Author's Note: This is the story of the discovery and development of one of the most
successful computer games of all time, Shanghai (some of you may know it
as Taipei). If your interested in where computer games come from, and you
like human interest stories, you will enjoy reading this.
This story, plus many others, can be
found in two of Brad's books,
Way - Stories of Seizing the Moment While Creating the Games Millions Play,
Shovel Full - Telling Stories to Change Beliefs, Attitudes, and Perceptions.
This is how I met Brodie Lockard, and ended up producing one of the most
successful software programs in the world. At the time I was a software
producer for Activision, actually Director of Entertainment Software. On
a sunny day in July, 1985, I got a call from Carathea Coleman,VP of Personal
for a non-competitive software company. We liked each other and often shared
tips on good people.
"Brad, you need to meet this young programmer who works over at Stanford
University. I talked with him, and was very impressed. I'd use him myself,
if I could get him away from Stanford, but there's slim hope of that."
She knew that I often worked with creative programmers who had "day
jobs," something she wasn't able to do.
"If your recommending him, I'll give him a call. Thanks for the tip."
I called Brodie at work immediately, and made arrangements to have breakfast
with him the next morning.
"We'll have to choose a restaurant that can handle my wheelchair."
"How about Stickney's at Town & Country Center in Palo Alto?"
"I've eaten there. That's perfect."
"Eight O'clock to early for you?" I asked.
"I can be there."
"See you tomorrow morning then."
I hung up the phone and promptly forgot about it. I mean it...I forgot the
I almost always kept my appointments. But this time I forgot, and wasn't
reminded of it until that afternoon when I got a call from Brodie.
"Brad, did I get the wrong day? I was at Stickney's this morning until
nine...you never showed."
There was a long phase as I digested this. Did I really forget that appointment?
You bet I had, I was very embarrassed.
"Brodie, what can I say? I forgot. I don't know why, but I forgot.
"It was a great inconvenience. It isn't easy for me to get out that
early. I don't like to do it for nothing."
He wasn't going to let me off of the hook easily, and I didn't blame him.
"I'm very embarrassed, and honestly sorry. Is there something I could
do to make up for it?"
Silence on the other end of the line.
"Could I come and see you right now. Drop what I'm doing and come right
over. Will that work for you?"
Finally, he said, "I guess that would work. How soon can you be here?"
"You're at Stanford University...I can be there in 20 minutes."
"Make it half an hour. I'll meet you in front of the Meyer library.
Do you know where that is?"
"Sure do! See you in half an hour."
I hung up the phone, and was on my way.