How/why did you start programming NES games?
I was hired at Tengen in 1989. My first project there was to
convert Toobin' to the NES. I had learned 6502 assembly language
eight years earlier when I programmed Crystal Castles coin-op, so
the NES was right up my alley.
Was it hard to work under the NES units limitations?
It was at first, especially when given the task to port
a coin-op game like Toobin' which uses much more memory and many
more colors etc. Dave O'Riva and I basically redesigned the
game to make it fit into an NES cartridge.
Who came up with the idea for Krazy Kreatures?
That was me. I wanted to do an original game after porting Toobin'
and Ms. Pacman. I always liked puzzle games, especially Tetris,
so it seemed like it would be fun to invent a new one.
KK is my favourite puzzle game, and at the end of the game it says
"watch out for Krazy Kreatures 2". Was this game ever made or even
Well, yes and no. We wanted to design and develep a sequel but
American Video Entertainment had trouble selling their games
in large quantities and soon went under.
Why was Krazy Kreatures released by American Video Entertainment?
Didn't you work at Atari Games/Tengen?
Both Dave O'Riva and I left Tengen to form Bitmasters in mid 1990.
KK was our first game. It paid our bills for a few months while we
got started. Soon after we got a contract to port Rampart for the
NES, later published by Jaleco.
Is Krazy Kreatures freeware today (to be copied freely) or still
Well, copyrights are valid for 75 years here in the U.S., so I
would say that it's still copyrighted. The copyright probably
belongs to Macronix, the old parent company of AVE. But then again,
they might have sold it to someone.
Remember how many people who worked in Tengen's NES game department?
About 8 or so. Some of the Tengen NES games were developed outside.
Also, some projects never saw light of day (XYbots, Police Academy
Could you give me a complete list of the games you made or helped
making for the NES?
Sure: Toobin', Ms. Pacman, Krazy Kreatures, Rampart and Championship
Have you made any NES games which didnt get published?
no, somehow all my games always find a way to get published.
Do you know what Dave O'Riva is doing today?
He's working at Atari Games programming the N64.
Your new company, Actual Entertainment, has just released a new game
for the PC. What type of game is this?
Gubble is an action-strategy-puzzle game, reminiscent of the old
Crystal Castles. The sequel, Gubble II, is just now being released
(on September 26th). It's got more of a puzzle emphasis, with
less hand-eye coordination and more thinking required. As with
all my games it's non-violent and suitable for the entire family.
Would you want to make a game for the new videogame consoles like the
N64 and Playstation (or even Sega's Dreamscast) if you were asked to?
Yes I would, especially for Dreamcast!!! The hard part is getting
paid. I've found that it's very difficult to do original game
development and to get a publisher to pay for that development.
I've occasionally funded my own development (Gubble and Krazy
Kreatures) but then I need to go back to doing something that
makes me enough money to try again later.
Right now I'm doing 3D firmware development for a great
new startup company. It's not games, but I enjoy it and it pays
well. Meanwhile I'm getting all kinds of great game ideas. Now
if I only had the spare time to write all those games...