It was pretty well known they wouldn’t pay more than a couple of hundred dollars, $500 at the most. These virtual reality headsets require optics, displays, trackers, and every one of those things had to have compromises to be within cost. The end result was that it was a crummy device. The toy company made the decision, and it was the right decision, to call it off before it hit the market. That was my second attempt to make another videogame.

That was frustrating because it never actually got to the point where I got to design the videogame, partly since I was the CEO of that company. That’s the only job I’ve ever had that I hated. Some people like that sort of thing, but I didn’t.

If you roll the clock forward another five years, I hit 50. I had these ideas that I had wanted to do for 15 years I never had the chance to do. I realized that if I’m ever going to do these ideas I ought to get started on them. I spent two years working on a prototype game, but personal interests and distractions overwhelmed the next few years and the project never moved forward.

CD: What is your current work like?

WR: I’ve always been a computer graphics guy, from school into videogames and virtual reality, but when I joined Hewlett Packard years ago I found my way into the hardware side as a computer architect.

CD: Closer to what you had originally hoped to do with Atari?

WR: Exactly. There simply aren’t many opportunities to be a computer architect, so I never expected to get to work as one. It’s like an inverted pyramid – if there are tens of thousands of software developers, there are hundreds of hardware developers and dozens of computer architects. I’m in a group that’s sort of working on a replacement for the transistor.

CD: That sounds like a pretty big deal – that sort of shift in technology doesn’t come about very often.

WR: Well, there were gears, then relays, then vacuum tubes, followed by discrete transistors, followed by integrated circuits. 40 years went by, and transistors are starting to hit a wall, integrated circuits too maybe. We’re now working on the memristor.

[At this point Warren and I talked a bit more about his research work, and the basics of the memristor discovery. I found this fascinating, but recognize that my HobbyGameDev (then “GameDevLessons”) newsletter audience may be less interested in the details so I am opting to not transcribe that part of our discussion. If you would like to find out more about these nanoelectronic and neuromorphic circuit elements, there’s a pretty extensive Wikipedia article on the memristor you can check out.]

CD: With The Learning Company – when that got founded, how was it funded? Investor money, out of pocket, educational grants, or…?

WR: Good question. The Learning Company – we usually say that there were 4 founders, but there was really one founder, and her name was Ann McCormick Piestrup. She can be a bit unpredictable, but the kind of unpredictable person that knows how to really makes things happen. People who makes things happen are like that sometimes.

Ann had a PhD in Educational Psychology from Berkeley. At the time that The Learning Company started she was in the mid-to-late 30’s. How she got it started – this was in 1979, when the Apple computer was new – Apple was doing little tiny grants of $1,000 plus an Apple II for people that applied to make educational games. She applied and got it, to make educational games for kindergarten children. She got the Apple II, and found two or three different programmers and made some simple programs with her Apple II.

On the strength of that she wrote another grant application to some part of the government (possibly the National Science Foundation?), and she got it. $130,000 to make educational games to teach logic and geometry to grade school children. That’s when I met her, right after I had designed 3 games for Atari. Ann found a venture capitalist, and made it happen. She also found two other people who also became founders, also educators: Leslie Grimm and Terry Perl.

At the time Ann found venture capital we were worried that the investors would get carried away and take control, but she owned most of the stock so we were fine. It was the right move, since without that money we could not have made it off the ground. She picked a good venture capitalist.

CD: When you wound up with The Learning Company, were you specifically looking for educational game work, or did they pull you in and you were open minded to the direction they had?

WR: We met through Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus. In the early days of the Apple II, there was only one software publisher, Personal Software. It wasn’t very big, but Mitch was a guy there doing business software. Ann had a partner, and that partner was Steve Jobs’ girlfriend at the time. Ann and her partner made a proposal to Personal Software to make educational games, and I made a proposal to Personal Software to make a successor to Adventure for the Apple II. They didn’t accept either of our proposals, but Mitch introduced us to one another – there was nothing in it for him to do so, but he did so because that’s just the kind of guy he is.

