Don Daglow

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Don Daglow
Don Daglow - Game Developers Conference 2010 - Day 4.jpg
Don Daglow at the Game Developers Conference in 2010
Bornc. 1953 (age 6566)
Nationality American
Occupation Game designer, programmer, producer

Don Daglow (born circa 1953) [1] is an American computer game and video game designer, programmer and producer. He is best known for being the creator of early games from several different genres, including pioneering simulation game Utopia for Intellivision in 1981, role-playing game Dungeon in 1975, sports games including the first interactive computer baseball game Baseball in 1971, and the first graphical MMORPG, Neverwinter Nights in 1991. He founded long-standing game developer Stormfront Studios in 1988.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

<i>Utopia</i> (video game) Video game

Utopia is a 1981 strategy video game by Don Daglow released for the Intellivision and Mattel Aquarius. It is often regarded as among the first city building games and god games. A turn-based strategy game with some real-time elements, it is credited as "arguably the earliest ancestor of the real-time strategy genre." In July 2010, the game was re-released on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Games for Windows Live.


In 2008 Daglow was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for Neverwinter Nights pioneering role in MMORPG development. [2] Along with John Carmack of id Software and Mike Morhaime of Blizzard Entertainment, Daglow is one of only three game developers to accept awards at both the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards and at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Interactive Achievement Awards.[ citation needed ]

A Technology and Engineering Emmy Award is given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for outstanding achievement in technical or engineering development. An award can be presented to an individual, a company, or to a scientific or technical organization for developments and/or standardization involved in engineering technologies which either represent so extensive an improvement on existing methods or are so innovative in nature that they materially have affected the transmission, recording, or reception of television. The award is determined by a special panel composed of highly qualified, experienced engineers in the television industry.

id Software American video game development company

id Software LLC is an American video game developer based in Dallas, Texas. The company was founded on February 1, 1991, by four members of the computer company Softdisk, programmers John Carmack and John Romero, game designer Tom Hall, and artist Adrian Carmack. Business manager Jay Wilbur was also involved.

Blizzard Entertainment video game publisher and developer

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles: Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company originally concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994 the company became Chaos Studios, Inc., then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates.

In 2003 he was the recipient of the CGE Achievement Award for "groundbreaking accomplishments that shaped the Video Game Industry."

University mainframe games in the 1970s

In 1971 Daglow was studying playwriting at Pomona College in Claremont, California. A computer terminal connected to the Claremont Colleges PDP-10 mainframe computer was set up in his dorm, and he saw this as a new form of writing. Like Kelton Flinn, another prolific game designer of the 1970s, his nine years of computer access as a student, grad student and grad school instructor throughout the 1970s gave him time to build a large body of major titles. Unlike Daglow and Flinn, most college students in the early 1970s lost all access to computers when they graduated, since home computers had not yet been invented.

Pomona College Liberal arts college in Claremont, California, United States

Pomona College is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California. It was founded in 1887 by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate a "college of the New England type" in Southern California, and in the 1920s, it became the founding member of the Claremont Colleges consortium.

Claremont, California City on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, California, United States

Claremont is a city on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, California, United States, 30.3 miles (48.8 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. It is in the Pomona Valley, at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, and has a population, as of the 2015 United States Census estimate, of 36,283 people.

Computer terminal computer input/output device; an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system

A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying or printing data from, a computer or a computing system. The teletype was an example of an early day hardcopy terminal, and predated the use of a computer screen by decades.

Some of Daglow's titles were distributed to universities by the DECUS program-sharing organization, earning popularity in the free-play era of 1970s college gaming.

DECUS independent computer user group related to Digital Equipment Corporation

The Digital Equipment Computer Users' Society (DECUS) was an independent computer user group related to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

His best known games and experiments of this era include:

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a membership organization dedicated to fostering the research and dissemination of the history and record of baseball. Established in Cooperstown, New York, in August 1971 by sportswriter Bob Davids, it is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

John Burgeson is a former IBM engineer who created the first computer baseball simulation game in 1961 on an IBM 1620 Computer in Akron, Ohio.

Intellivision and Electronic Arts in the 1980s

In 1980 Daglow was hired as one of the original five in-house Intellivision programmers at Mattel during the first console wars. [7] [8] Intellivision titles where he did programming and extensive ongoing design include:

Intellivision video game console

The Intellivision is a home video game console released by Mattel Electronics in 1979. The name Intellivision is a portmanteau of "intelligent television". Development of the console began in 1977, the same year as the introduction of its main competitor, the Atari 2600. In 1984 Mattel sold their video game assets to a former Mattel Electronics executive and investors that would become INTV Corporation. Games development started in 1978 and continued until 1990 when the Intellivision was discontinued. From 1980 to 1983 over 3 million Intellivision units were sold.

