April 15/12

Eugene Jarvis

If you played video games in the early 80s, Eugene Jarvis likely influenced you. He co-developed the hit video games Defender(1980), Stargate(1981) and Robotron(1982). According to Joystik magazine, Defender was more popular than Pac-Man in 1981. I believe it - although nowadays, I think Pac-Man is better remembered.

Looking at the video games of today, I can't explain how fascinating they were back then. In the arcade culture of the early '80s, I was right there. I played Defender and Robotron, plus half a dozen others.

Back then, a counter culture surrounded video games. Arcades were the natural theatre where that culture played. Nowadays, video games are mainstream. I don't even know of any arcades any more. The games on your home computer are so good, why would you go out? In the early 80s, very few people had a computer at home - and the home computers weren't as good for games as the dedicated arcade machines, anyway.

I'm not a gamer any more. My kids have a Wii, but I don't play it. Today's games comprise much more visual stimulation than when I was a kid; they're not as simple and direct as in the days of Pac-Man and Defender. My kids are used to it, having never known the games from before.

Jarvis is still involved in video game design. He's young: he was born in 1955.

Thanks, Eugene, for many hours of enjoyment in my formative years. Moreover, you made computers my friends.

Wikipedia was a source for this article.

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