Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Where are they now? - Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold



Back in 1993, First Person Shooters (FPSs) were still in their infancy and up until that point, Wolfenstein 3D, the grand-daddy of FPSs, was probably the best example of the genre. This would of course all change later that year with the release of Doom but shortly before its release, a company called JAM Productions completed a sci-fi FPS called Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold. The game was published by Apogee and the guys behind JAM Productions, Jim Row and Mike Maynard (hence the name of the company, "Jim and Mike" = "JAM"), got help from id Software with the engine (hence why it looks a lot like Wolfenstein 3D). The plot sounds like something out of a James Bond film (if it was set in 2140) and despite being similar to Wolfenstein 3D in many respects, it did have a couple of unique qualities, such as the ability to kill enemies with a silenced weapon and the fact you were awarded a higher score if you managed to not kill any "innocent" scientists on each level. The game sold exceptionally well on release but it was pretty much game over once Doom was released shortly after (honestly, how could you compete?).

Anyway, so what happened to Row and Maynard? Well JAM Productions didn't really last that long and the company was defunct by 1994 (well, at least Row left that year). Row continued to work as a software developer but JAM Productions would be the last company he worked for as a games developer. Row continued to work for several software companies for the rest of his career and now programs security solutions for Android devices in Texas.

Maynard on the other hand, continued to work in the games development industry and worked for companies like 7th Level and Ion Storm before eventually returning to a company he was very familiar with in 2005: id Software (of course). He still works at id Software to this day as a Senior Programmer on the next instalment of DOOM.

The composer for Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold had already composed music for id Software, including the music for Wolfenstein 3D. In fact, I've already published a "Where are they now?" article on this chap whose name is Robert "Bobby" Prince. Nothing much has changed since that article was posted, at least not to my knowledge, and the last thing that Prince worked on was the soundtrack to 2012's Wrack.

Happened to be part of the original Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold development team? Let us know, we'd love to hear your stories and anecdotes! :)

LINKS:
[ MobyGames: JAM Productions ]
[ Wikipedia: JAM Productions ]
[ MobyGames: Michael Maynard ]
[ MobyGames: James T. Row ]
[ MobyGames: Robert Prince ]
[ Wikipedia: Robert Prince ]
[ MobyGames: Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (DOS) ]
[ Wikipedia: Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold ]

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