David Crane is a pioneer video game designer and computer programmer best known for his games for the Atari 2600 while at Activision in the early 1980s. Crane was born in 1953 in Nappanee, Indiana, United States. He graduated in 1975 with a bachelors degree of Science In Electrical Engineering from the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona and began designing circuits for National Semiconductor. Two years later, he began working at Atari as a game designer and programmer, but left in 1979 to co-found Activision where he created his most popular game Pitfall!, one of the first platformers. In 1987, Crane became the director of technology at Hasbro. In 1988, Crane co-founded Absolute Entertainment where he designed another popular title, A Boy and His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia. In 1995, Crane co-founded Skyworks Technologies. In 2009, Crane co-founded AppStar Games. Crane continues to be involved in the video game industry to this day. In addition to designing and programming games, Crane also designed two integrated circuits for video gaming.
My first experience with Crane's work was from his Atari titles and seeing his picture at the back of the Pitfall! manual. I think I recognized his name when I first played A Boy and His Blob, but I'm not positive. Although David Crane's games have been hit-or-miss throughout his career, I especially admire how creative his games have been, often including elements that were never seen before.
An empty rank means I haven't played the game enough to rank it, a dash means Crane's involvement isn't enough to count the game among his work.
David Crane has designed and programmed many other casual games for browsers and phones which are difficult to track. For a complete list see the gameography on his web site.
|Boggle (Unreleased)||1978-08-07||Entire Game|
|Slot Machine||1979-??-??||Entire Game||11|
|Fishing Derby||1980-??-??||Entire Game||5|
|Laser Blast||1981-??-??||Entire Game||8|
|Grand Prix||1982-??-??||Entire Game||7|
|The Activision Decathlon||1983-??-??||Entire Game|
|Pitfall II: Lost Caverns||1984-??-??||Entire Game|
|Little Computer People||1985-??-??||Programmer|
|The Transformers: Battle to Save the Earth||1986-??-??||Graphics||-|
|Skate Boardin'||1987-??-??||Entire Game|
|Super Skate Boardin'||1988-??-??||Entire Game|
|A Boy and His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia||1989-??-??||Designer, Programmer||1|
|The Rescue of Princess Blobette||1990-??-??||Designer, Programmer|
|The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants||1991-02-??||Additional Programming||-|
|Bart Simpson's Escape From Camp Deadly||1991-11-??||Additional Design, Additional Programming||-|
|The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World||1991-12-??||Designer, Programmer|
|Amazing Tennis||1992-10-??||Designer, Programmer||4|
|Toys (Video Game)||1993-??-??||Producer, Designer, Programmer|
|Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit||1994-11-??||Designer|
|March of the Penguins||2006-11-??||Designer|
- youtube.com/watch?v=MBT1OK6VAIU - Pitfall! postmortem.
- youtube.com/watch?v=fr-t9plOkHY - International Magic of the Atari 2600, 2015.
- youtube.com/watch?v=h4rU9BjLOE0 - Stella at 20.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Crane_(programmer) - Wikipedia.
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,24639 - MobyGames.
- dcrane.com - Official Home Page.
- atarimagazines.com/hi-res/v1n2/davidcrane.php - Atari Magazines Interview.
- gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=7412 - Gamasutra Interview.