Raph Koster’s First Game

Raph Koster has posted a video of footage from the first game he ever wrote to YouTube:

As he explains on his blog, he was inspired to write the game mostly by his forays into board game design:

You also get to see a glimpse of what was my real bootcamp in game design. It wasn’t the videogames. Frankly, I wasn’t a good enough programmer to make great games, really, and so a lot of the games were clone-like in a lot of ways. A truly ridiculous amount of them consist of nothing more than the title screen. No, it was the boardgames I did as a kid that in retrospect really taught me the basics…I must have made several dozen, and they’d get playtested during recess periods at school. At some point, I will definitely do a post about those. I still have many of them.

He also details the process by which he went about getting the game up and running on a modern PC, seeing as how it was written for an 8-bit Atari system. There’s also a bit of a Richard Garriott connection as well, as Koster was inspired to write and sell the game by the tale of Richard Garriott’s own start as a game developer. But whereas Garriott managed to sell a few copies of Akalabeth, Koster sold exactly one Ziploc-wrapped copy of his game.

Although, obviously, the inspiration stuck, and he went on to much bigger (and more successful) ventures.