(Sorted by role, revenue, and reviews)
Roles: Concept, Design, Level Design, Writing/Directing, Audio, Tools
"Fairway Solitaire" was the first game I Designed and Produced at Big Fish. The initial version was written in JAVA and it was part of our online game community known as "Atlantis". There were about 70 games on the site but Fairway quickly jumped to the top spot. (It was a Top Ten game for many years.)
We eventually made a PC version of Fairway (with a fantastic game developer named Jake Birkett) which got great reviews and sold very well. A few years later we launched mobile versions of the game and Fairway soon became one of the Top Grossing games in Apple's App Store.
Betrayal at Krondor
Roles: Designer, Producer
I was running Product Development at New World Computing when Jeff Tunnel approached me about being a Creative Lead at Dynamix. I'm a creative guy so I didn't really enjoy being a Director of Product Development and I jumped at the opportunity.
Jeff had been reading the Riftwar fantasy series by author Raymond E. Feist, and we both thought it would make a pretty good game, so I called Feist's agent and we eventually worked out a deal. I wanted to tell a new story in the Riftwar universe so I hired the best writer I knew, Neal Hallford, to help me. Together we hammered out a story and Neal did most of the writing and low level design, while I focused on the high level stuff, such as the combat system, the Wordlock chests, and other puzzles.
Defender of the Crown
Roles: Producer (w/ design contributions)
When I joined Cinemaware as employee #1, "Defender of the Crown" was already in progress. Thanks to the uber talented Jim Sachs, the art was outstanding, but the game wasn't really coming together on the code side, so one of my first responsibilities was to help President Bob Jacob find a new programmer. After a short search we flew to Northern California and interviewed one of the guys who invented the Amiga computer, R.J. Mical. He accepted the job and coded "Defender of the Crown" in 3 months.
NOTE: R.J. was very clear about having only 3 months to work on the game. When Designer Kellyn Beeck showed up at his door to drop off art or design documents R.J. didn't even let him in, he just had Kellyn slide things under the door. (R.J. was worried about distractions.) True to his word, he finished the game on time, even with my last minute call to change from real time to turn-based gameplay.
This particular game just sort of fell into my lap. I was pretty busy at Cinemaware working on numerous other projects when Bob Jacob walked into my office and said, "I want you to design a WWI flight simulator game. I've already got a guy who can program it."
I knew nothing about WW1 or flight simulators, so I wasn't very happy about my new assignment, but I drove to the library the next day (this was pre-Internet) to do some research. After I started reading about brave pilots such as Albert Ball, Rene Fonck, and the Red Baron himself, Manfred von Richthofen, I was completely hooked. You have to remember that the airplane had JUST been invented, and these young men were not only flying in these deathtraps, they were using them for aerial combat!
TV Sports: Football
Roles: Designer, Producer, Writer
I have lots of great childhood memories, but one of the most vivid is sitting at the table doing my homework while Dad watched "Monday Night Football" with Dandy Don Meredith and the inimitable Howard Cosell. After I finished, we would watch the game together. It was my love for MNF (and my Dad) that inspired me to create "TV Sports: Football."
Roles: Producer (w/ design contributions)
"Rocket Ranger" was a lot of fun and I think it was one of our better games at Cinemaware. The game was inspired by Bob Jacob's love for old movie serials like "Commander Cody" and "King of the Rocket Men".
Like many Cinemaware titles we focused on telling a cinematic story peppered with little minigames. In retrospect I think this was a mistake because it split our efforts and we were never able to give the gameplay sequences the time and attention they deserved.
I found a clip of the game on YouTube. I think my wife voiced our hero's love interest.
Dungeon Siege II
Roles: Boss & Economy Balance, Audio (Tech), Tools
"Dungeon Siege II" is a role-playing video game and is the sequel to 2002's popular "Dungeon Siege". It was developed by Gas Powered Games and released on August 16, 2005, one year delayed from original projections. (Not my fault.)
