Dennis spent more than a decade at Atari Games, producing a creative and successful line of titles. He was was Designer, Programmer and Producer, all-in-one (but we all were). He was part of the team that invented the video game industry.
That was a magical time, and he still lists his long time Atarian friends amongst his closest. The designers of Asteroids, Centipede, Battle Zone, Gratvitar, Missile Command... all are still great friends. These are still some of the most creative people I know.
Street Fighter II meets Jurassic Park!
My hit creation, Primal Rage, had a huge following. The title spawned dozens of markets for ancillary merchandise; board games, books, apparel, even shoes!
Toy company Playmates created an entire line of action figures based on the Primal Rage dinosaurs. The total revenues for IP licensing and platform conversion totaled over $40MM.
I received a software patent for a proprietary stop-motion animation processing technique we developed.
5,519,826 – “Stop motion Animation System”
Our heroes, Biff and Jett, set off to have some fun Toobin' down the rapids. But things start to get really weird. Soon, the river branches into the Amazon Jungle, the Nile River and other rivers of legend. The boys go from avoiding snags in the current to fending off everything from aliens to fire breathing dragons.
Toobin' was a huge cult sensation, and I still get comments today on what an impression it made on early arcade players.
RETURN OF THE JEDI
One of my first games, Return of the Jedi was developed in partnership with Lucasfilm. It was presented in the isometric view so popular at the time, and recently resurrected by Zynga.
Jedi was developed in record time with a hard deadline of meeting the movie's premiere. Darth Vader was seen playing the game in the lobby during the sneak preview.
This was the beginning of my love affair with Motocross Racing. This game featured a full ride-on simulator that jumped, bumped and leaned into turns. This taught me a lot about force-feedback algorithms.
This game was a blast to program and super fun to develop!
I also recieved 2 additional software patents for this game.
5,364,271 – “Bicycle and Motorcycle Riding Simulation System”
5,299,810 – “Vehicle Simulation including Cross-Network Feedback”
INDIANA JONES and
THE TEMPLE OF DOOM
For Indy, I provided all the programming for the music system. I actually took the John Williams complete orchestral scores and transcribed them into a 7 voice arrangements, suitable for our new Yamaha DX synthesizer chip.
The underlying music drivers and transcription system were subsequently used in all Atari arcade games through the 80's.
I am a professional part-time musician and majored in Music in college, so this was great fun for me.