I use my Mac for creating games

We interview gaming legend Mark Stephen Pierce, who thinks the iPhone is a game-changer.

MacFormat: What’s your Mac history?
Mark Pierce: I co-founded MacroMind, where I co-designed VideoWorks, which became Director. I remember my partners there waiting in line at an Apple store for the 128k Mac to come out! I held onto my Macs way into the 1990s, by which time I was at Atari so I had to abandon them.

MF: Before then, you created the classic Mac game Dark Castle – how did that come about?
MP: I was asked to create a game by Silicon Beach, and I suggested a medieval theme because I knew it’d sell well. Our meeting was one of the most inspired days I’ve ever had – they had this flip chart and I literally drew out the entire game on the fly. After then, I’d mail the programmer mock-ups in MacPaint and animations in VideoWorks, and we did the game in six months. The programmer was Jonathan Gay, who invented Flash!

MF: How does today’s creative environment compare to then?
MP: The energy around the Mac back then – which showed a different way to everyone – is similar to what I’m seeing today in the iPhone and iPad. Likewise, I worked in a wonderful environment at Atari for 15 years, with small teams creating innovative games, and that’s now back in the form of the App Store. The iPhone’s been a godsend for me – you don’t have a publisher telling you what you can do, and the people buying games are the only filter. The iPhone’s a game-changer, and it brought me back to Apple. All our games are designed on Macs.

MF: What games are you working on?
We recently released maze puzzle game Ace Yeti Trapper. There’s also Star*Burst, an evolution of my Atari game Klax. Gems march towards you and must be flipped upwards and matched. When updating the game, we inverted the playfield so it works on the iPhone, and encourages people to make patterns in the gem pit by awarding collectable cards that can be posted to Facebook. I’m hoping to get Dark Castle into production for iPhone; I like its side-on view and puzzles. But it was brutal, so it’ll be a redesign that won’t be so tough! ●


This interview originally appeared in issue 221 of MacFormat, the UK’s best selling Apple magazine.
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