Dev Credits In Arcade Default High Scores

Waxy points us to a post on the blog The History Of How We Play (at, natch) explaining the practice of arcade game developers putting their initials on the default vanity boards of arcade machines, as some small way of getting their names into a public piece of software they had created, at a time when many companies tried to keep that knowledge secret. As the article says, this process slowly receded, as both arcade games relied less on high score chasing for their appeal, and as arcade games began to get actual credit sequences for players to see.

A few of their many screenshots:

Missile Command. Dave Theurer’s star shined so brightly for awhile.
Missile Command was a framebuffer game, which explains how the initials could be out of alignment with the letters of “HIGH SCORES” above them.
The two main people responsible for creating Centipede aren’t even at the top of the list, DCB is Dona Bailey (one of the very few woman’s names on the list) and ED is Ed Logg.
Atari’s Quantum was created at GCC by Betty Tylko, one of the other woman’s names. The fancy cursive “Betty” is because Quantum, being a vector trackball game, let you use it to draw your name into the first place score, something that would never happen today because some people would not be able to resist drawing a dong.

Arcade Authorship – High Score Table Credits

Lost Ed Logg Developed Prototype of Millipede for Famicom Found

If you dig around the forums of AtariAge, sometimes there are wonders to be found.

It’s been known for a while that three classic-era Atari arcade games were produced by HAL for the Famicom and NES: Defender II a.k.a. Stargate, Millipede, and Joust. Nicole Express recently did her typically excellent job discussing them and what makes them interesting. Such as, among other things: they use music that was later reused in NES Punch-Out!!, they are subtly different between their Famicom and NES versions, Satoru Iwata may have personally worked on them, and they were developed as part of Nintendo’s pitch to Atari to have them distribute the NES in the United States.

Something that one might overlook reading the article, however, is the news that this isn’t the only version of Millipede made for the Famicom hardware. As an in-house project at Atari Games/Tengen, Ed Logg himself implemented Millipede for it, before they discovered that the publishing rights in the US resided with the other Atari, the one that got bought by Jack Tramiel.

The source was recently found on a backup tape from Atari, and hand-assembled. The resulting rom file can be downloaded from the AtariAge thread on it. It has no sound, because that hasn’t been implemented yet, the colorful alternate palettes of the arcade version are missing, there are some bugs (I mean program bugs, not enemies), and the DDT Bomb objects hadn’t been put in yet, but a lot of the game is still there. There are even multiplayer modes, supporting up to four players playing alternating or simultaneously! It’s especially interesting since Ed Logg assisted Centipede’s creator Dona Bailey in creating the original game.