Tim Skelly (February 10, 1951 – death reported March 2, 2020)was a video game designer and game programmer who developed arcade games for Cinematronics from 1978 until 1981. He designed a series of pure action games using black and white vector graphics. One of his early games, Rip Off , was the first arcade game with two-player cooperative play. Star Hawk , Rip Off , Armor Attack , and Star Castle were all later ported to the Vectrex home system.
After leaving Cinematronics, he worked briefly for Gremlin before becoming an independent contractor with Gottlieb. His first game for Gottlieb was the esoteric Reactor , and he had it written into his contract that he would get a credit on the title screen for designing the game.
Previously, programmers had occasionally sneaked their names into their games as easter eggs, and Berzerk designer Alan McNeil's signature was on every cabinet, but Reactor was the first coin-op to have the designer's name appear in-game with the manufacturer's blessing.
Skelly also designed two other games for Gottlieb, Insector and Screw Loose, which were never released. Later he worked for Incredible Technologies, then Microsoft Research.In 1983, a book of video game cartoons by Tim Skelly was published as Shoot the Robot, then Shoot Mom.
When Sega moved most of the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to North America, Skelly joined the team and assisted with art and design of the game.
Later in his career, he worked on the popular Golden Tee arcade games.
Skelly died on March 2, 2020.
Sonic Team is a video game developer owned by the Japanese video game company Sega as part of its Sega CS Research and Development No. 2 division. Sonic Team is best known for its namesake long-running Sonic the Hedgehog series and games such as Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a fictional character created by Naoto Ohshima and Yuji Naka. The title character of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise, Sonic is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball to attack enemies. He races through levels, collecting power-up rings and avoiding obstacles, as he seeks to defeat the mad scientist Doctor Eggman.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a 1991 platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Genesis/Mega Drive. It was released in North America on June 23 and in PAL regions and Japan the following month. Players control Sonic the Hedgehog, who can run at near supersonic speeds; Sonic sets out on a quest to defeat Dr. Robotnik, a scientist who has imprisoned animals in robots and seeks the powerful Chaos Emeralds. The gameplay involves collecting rings as a form of health, and a simple control scheme, with jumping and attacking controlled by a single button.
Ristar is a 1995 platform game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. The game stars an anthropomorphic cartoon star who uses his hands and long, stretchable arms to both move and fight enemies. Reception for the game was generally positive, but the game's initial release was overshadowed due to the imminent ending of the Genesis's lifecycle and the succession of the Sega Saturn and other fifth generation video game consoles.
Sonic the Fighters, also known as Sonic Championship on arcade versions outside Japan, is a fighting game developed by Sega AM2. First released in 1996 in arcades on Sega's Model 2 arcade system, Sonic the Fighters pits players in one-on-one battles with a roster of characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
Star Castle is a vector graphics multidirectional shooter released in arcades by Cinematronics in 1980. The game involves obliterating a series of defenses orbiting a stationary turret in the center of the screen. The display is black and white with the colors of the rings and screen provided by a transparent plastic screen overlay.
Starhawk is a 1979 vector arcade game designed and programmed by Tim Skelly and manufactured by Cinematronics. Starhawk is a shoot 'em up unofficially based on the Star Wars: Episode IV trench run, one of the first arcade games to blatantly use concepts from Star Wars. The game was unique at the time for its pseudo-3D graphics. It was distributed in Japan by Sega, and was later ported for the Vectrex home system in 1982.
Cinematronics Incorporated was an arcade game developer that primarily released vector graphics games in the late 1970s and early 1980s. While other companies released games based on raster displays, early in their history, Cinematronics and Atari, Inc. released vector-display games, which offered a distinctive look and a greater graphic capability, at the cost of being only black and white (initially). Cinematronics also published Dragon's Lair in 1983, the first major LaserDisc video game.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog is a 1993 arcade game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series by Sega. Controlling Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, the player must escape an island after they are kidnapped by the villain, Doctor Eggman. The game uses an isometric perspective. Players use a trackball to move the characters while dodging obstacles and collecting rings. The game was developed by Sega's arcade division, Sega AM3. It is one of four Sonic games with the SegaSonic name and was inspired by the 1984 game Marble Madness.
Sega Technical Institute (STI) was an American video game developer owned by Sega. Founded by the Atari veteran Mark Cerny in 1990, STI sought to combine elite Japanese developers, including the Sonic Team programmer Yuji Naka and his team, with new American talent. STI developed games for Sega Genesis, including several Sonic the Hedgehog games, before it was closed at the end of 1996.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 1992 platform game developed by Sega Technical Institute (STI) for the Sega Genesis. Players control Sonic as he attempts to stop Doctor Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his space station. Like the first Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), players traverse side-scrolling levels at high speeds while collecting rings, defeating enemies, and fighting bosses. Sonic 2 introduces Sonic's sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower and features faster gameplay, larger levels, a multiplayer mode, and special stages featuring pre-rendered 3D graphics.
Reactor is an arcade video game released in 1982 by Gottlieb. The object of the game is to cool down the core of a nuclear reactor without being pushed into its walls by swarms of subatomic particles. Reactor was developed by Tim Skelly, who previously designed and programmed a series of vector graphics arcade games for Cinematronics, including Rip Off. It was the first arcade game to credit the developer on the title screen. Reactor was ported to the Atari 2600 by Charlie Heath and published by Parker Brothers the same year as the original.
Armor Attack is a multidirectional shooter designed by Tim Skelly and released as an arcade video game by Cinematronics in 1980. It was licensed to Sega for release in Japan and also to Rock-Ola. The vector graphics of Armor Attack present combat between the player's jeep and enemy vehicles in an overhead, maze-like view of a town. The buildings are not drawn in the game, but are an overlay that sits on top of the monitor. The overlay also tints the vectors green.
Outpost is a fixed shooter for the Apple II programmed by Tom McWilliams and published by Sirius Software in 1981. It is a variant of the arcade game Space Zap.
Vectorbeam was an arcade game manufacturer active in the late 1970s who specialized in vector graphics-based arcade games. It was formed after splitting off from its primary competitor, Cinematronics, and disappeared after re-merging with them soon after.
Rip Off is a multidirectional shooter with black and white vector graphics written by Tim Skelly and released as an arcade video game by Cinematronics in 1980. It was the first shooter with cooperative gameplay and an early game to exhibit flocking behavior. A port for the Vectrex was published in 1982.
Sundance is a puzzle arcade video game using vector graphics released by Cinematronics in 1979. The game consists of two grids floating in a pseudo-3D space with small suns bouncing between them.
Christian Whitehead, also known by his alias The Taxman, is an Australian video game programmer and designer. He is most recognized for his work creating updated ports of early games in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, as well as being the lead developer of an original game in the series, Sonic Mania. He has also developed multiple remakes of classic Sonic games and most recently, the remasters in Sonic Origins.
The Retro Engine, also known as the Retro Software Development Kit, is a multiplatform game engine developed by Australian programmer Christian Whitehead, best known for its use in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series.