Codex Gamicus
David Crane
Biographical Information
Date of Birth
Absolute Entertainment
United StatesUnited States

David Crane (born 1953 in Nappanee, Indiana, United States) is a video game designer and programmer.

Crane started his programming career at Atari, making games for the Atari 2600. After meeting co-worker Alan Miller in a tennis game, Miller told Crane about a plan he had to leave Atari and found a company that would give game designers more recognition. From this meeting, Crane left Atari in 1979 and co-founded Activision, along with Miller, Jim Levy, Bob Whitehead, and Larry Kaplan. His games won many awards while he was at Activision. At Activision, he was best known as the designer of Pitfall!, a game that stayed at the top of the chartsTemplate:Which for 64 weeks.[citation needed]

Crane maintained that the Atari policy of relying on mangled adaptations of arcade games would result in a glut of cheap, unappealing games, which became one of the contributing factors to the Video Game Crash of 1983. He believed instead that tailoring new games to the strengths and weaknesses of the 2600 machine would have yielded positive results. The reasoning was that while the new games would have lacked the instant-promotion of an already-known name, word of mouth among video gamers, being a young and highly-social group, would have gradually made up for it if the game was good.[citation needed]

In 1986, Crane left Activision to co-found Absolute Entertainment with Garry Kitchen. The two of them left mainly because of Jim Levy's departure, and the way the newly appointed CEO of Activision, Bruce Davis, treated video games more like commodities rather than creative products. Although Crane worked for Absolute, he did all of his programming at his home in California. With Absolute, he was known for Amazing Tennis and A Boy and His Blob, a successful NES title following the adventures of the protagonist and his companion, a shape-shifting blob. In 1995, Absolute Entertainment was dissolved.[citation needed]

In 1995, Crane co-founded Skyworks Technologies, and is the organization's Chief Technical Officer.

His last known game is March of the Penguins, an educational puzzle released for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS in 2006. He worked as the game designer on the project and was also involved in the art-direction.

In 2012, Crane launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund his own game called Jungle Adventure on Kickstarter. It failed to reach the goal and the game didn't go into production.

Selected titles[]

Year Title Company
1978 Outlaw Atari
1979 Canyon Bomber Atari
1981 Freeway Activision
1982 Pitfall! Activision
1984 Pitfall II: Lost Caverns Activision
1984 Ghostbusters Activision
1985 Little Computer People Activision
1989 A Boy and His Blob Absolute Entertainment
1990 The Rescue of Princess Blobette Absolute Entertainment
1994 Night Trap Digital Pictures

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