Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Where are they now? - David Perry

David Perry. Founder and President of Shiny Entertainment

For this week's "Where are they now?" I've picked a guy mainly for his involvement with a really old (and slightly obscure) game called Overlord or Supremacy: Your Will Be Done. He in fact did quite a bit since this 1990 game was released but let us start at the beginning and work our way to the present shall we? Let's talk about prominent (and probably very wealthy) game developer, David Perry.

David Perry was born in Northern Ireland in 1967 and at the young age of 15 started writing computer game programming books for the Sinclair ZX81 platform. His first game was a driving game, which involved "a black blob avoiding other black blobs", which was published in a magazine. He sent the magazine more games and they eventually sent him a cheque for £450 - not bad for a teenager without a bank account! He was eventually making £3,500/year and when he was 17 he moved to London to work for Mikro-Gen and Probe Software, mainly on conversions of games.

As mentioned earlier, Perry (and Nick Bruty) were behind a primitive real-time strategy game called Overlord (in the U.S., Supremacy: Your Will Be Done elsewhere). While it doesn't seem much by today's standards I quite enjoyed the game at the time, terraforming and developing worlds while at the same time ensuring to upgrade my defence force for the inevitable encounter with alien forces. Anyway this would be one of his last games while working in London since in 1991 he made the big move to the U.S.A., working for the American division of Virgin Games and overseeing development of many console games.

In 1993 he founded one of the most respected development studios of the 1990s and 2000s: Shiny Entertainment. The studio was responsible for the critically acclaimed franchises Earthworm Jim and MDK where Perry provided additional programming on the Earthworm Jim games and acted as a producer for 1997's MDK. Shiny Entertainment would release a couple of other unorthodox PC games in 2000 called Sacrifice and Messiah and the company was sold to Atari for $47 million two years later.

In 2008, Perry received an honourary doctorate from the Queen's University Belfast for services to the computer gaming industry. It was also later this same year that he co-founded a company in the Netherlands called Gaikai, a company that developed video game streaming technology allowing for games to run in any browser or internet connected device. Gaikai was acquired by Sony in 2012 for $380 million but as far as I know, he still works there (so he has gone to the dark, console side of gaming - boooooo! :P). Oh well at least he's still involved in the gaming industry, right? Maybe he'll come back to the world of PC gaming one day. Hopefully :).

LINKS
[ Wikipedia: David Perry ]
[ MobyGames: David Perry ]
[ David Perry's Blog ]

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