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David Crane Gameography
NameDavid Crane
Born1953
Nappanee, Indiana
United States
OccupationDesigner
Programmer
Co-Founder
Known ForCompanies
Co-founder of Activision
Co-founder of Absolute Entertainment

Games
Pitfall!
A Boy and His Blob
Years active1978-1997

David Crane - Gameography

David Crane is a video game designer and programmer who is best known for creating Pitfall! and A Boy and His Blob.  Crane began his career in hardware design with National Semiconductor before starting his programming career at Atari.

Crane obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1975 from the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona.   His electrical engineering education and experience in hardware design at National Semiconductor greatly helped with programming games for the Atari 2600 as he had a better understanding of the fundamental hardware components found in the console.  Understanding the consoles chipset allowed for him to get more out of the system to create more detailed and complex games.

While at Atari he created a few games but grew dissatisfied with the company due to how they were treating their programmers.  The programmers at Atari became disgruntled with the company for not crediting game developers or compensating them for games that sold well. Many of Atari’s programmers decided to leave the company to form their own independent software companies. Four of Atari’s top programmers David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead left Atari in late 1979 to form their own software company. On October 1st, 1979 Activision was founded by Jim Levy, Richard Muchmore and the four ex-Atari programmers.

Activision became the world’s first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles. Before Activision, games for home consoles were published exclusively by the makers of the systems. Since the four programmers at Activision already had much experience with the Atari VCS their first products were cartridge games for the Atari VCS console. Activision titles quickly became more popular than those of Atari’s itself resulting in Atari trying to block 3rd party development for their console in court but failed.

Crane spent 7 years at Activision creating games such as Dragster, Freeway, Grand Prix, Pitfall!, Ghostbusters and Transformers: The Battle to Save the Earth.  Pitfall! in particular became a massive success for Activision selling over 4 million copies on the Atari 2600 and is the second best-selling game for the Atari 2600 after Pac-Man.

In 1986, he decided to leave Activision due to not sharing the same vision for the company as the newly appointed CEO, Bruce Davis.  Crane co-founded Absolute Entertainment with Garry Kitchen, a video game publishing company with its own in-house development studio, Imagineering.  Crane continued to be involved with the development of video games with Imagineering designing A Boy and His Blob, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World and David Crane’s Amazing Tennis. 

In 1995, Garry Kitchen and David Crane founded another company Skyworks Technologies where Crane took on the role of Chief Technical Officer stepping away from his direct involvement in game design and programming.   In the third quarter of 1995, Absolute Entertainment went bankrupt and suspended operations and laid off most of its staff.  Since Kitchen had already formed a new company with David Crane called Skyworks Technologies, some of the employees transitioned to the new company.

Known For:

Pitfall! Postmortem with David Crane - GDC 2011

 

GameSpot

GameSpot is all about video games and the gamers that love them. They live, eat, breathe and probably do lots of other things with video games that shouldn’t be allowed in polite society.

Pitfall Classic Postmortem With David Crane Panel at GDC 2011 (Atari 2600)
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  • Special Thanks

DateBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRoleGenre
1978Boggle Atari 2600 BoxBoggle (unreleased)Atari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerWord Game
1978Outlaw Atari 2600 BoxOutlawAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerShooter
1979Canyon Bomber Atari 2600 BoxCanyon BomberAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerAction
1979Slot Machine Atari 2600 BoxSlot MachineAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerSimulation
1980Dragster BoxDragsterAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerRacing
1980Fishing Derby BoxFishing DerbyAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerSports
Fishing
1981Laser Blast BoxLaser BlastAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerShoot 'em up
1981Freeway BoxFreewayAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerAction
1981Grand Prix BoxGrand PrixAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerRacing
1981Kaboom BoxKaboom!Atari 2600ActivisionActivisionGraphicsAction
1982Barnstorming BoxBarnstormingAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAction
1982Pitfall BoxPitfall!Atari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
1983The Activision DecathlonThe Activision DecathlonAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
1984Pitfall II - Lost Caverns BoxPitfall II: Lost CavernsAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Audio
Platformer
1984Ghostbusters Commodore 64 BoxGhostbustersCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Action-Adventure
1985Little Computer People BoxLittle Computer PeopleCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Simulation
1985Hacker BoxHackerAtari ST
Atari 8-bit
Amiga
DOS
ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAdventure
1986Transformers Battle to Save The Earth BoxTransformers: The Battle to Save the EarthCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesignerAction RPG
1987Skate Boardin' BoxSkate Boardin'Atari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1988Super Skate Boardin' BoxSuper Skateboardin'Atari 7800ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1989A Boy and His Blob - Trouble on Blobolonia BoxA Boy and His Blob: Trouble on BloboloniaNintendo Entertainment SystemImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1990The Rescue of Princess Blobette BoxThe Rescue of Princess BlobetteGame BoyImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1991The Simpsons - Bart vs. the Space Mutants BoxThe Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space MutantsNintendo Entertainment System
Commodore 64
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAcclaimProgrammerPlatformer
1991The Simpsons Bart vs. the World BoxThe Simpsons: Bart vs. the WorldNintendo Entertainment SystemImagineeringAcclaimDesignerAction Platformer
1991Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly BoxBart Simpson's Escape from Camp DeadlyGame BoyImagineeringAcclaimProgrammerAction Platformer
1992David Crane's Amazing Tennis BoxDavid Crane's Amazing TennisSuper Nintendo
Sega Genesis
Absolute EntertainmentAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Tennis
1992Super Battletank War in the Gulf BoxSuper Battletank: War in the GulfGame Boy
Game Gear
Super Nintendo
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentSpecial ThanksSimulation
1993Toys BoxToysSuper Nintendo
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Producer
Action
1994Pitfall The Mayan Adventure BoxPitfall: The Mayan AdventureGBA
Genesis
SNES
Sega CD
Atari Jaguar
ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAction
1994Home Improvement BoxHome Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!Super NintendoImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesignerAction Platformer
1994Night Trap BoxNight TrapSega CDDigital PicturesSegaProgrammerInteractive Movie
1996SPQR The Empire's Darkest Hour BoxSPQR: The Empire's Darkest HourWindowsCyberSitesGT InteractiveAdviceHistorical Puzzle Adventure
1997Klondike Sega Channel Title ScreenKlondikeSega ChannelSkyworks TechnologiesSegaDesignerCard Game
2002Activision Anthology BoxActivision AnthologyPlayStation 2Barking LizardsActivisionSpecial ThanksCompilation
2006March of the Penguins BoxMarch Of The PenguinsGame Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Skyworks TechnologiesDestination SoftwareDesignerAction
2006Activision Hits Remixed BoxActivision Hits RemixedPSPBackbone VancouverActivisionSpecial ThanksCompilation
2008Arcade Bowling BoxArcade BowlingNintendo DSiSkyworks TechnologiesSkyworks InteractiveDesignerSports
2013GhostControl Inc. BoxGhostControl Inc.WindowsbumblebeeApplication Systems Heidelberg SoftwareSpecial ThanksStrategy

DateBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRoleGenre
1980Dragster BoxDragsterAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerRacing
1980Fishing Derby BoxFishing DerbyAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerSports
Fishing
1981Laser Blast BoxLaser BlastAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerShoot 'em up
1981Freeway BoxFreewayAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerAction
1981Grand Prix BoxGrand PrixAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesignerRacing
1982Pitfall BoxPitfall!Atari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
1983The Activision DecathlonThe Activision DecathlonAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
1984Pitfall II - Lost Caverns BoxPitfall II: Lost CavernsAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Audio
Platformer
1984Ghostbusters Commodore 64 BoxGhostbustersCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Action-Adventure
1985Little Computer People BoxLittle Computer PeopleCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Simulation
1986Transformers Battle to Save The Earth BoxTransformers: The Battle to Save the EarthCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesignerAction RPG
1987Skate Boardin' BoxSkate Boardin'Atari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1988Super Skate Boardin' BoxSuper Skateboardin'Atari 7800ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1989A Boy and His Blob - Trouble on Blobolonia BoxA Boy and His Blob: Trouble on BloboloniaNintendo Entertainment SystemImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1990The Rescue of Princess Blobette BoxThe Rescue of Princess BlobetteGame BoyImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1991The Simpsons Bart vs. the World BoxThe Simpsons: Bart vs. the WorldNintendo Entertainment SystemImagineeringAcclaimDesignerAction Platformer
1992David Crane's Amazing Tennis BoxDavid Crane's Amazing TennisSuper Nintendo
Sega Genesis
Absolute EntertainmentAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Tennis
1993Toys BoxToysSuper Nintendo
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Producer
Action
1994Home Improvement BoxHome Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!Super NintendoImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesignerAction Platformer
1997Klondike Sega Channel Title ScreenKlondikeSega ChannelSkyworks TechnologiesSegaDesignerCard Game
2006March of the Penguins BoxMarch Of The PenguinsGame Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Skyworks TechnologiesDestination SoftwareDesignerAction
2008Arcade Bowling BoxArcade BowlingNintendo DSiSkyworks TechnologiesSkyworks InteractiveDesignerSports

DateBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRoleGenre
1978Boggle Atari 2600 BoxBoggle (unreleased)Atari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerWord Game
1978Outlaw Atari 2600 BoxOutlawAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerShooter
1979Canyon Bomber Atari 2600 BoxCanyon BomberAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerAction
1979Slot Machine Atari 2600 BoxSlot MachineAtari 2600AtariAtariProgrammerSimulation
1982Pitfall BoxPitfall!Atari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
1983The Activision DecathlonThe Activision DecathlonAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
1984Pitfall II - Lost Caverns BoxPitfall II: Lost CavernsAtari 2600
Atari 5200
ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Audio
Platformer
1984Ghostbusters Commodore 64 BoxGhostbustersCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Action-Adventure
1985Little Computer People BoxLittle Computer PeopleCommodore 64ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Simulation
1987Skate Boardin' BoxSkate Boardin'Atari 2600ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1988Super Skate Boardin' BoxSuper Skateboardin'Atari 7800ActivisionActivisionDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Skateboarding
1989A Boy and His Blob - Trouble on Blobolonia BoxA Boy and His Blob: Trouble on BloboloniaNintendo Entertainment SystemImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1990The Rescue of Princess Blobette BoxThe Rescue of Princess BlobetteGame BoyImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Platformer
Puzzle
1991The Simpsons - Bart vs. the Space Mutants BoxThe Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space MutantsNintendo Entertainment System
Commodore 64
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAcclaimProgrammerPlatformer
1991Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly BoxBart Simpson's Escape from Camp DeadlyGame BoyImagineeringAcclaimProgrammerAction Platformer
1992David Crane's Amazing Tennis BoxDavid Crane's Amazing TennisSuper Nintendo
Sega Genesis
Absolute EntertainmentAbsolute EntertainmentDesigner
Programmer
Sports
Tennis
1994Night Trap BoxNight TrapSega CDDigital PicturesSegaProgrammerInteractive Movie

DateBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRoleGenre
1981Kaboom BoxKaboom!Atari 2600ActivisionActivisionGraphicsAction
1996SPQR The Empire's Darkest Hour BoxSPQR: The Empire's Darkest HourWindowsCyberSitesGT InteractiveAdviceHistorical Puzzle Adventure

DateBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRoleGenre
1982Barnstorming BoxBarnstormingAtari 2600ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAction
1985Hacker BoxHackerAtari ST
Atari 8-bit
Amiga
DOS
ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAdventure
1992Super Battletank War in the Gulf BoxSuper Battletank: War in the GulfGame Boy
Game Gear
Super Nintendo
Sega Genesis
ImagineeringAbsolute EntertainmentSpecial ThanksSimulation
1994Pitfall The Mayan Adventure BoxPitfall: The Mayan AdventureGBA
Genesis
SNES
Sega CD
Atari Jaguar
ActivisionActivisionSpecial ThanksAction
2002Activision Anthology BoxActivision AnthologyPlayStation 2Barking LizardsActivisionSpecial ThanksCompilation
2006Activision Hits Remixed BoxActivision Hits RemixedPSPBackbone VancouverActivisionSpecial ThanksCompilation
2013GhostControl Inc. BoxGhostControl Inc.WindowsbumblebeeApplication Systems Heidelberg SoftwareSpecial ThanksStrategy