Legendary David Crane Forms New Studio ‘AppStar Games’

If you’re a long-time gamer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of David Crane.

Widely considered to be one of the most influential video game creators to have ever laid down code, Crane is responsible for some truly groundbreaking classics. Among his more notable creations are Pitfall! (the first platform game), Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, Ghostbusters and Little Computer People. Another of his creations you may have heard of is a little game publishing and development house known as Activision. Very recently, he was honored by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences who, later this month, will present him with its first Pioneer Award, which recognizes videogaming visionaries who paved the way in the industry’s early days.

Last week, Crane issued a press release announcing the creation of a new game studio, AppStar Games, a joint venture with noted game developer Garry Kitchen. AppStar will focus on “small footprint" games for connected devices, the iPhone being among the studio’s targeted platforms.

“Garry and I have worked together on a number of successful ventures over the years, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for investors and stakeholders. We’re very excited about the dramatic shift that is occurring in the game industry with the advent of direct-to- consumer distribution of our titles. AppStar Games is committed to taking a leadership role in that transition by delivering the highest quality product in the marketplace”, said Crane, CTO of AppStar.

Crane and Kitchen leave behind Skyworks Interactive, which they co-founded in 1995, that has been focused heavily on the iPhone platform since the App Store opened in 2008, with a notable number of releases including the very successful Arcade Bowling and Arcade Hoops Basketball.

AppStar Games expects to publish its first game titles in Q2 of this year, but is priming the pump with a few reference app releases that — while not actually games — may be of extreme interest to retro gaming fans.

AppStar has just released the second app in Crane’s Technical Wizardry Series, entitled Dragster Magic [App Store]. It details the extremely obscure technical tricks that were used to make Activision’s first game release, Dragster for the Atari 2600 / VCS, possible. This comes on the heels of the release of the initial volume of the series, 2600 Magic [App Store], which seeks to explain the highly bizarre (by today’s standards) internal video circuitry of the Atari 2600 console. Both titles are comprised mainly of text and static graphics, but there are animations and interactive elements in some areas. Crane designed and programmed both iPhone releases himself, and more volumes are on the way.

We’re quite anxious to see what the new studio has in store. Stay tuned.