"A thousand years ago, the crusaders of Azunai crossed swords with the legions of Zaramoth in the final battle of a century-long rebellion. As the tyrannical god Zaramoth struck the final blow through Azunai’s trembling shield, the earth shook. In that moment, the forces of magic were unchained, and both armies were consumed in a brilliant cataclysm that stretched for leagues across the Plain of Tears. What fate will befall the Second Age of Man? The time for judgment is nigh."
Muppets Inside (The Muppet CD-ROM)
Roles: Designer, Producer (I helped with some of the writing)
The Muppets are trapped inside your computer and it's your job to rescue them! Dive inside "The Muppet CD-ROM: Muppets Inside", a hilarious "misadventure" that combines challenging gameplay with witty, offbeat Muppet humor. Enjoy seven Muppetized games: including the Swedish Chef's 3D FPS: "Kitchens of Doom" -- just don't get lost in the Carpal Tunnel! With "Muppets Inside" you'll meet the latest members of the Muppet Crew and discover over an hour of new audio and video footage, plus five new songs!
Roles: Designer, Producer, Writer, Level Designer, Audio
The doctor is in, with this madcap Match-3 game! Poor Mel has every ailment in the book, and you're the only one who can cure him.
Use your scanner to figure out whats got him this time, whether it's too much junk food, or some zany virus, and get to work. Make matching sets of medicines to dispel Mel's blues and bring him back to good health. Buy special remedies, like Big Fish Oil, from salesman Ed to aid your efforts. Help Mel get well now!
Might and Magic II
"Might and Magic II" is the second installment in the Might and Magic series, and a sequel to "Secret of the Inner Sanctum".
Core gameplay is similar to its predecessor, with the player creating a party of six characters and exploring vast first-person 3D environments, while fighting enemies in turn-based combat and leveling up. Unlike the first game, enemy encounters occur at set points rather than spawning randomly, though enemy type selection is still random.
The Three Stooges
Roles: Designer (w/ Bill Zielinski), Producer
Designers John Cutter and Bill Zielinski envisioned "The Three Stooges" as a kind of board game. The Stooges must save an orphanage by earning money in various minigames based on scenes from different films and shorts. These include a cracker-eating contest (based on Dutiful But Dumb) and a boxing contest (based on the short Punch Drunks).
Players select board squares and minigames by using a clever punching/slapping sequence -- a trademark of the Stooge's act. Each event takes up one in-game day - players have thirty in-game days to earn as much money as they can to save the orphanage. Named one of the top C-64 Adventure Games of all time.
TV Sports: Basketball
Roles: Designer (w/ Larry Irvin), Producer
The game features five-a-side basketball matches. Players can either play against computer (controlling the players or a coach) or with another person (in versus or cooperative mode). When playing the human could choose to control the same player during the whole match or the one currently in possession of the ball.
The game shows a vertical view and has no NBA license. The in-game perspective is from half-court. When the ball crosses half-court, a short cutscene plays showing the players running to the other side of the court as the game transitions to the opposing basket.
Roles: Designer, Programmer
"Poker Challenge" is an exciting new game that combines the best elements and excitement of high stakes poker, with the strategy of classic board and computer games like "Yahtzee", "Shanghai", and "Tetris".
As in poker, being successful at "Poker Challenge" involves an element of chance. Successful players must look at the cards with a keen eye, think strategically, and exercise patience in order to build high scoring plays. Winner of GameNet's "Puzzle Game of the Year".
Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon
"Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon" is a 1987 action adventure game developed and published by Cinemaware. It is set in a fantastical Arabian Nights-esque world. The player assumes the role of Sinbad the Sailor, and is commissioned by The Princess to rid the land of the Dark Prince.
Like many Cinemaware games, Sinbad draws its inspiration from Hollywood, with a large influence from films such as "Jason and the Argonauts" as well as the seven other Sinbad films made throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Star Rank Boxing
Twenty tough computer opponents await in this early boxing game. The fights include a range of hooks, jabs and cross-punches available, aimed to the head or body.
Before you start you must create your character, including his appearance and initial abilities, and choose one of five play styles. You can start off as a New Pro or a Contender - the latter option means tougher fights form the word go, but you start halfway up the rankings. A full training options is included, allowing you to work on your boxer's abilities to best prepare for the next fight. Named 1986's "Sports Game of the Year".