CD: And this led to Rocky’s Boots, the logic game?

WR: Yes.

CD: Were there other educational game concepts that you started into, or wanted to work on but didn’t have the time, or… ?

WR: I had ideas all the time. I was particularly interested in teaching math to kids using visualization. That’s what Rocky’s Boots did, it used orange and white to show signals propagating through a circuit, and it worked pretty well. I was playing it recently because my youngest son is the right age to play it, so I got out my 30-year-old Apple II and it still worked.

CD: If at this time at your life, what kind of thing do you think you would be doing? Is there a strong interest number 2 on your list?

WR: Doing a sequel to Adventure is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I shouldn’t have left 30 years go by, but it’s not too late I guess.

[At this point Warren and I talk for some time about my own research and future interests, text that I’m skipping over here since you’re likely reading this interview to learn about Warren, not me. It led to him asking about whether I was planning on attending grad school, to which I said it seemed unlikely. His reply made a lot of important points. In case my situation connects to the experience of some of my readers, I’ll transcribe it here in full.]

WR: I was a smart kid, and got good grades, so I was able to get into graduate school, and I got into a good one. Right after I got a Masters degree in Computer Science, I went out and got a job with Atari, I was at the right place at the right time. After that, according to the advice of some of my friends, I should have gone at that point and got a PhD. I’ll tell you why I didn’t: I had just made this huge hit Adventure, and while I didn’t know how successful it would be, I knew it was going to be a pretty big thing. I knew that my industry success and ideas would lead me to get into conflicts with the professors. Sure enough, when I did get into a university later on, they imagined that they were the officers and I was the enlisted man.

What you’re worried will happen, may very well happen. There’s a pecking order, and if you leapfrog the pecking order, the mean ones will want to hammer you flat. You may not realize this, but Randy Pausch’s ties to the ETC – they may have had their feathers ruffled a bit by the existence of your undergraduate club, but 90% of grad school professors would have hammered your club into the ground, seeing it as a threat to their turf. I think you were lucky to have Randy in that position at that time. That’s one side of the coin – why you shouldn’t go to graduate school.

On the other side of the coin, there are certain life paths that if you want to try, if you don’t have a PhD, you’re hosed. It’s like trying to be a doctor without a medical degree, they won’t let you do it. If you ever want to go the academic path, for example. And because it can take awhile, it’ll only get harder to get back into it as you get older.

Pedigree makes a difference. You have a good pedigree for a 24-year-old, but in Washington DC, for example, we have research contracts for work with the Defense Department and various branches of the government that want to support research. People like that, they don’t have time to evaluate the brains of every person that walks into the door. It’s a simplification for them to look at your degree, and guess what? A Bachelors degree outranks no degree, a Masters degree outranks a Bachelors degree, and a PhD is at the top. While Carnegie Mellon is good, in the top 5 of Computer Science schools and maybe in the top 10 of universities in general, that’s good, but… 10 years from now, a Bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon is still only a Bachelor’s degree. And a lot of people that may not be as smart as you might be kicking your butt by then and telling you what to do. You won’t look smarter than them on paper, and the highest ranks look to that before they look at anything else.

I’m telling you this because I’ve lived it. I was trying to be a professor but I didn’t have a PhD. People that ground through that boring 8 year slog don’t want somebody that doesn’t have a PhD to pass them.

It can be useful to have.

You’re also right that if you’ve proven yourself without having that degree, there’s a good chance that you’ll have the same problem I had. I’ve formed an opinion of you already – you’ve obviously got a lot of energy, you’re really talented, and you’ve had good ideas. You’ll get in conflicts with these guys. They can be ambitious, mean, powerful jerks. You’ll be subordinate to them. This is just a problem that you’ve got.

