Checking in With Mac Gaming Legend Glenda Adams
Glenda Adams worked at Aspyr for almost seven years as the Director of Development, responsible for leading our Mac game development studio and making our lives easier by providing guidance into all things technical. She is a rare breed of person who can make technology understandable and accessible for those of us who aren’t technically minded. Before her employment with Aspyr, she was President of Westlake Interactive, the development house responsible for many-a-Mac-port such as Tomb Raider II Mac, The Sims Mac and many others. Not only did Glenda manage the work on these games, she also took part in the actual code-writing as well!
Glenda has participated in bringing great games to the Mac for over 20 years and now uses that expertise to bring great apps to iOS. Glenda left Aspyr in May of 2009 to pursue development for the iPhone and to run her company Maverick Software. Some of her hits include Cupcakes, the long-running #1 seller in the iTunes Kids Game category; More Toast!, the first of her More Foods apps to make a big splash; and More Cowbell, an App that launched on the iTunes store in its early days which helped us all enjoy Don’t Fear the Reaper in a whole new way.
We at Aspyr and GameAgent are still great friends with Glenda and are huge fans her work, so we wanted to check in with her “on the record” so we could share some of her great insight with our community.
GameAgent: You’ve been at the Mac programming game longer than almost anyone else out there and are now deep into iOS. Can you give us a few thoughts about Apple’s evolution in gaming?
Glenda Adams: It’s been quite an interesting ride! I started programming Mac games back in 1988, and went through so many years when “game” was a four letter word for Apple. To be honest, there were always people at Apple passionate about Mac games, but at a high level it just never was a priority. After about 20 years of seeing Apple randomly do good & bad things for game developers, it really did surprise me to see what happened with iOS. I don’t think Apple anticipated it at all, but now that gaming is such a major part of the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad success, it’s great to see them embrace it. Apple’s TV ads with games in them? I’d have never believed it back in 1988, 1998, or even 2008!
And now that Apple has announced the Mac App Store, I think we’ll see a real makeover of Mac gaming. It opens things up to so much better distribution, getting a lot of those Mac users who would never look at the games section of an Apple retail store to think about picking up something fun to play on their new MacBook or iMac.
GA: What are some of the gaming trends in 2010 that you really liked?
Glenda: I like the trend of smaller scale, snack size gaming. The type of games on the iPhone, or downloadable games on the Mac & PC or console. While a big blockbuster like Civilization 5, or Call of Duty is great (I’m just now finally finishing up playing Red Dead Redemption on the 360), I like playing smaller games that don’t have quite the learning curve or time commitment. I think that trend is a good one for the game industry, and good for gamers.
Personally, as I’ve switched to iOS development, the trend to smaller games has been wonderful. After taking several years off from game programming, mostly because the projects just got so large, it’s been great to be able to go back to small scale games. I can develop a complete iOS kids game app by myself, in a month, and get it out to gamers to see what they think. Actually getting back into coding has been quite fun, and I thought I’d permanently burned out on programming 6-7 years ago.
GA: What’s one game you ported to the Mac that you’ll always remember fondly… and why?
Glenda: Ooh, so many games over the years, that’s a hard question. I think probably Tomb Raider 2. That was the first Tomb Raider game [Aspyr] ported to the Mac. It was a game that when I first saw it, I thought “this has GOT to come to the Mac”. The character animation was so amazing, it had one of the first kick butt female lead characters, and it was just a perfectly executed game. At the time, no one thought it would ever come to the Mac. To actually get to work on it was like winning the lottery. TR2 also had one of my favorite easter eggs I added to game. Early in the story, a cut-scene showed Lara opening a laptop to get a message about her quest. I added an Apple logo to the back of the laptop, turning it into a PowerBook (after running quite a gauntlet with Apple legal to get an OK, or at least a “we most likely won’t sue you”).
GA: Do you still think of yourself as a gamer, even after all the time you’ve spent creating?
Glenda: Yes, although I don’t spend as much time gaming as I did when I first started in the business. Other things in life have taken priority, but I’m still anxiously awaiting some new releases, and know I’ll spend a few late nights playing stuff like Civ 5 or Diablo 3 in the future.
Be sure and check out the latest from Glenda Adams, and her company Maverick Software, with apps available from iTunes. My faves include her latest, Cupcakes! Holiday Edition, offering a huge assortment of holiday specific toppings for your delicious treat, and More Salad!, which is a less-guilt-ridden way of building some favorite foods.