Roles: Designer, Producer, Level Designer, Audio
"Plunder!" is a puzzle game in which the player detonates mines in the water for two purposes. First, to free one's own pirate fleet from the minefield; and second, to sink merchant ships with the shrapnel.
The mines have three sizes. The largest-size mines detonate when clicked, and shrapnel then flies in the directions the mine pointed. If shrapnel hits other mines, their size increases. If a mine is already at the largest size, it explodes, often causing a chain reaction.
The King of Chicago
The player starts in Chicago with a small mafia-type mob and follows Al Capone in being the mob-king of the city. The goal of the game is to increase the size of one's gang in order to take over all mobster activity. The player must do this by a certain date in order to be included in the formation of the New York Syndicate.
The game features many mob activities, and as if that weren't enough, the player also has to stay one step ahead of the law and keep his girlfriend satisfied by catering to her whims and desires, or risk losing her. Like most early Cinemaware titles, this game featured polished graphics and innovative gameplay.
Lords of the Rising Sun
"Lords of the Rising Sun" is a 1989 video game by Cinemaware, released for the Amiga and other systems. Like the earlier "Defender of the Crown", it was a mix of map-based strategy and arcade-style mini games as the player, playing as one of the famous Japanese generals Yoshitsune or Yoritomo, fights to pacify Japan by force.
In the short documentary "The Total War Story", Mike Simpson, studio director for Creative Assembly, said that the company's "Total War" series of games had been influenced by "Lords of the Rising Sun".
On-Track: Computer Model Car Racing
Role: Designer & Programmer (w/ Ed Ringler), Level Designer
This is the very first game I ever worked on, professionally. The game was originally designed by Scott Orr and programmed by Ed Ringler, but when Ed left the company Gamestar asked me to step up and finish the code. It took me a long time, but I finished it.
Unfortunately, there was a pirated copy of some obscure tool (which I don't think we were even using) on the disk, and I didn't see it when we sent the disk out for duplication. To make matters worse, it was the very first file on the disk... so when you typed: load "*",8,1 to run the game, you got the pirated software instead. That was a costly mistake, but I learned a lot from it.
Role: Producer, Co-Designer (w/ Kellyn Beeck)
The game takes place in October 2017 – in a universe when the Soviet Union did not collapse in 1991. The game uses the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative (S.D.I.) as its plot device. True to its name, Cinemaware also looked to Hollywood for some inspiration of the storyline. The storyline is reminiscent of several secret agent movies (such as the 007 films "From Russia with Love" and "Moonraker").
The game assumes that both the USSR and the United States have their own version of S.D.I. protecting their respective nations. It is also mentioned that the Soviet station has laser cannons for defense against fighters.
"King's Bounty" is a turn-based fantasy computer and video game released by New World Computing in 1990. The game follows the player's character, a hero of King Maximus, appointed with the job of retrieving the Sceptre of Order from the forces of chaos, led by Arech Dragonbreath. "King's Bounty" is notably considered the forerunner of the "Heroes of Might and Magic" series of games.
A Mega Drive/Genesis port was developed and released in North America on February 21, 1991, with a multitude of graphical changes. The gameplay was also modified to incorporate real time overworld exploration.
"Planet's Edge" is a 1992 space science fiction role-playing video game developed by New World Computing. The game's plot centers on investigating the sudden disappearance of planet Earth, by venturing out into the universe from a moon base.
There are two main play modes: real-time exploration and combat using various spacecraft, and turn-based exploration, problem solving, and combat on the surface of dozens of planets. The game features a variety of objects, weapons, and missions, though it lacks any detailed experience or stats system for the four characters the player controls.
It Came from the Desert (Console)
Role: Designer, Producer
"It Came from the Desert" was initially launched as a 1989 action-adventure game for the Amiga, but it was later ported to the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and TurboGrafx-16, offering distinctly different gameplay from the versions released for computer platforms.
Like most of Cinemaware's titles, It Came From the Desert takes its inspiration from Hollywood. This game is inspired by dozens of 1950s "B" movies, especially the 1954 mutant-ant classic "Them!"
