When I was growing up, thanks to Activision and others I started to look for the name of my favorite game designers – like David Crane, Garry Kitchen, and of course Howard Scott Warshaw. Howard was responsible for three incredible games for Atari back in 1982 – starting in May of that year with Yars’ Revenge, a game that I mentioned on the Star Castle podcast. In November of ’82 he delivered a puzzle and adventure game adaptation for Raiders of the Lost Ark and followed it with the unfairly maligned E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in December. While I’ve read online that his first game was the highest selling cartridge for Atari of all time – I have also seen where it has been stated that each of his games have sold over a million copies – which is astounding to say the least. While I have always quite enjoyed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game I will admit that I do feel it has a steep learning curve – in addition it happens to be the first game where I accidentally found an Easter Egg. I found this great quote on the Wikipedia page for the 2600 game by the way, credited to “Core Memory“.
“People worry I might be sensitive about the ET debacle, but the fact is I’m always happy to discuss it. After all, it was the fastest game ever done, it was a million seller, and of the thousands of 2600 games, how many others are still a topic? Another thing I like to think about is having done ET (consistently rated among the worst games of all time) and Yars’ Revenge (consistently rated as one of the best) I figure I have the unique distinction of having the greatest range of any game designer in history.”
If you would like to learn a little more about Warshaw’s days at Atari – plus see a moving justification for his career in video games, I would recommend you check out Atari: Game Over.
Which brings us back to the subject of this article, when Howard Scott Warshaw was a guest on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. If you are familiar with the animated ‘talk show’ format of the series – you know that often Space Ghost is asking a question that is different than what the guest had been asked. Which naturally could lead to humorous and downright confusing responses from the guest at times, which was part of the charm of the show I suppose. And with Howard Scott Warshaw as the guest there is more confusion on Space Ghost’s part than normal as he is under the impression that he is going to be talking to Willard Scott!