Mattel American toy company

Mattel, Inc. is an American multinational toy manufacturing company founded in 1945 with headquarters in El Segundo, California. The products and brands it produces include Fisher-Price, Barbie, Monster High, Ever After High, Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels and Matchbox, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, board games, and WWE. In the early 1980s, Mattel produced video game systems, under its own brands and under license from Nintendo. The company has presence in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 countries. The company operates through three business segments: North America, international, and American Girl. It is the world's second largest toy maker in terms of revenue, after The Lego Group. In 2014, it ranked #403 on the Fortune 500 list. On January 17, 2017, Mattel named former Google executive Margo Georgiadis as CEO. Georgiadis stepped down as CEO of Mattel on April 19, 2018. Her last day was on April 26, 2018. Ynon Kreiz is now the new CEO of Mattel.

As the team grew into what in 1982 became known as the Blue Sky Rangers Daglow was promoted to be Director of Intellivision Game Development, where he created the original designs for a number of Mattel titles in 1982-83 that were enhanced and expanded by other programmers, including:

During the Video Game Crash of 1983 Daglow was recruited to join Electronic Arts by founder Trip Hawkins, where he joined the EA producer team of Joe Ybarra and Stewart Bonn. His EA titles include:

In addition to Dombrower, at EA, Daglow often worked with former members of the Intellivision team, including programmer Rick Koenig, artist Connie Goldman and musician Dave Warhol.

Daglow spent 1987–88 at Brøderbund as head of the company's Entertainment and Education Division. Although he supervised the creation of games like Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia , Star Wars , the Ancient Art of War series, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, his role was executive rather than creative. He took a lead role in signing the original distribution deal for SimCity with Maxis, and acquired the Star Wars license for Brøderbund from LucasFilm.

Stormfront Studios in the 1990s and 2000s

Looking to return to hands-on game development, Daglow founded game developer Stormfront Studios in 1988 [7] in San Rafael, California.

Between 1988 and 1995 Daglow designed or co-designed the following titles:

By 1995 Stormfront had placed on the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing companies three times and Daglow stepped back from his design role to focus on the CEO position. See the article on Stormfront Studios for further information.

In 2003 and again in 2007 Daglow was elected to the Board of Directors of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. He also serves on the San Francisco Advisory Board of the IGDA, the Advisory Board to the President of the Academy of Art University and served on the Advisory Board to the Games Convention Developers Conference until it was dissolved in 2008. In 2009, Daglow joined the board of GDC Europe. [9] He has been a keynote speaker, lecturer and panelist at game development conferences in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.


During the late 1970s Daglow worked as a teacher and graduate school instructor while pursuing his writing career. He was a winner of the National Endowment for the Humanities New Voices playwriting competition in 1975. His 1979 novelette The Blessing of La Llorona appeared in the April, 1982 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine.

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<i>Intellivision World Series Baseball</i> 1983 video game

Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball is a baseball sports game (1983), designed by Don Daglow and Eddie Dombrower and published by Mattel for the Intellivision Entertainment Computer System. IWSB was one of the first sports games to use multiple camera angles and present a three-dimensional perspective. It was also the first statistics-based baseball simulation game on a video game console; all prior console baseball games were arcade-style recreations of the sport.

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Old Time Baseball is a baseball computer personal computer game (1995) designed and programmed by Don Daglow, Hudson Piehl, Clay Dreslough and James Grove. The game appeared on the PC and was developed and published by Stormfront Studios.

<i>Gateway to the Savage Frontier</i> 1991 video game

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<i>Shark! Shark!</i> 1982 video game

Shark! Shark! is an Intellivision game originally designed by Don Daglow, and with additional design and programming by Ji-Wen Tsao, one of the first female game programmers in the history of video games. The player is a fish who must eat smaller fishes in order to gain points and extra lives while avoiding enemies such as larger fishes, sharks, jellyfish, lobsters and crabs. After eating a certain number of fish, the player's fish grows in size and is thus able to eat a larger selection of fish. However, while the larger fish becomes a bit faster, he is less agile than the small fish and has a harder time avoiding enemies.

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  1. "Don Daglow". 11 August 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. "2008 Tech Emmy Winners". Archived from the original on September 29, 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Designing People..." Computer Gaming World. August 1992. pp. 48–54. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  4. Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, & Playtesting Games - Tracy Fullerton, Chris Swain, Steven Hoffman - Google Books. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  5. Wallis, Alistair (2006-10-19). "Column: 'Playing Catch Up: Stormfront Studios' Don Daglow'". Gamasutra . Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  6. Maragos, Nich (2004-07-26). "Talking: Dan Daglow". Archived from the original on 2004-12-20. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  7. 1 2 Olsen, Jennifer (July 2001). "Profiles: Don Daglow—breaking typecasts", Game Developer 8 (7): 18.
  8. Daglow, Don L. (August 1988). "The Changing Role of Computer Game Designers" (PDF). Computer Gaming World . No. 50. p. 18. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  9. Game Developers Conference | 2009 GDC Europe Announces Advisory Board. (2009-04-08). Retrieved on 2014-05-22.