GBA Championship Basketball: Two-on-Two
Role: Designer (w/Scott Orr)
"GBA" was Activision's second best-selling Commodore game as of late 1987. Computer Gaming World praised the Commodore 64 version of GBA for improving on "One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird" by adding a full court, a teammate, and league play.
Most sports game at the time only featured a few teams for head-to-head play, so I believe I am the first game designer to add League Play to a sports game! My boss at the time, Scott Orr, initially said "no" to the idea, but I talked programmer Troy Lyndon into working on the game all weekend and we managed to sneak it in there. Scott wasn't happy, but he let us keep it!
Evander Holyfield "Real Deal" Boxing
aka "ABC Wide World of Sports: Boxing
aka "TV Sports: Boxing"
"Evander Holyfield ' Real Deal' Boxing" is based on "ABC Wide World Of Sports Boxing", a computer game released in 1991. The game allows for more than just boxing, letting players create, train, and manage their own fighters. Sportscaster Dan Dierdorf, then a boxing commentator for ABC, was featured in the game.
The game was known in the European market as "TV Sports: Boxing", part of Cinemaware's TV Sports series.
Role: Producer, Writer
Playing as Daphne, the unfortunate hostess ensnared by the enchanted "Mystic Inn", you serve all of the patrons in order to get magic to upgrade the inn. Once you have fully upgraded the establishment, the spell that locks Daphne within her confines can be broken. Five chapters with 50 levels take the user through the game with beautiful art and enthralling play, making "Mystic Inn" immersive and exciting. Play the potion building mini-game to create power-ups. Unlocking juggling frogs, a charming harp, your own take-out owl and other items make the game experience enriching.
"Azada" is an adventure-puzzle casual game developed by Big Fish Studios Europe.
"Azada's" main mechanic consists of escape-the-room puzzles reminiscent of adventure games of the 1990s such as Myst. The main mechanic is complemented by over 20 different mini-games. When playing escape-the-room puzzles, one must find objects hidden in the room, and then use them together or on other parts of the puzzle in order to create a logical chain of actions that ultimately leads to solving the puzzle. When playing minigames, each minigame comes with specific instructions. "Azada" features known mechanics such as mastermind and simon as well as new ones designed specifically for the game.
World Cup Soccer
World Cup Soccer presents three game types: exhibition, World Cup and two-player match (via the Gear-to-Gear cable). Options alter the difficulty level and match time.
Buttons pass and shoot when you’ve got the ball and tackle when you haven’t. Headers and overhead kicks are performed by striking the ball at the right angle in the air. If the scores are level at full-time, you go into a penalty shoot-out.
I honestly don't remember much about this game.
Howard the Duck
Your two best friends have been captured by a dark overlord! He is keeping them captive in an active volcano on a remote island and you've got to rescue them. As Howard the Duck, master of Quack Fu, you need to make your way through the maze-like landscapes, and jump or fight the many obstacles blocking the path. Quicksand, treacherous rivers, enemy mutants and more will all get in your way before you can finally parachute into the volcano and defeat the dark overlord! Loosely based on the movie of the same name rather than inspired by stories in the popular comic-book.
It was pretty awful, actually.
I also designed (or made major or minor contributions) to the following games:
- Return to Krondor
- Big Fish Slots
- Amen: The Awakening
- L.O.B.E. (Laboratory of Brain Enhancement)
- Riddle O' Day
- Diana Fortune and the Lost Temple of Gold
- Oz Video Poker
- Mahjong Towers Eternity
- Azada: Ancient Magic
- Travelogue 360: Paris
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown
- The Sims: Bustin' Out
- Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku
- Madame Libra
- Deuces Wilder
- Farm 51
- Farm 52
- Dive Deeper!
- Looking Glass
- Lightning Bingo
- SnowGlobe Slots
- Team Bingo
- Thunderbolt 21
- Suits Me Yukon
- Suits Me Tripeaks
- Suits Me Pyramid
- Suits Me Solitaire
- Suits Me Free Cell
- Suits Me Canfield
- Suits Me Spider Solitaire