If you find the right place, a place that appreciates you, you obviously have a lot to offer. If you find the right place, you could earn your way through fairly quickly, while developing games, and getting paid for it. I’m not saying it’s easy to find this place. Though you could probably pick up a PhD without much pain if you invested a solid effort in finding the right place.

I certainly don’t mean to design your life…

CD: No worries, part of the value to me from our discussion today is that you’ve lived and worked through situations that may have some parallel to potential paths in my own life, and I’d be crazy to not learn what I can from your experiences.

WR: It would eat you alive if you found the wrong place. You don’t want to be bossed around by aggressive, slightly-older assistant professors – there’s typically a personality profile for these guys, and they will want to put you into their downstream chain. The most dangerous ones are the most powerful guys, they’ll do what they can to destroy your career within the school you’re with if you don’t do what they expect you to do. It could be really unpleasant if you try this and pick the wrong environment.

I think you have a model for the right kind of guy to work with, but unfortunately he’s dead [referring to Randy Pausch, former graduate school professor with the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, best known through his Last Lecture]. He was a nice guy, and really set out to help people.

If you’re seeing things that don’t seem as good as they can be in videogame related academia, that should look like an opportunity for you.

As another pro argument that I’ll give you – at the time that I went to work at Atari, I was a freshly minted Berkeley Masters in Computer Science. I was the best educated of any of the Atari game designers, out of the dozen. We weren’t a very impressive looking crew, visually or on paper. One guy had a degree in Zoology, and the pedigrees were spotty. Joe Decure went to Berkeley, and one of the system architects was around 50 and had a lot of experience in chip design so that’s all he needed, but the rest came from random places. By training and programming experience our skill was pretty mediocre on average.

CD: Of course their background couldn’t have been in videogame making, since the line of work didn’t exist even a couple of years before, right?

WR: It was a nutty job to take. There was no established path. I had taken a course at Berkeley from Ken Thompson, the guy that invented Unix. He was there as a visiting professor for one year, while I was there.

CD: Good timing.

WR: To my discredit, I had not the slightest interest in computer networking. Bill Joy, my classmate, and the later founder of Sun, saw the potential and hooked up with Ken Thompson to write VI, make Berkeley Unix, and became kind of famous in the Unix world. Meanwhile, what I learned from Ken Thompson was a bit about the language C, which was new at the time. C makes it easy to use pointer based data structures, in a way that wasn’t a common concept before it in Fortran or other programming languages. There were indexes in arrays but it wasn’t quite the same thing.

In Adventure, I used a pointer-based data structure for the rooms and objects to keep everything within the system’s limitations. It’s questionable – even doubtful – whether I could have done that if I didn’t have the exposure to C and thinking that way about data structures. Yes, I was in the right place at the right time, but I also had training to make the leap, and having gone to Berkeley for a year and a half of grad school to take ten courses in Computer Science made that possible.

CD: That rings a bell to John Carmack’s pulling in previously academic data structures to videogame development – he implemented binary search trees/partitions to cache hierarchies of room/sector visibility, optimize collision data, and so on.

WR: Sounds similar – the leap from academic insight to commercial industry application.

[At this point time it was getting late, and the last part of that discussion had occurred on a walk back to where I was parked.]

CD: I’ll certainly look more into it. Thanks for taking the time to meet up and answer some questions this evening, and for giving me new perspective and additional considerations about the possibility of grad school in my future.

WR: Of course! It’s been good talking to you this evening.

CD: Likewise! Thanks again.

You can find out more about Warren Robinett and his work at his website:
http://www.warrenrobinett.com/



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3 Comments

  1. […] Vol 7 Adv – Warren Robinett (Adventure for Atari 2600) […]

  2. […] not attend university. Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto went to school for industrial design. In my interview with Atari Adventure designer Warren Robinett, he mentioned that one of his early co-workers in the game industry, “had a degree in […]

  3. […] in a multi-year process of transitioning out of professional videogame development into research. Warren Robinett’s arguments for grad school sank in, and I’ll be starting at Georgia Tech in […]

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