Not everyone knows the names of the makers of classic games. It’s doubtful that most gamers know the names Roberta Williams, Al Lowe, or Fumito Ueda, and the same goes for the creators of Atari classic Breakout, the insanely influential brick-breaker. Yes, the mostly forgotten Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs have toiled in obscurity, though we like to check on the Steves from time to time. Today news spread that Steve Jobs, former game developer, resigned from his corporate suit and tie job at some company called Apple.
Discovered by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Steve Jobs was hired to design a new variation on the mega-hit Pong that involved bouncing the “ball” against a “wall” that slowly disappeared as each brick was hit, until the player cleared the whole screen. After Jobs included his friend Wozniak in the development, they ended up creating one of Atari’s biggest hits. Breakout became so successful it eventually spawned an entire genre. Classics like Arkanoid and Alleyway, all the way up to PSN hit Shatter owe much to the unique title. It must be the most influential thing Jobs has ever done.
In his time after leaving Atari to create some sort of tech start-up with Wozniak, Jobs has worked on a number of things with his Silicon Valley group known as Apple, including some sort of phone thing. After taking a series of absences from the company, mostly related to personal health issues, Jobs today resigned from being CEO of the company. He released this statement:
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Above: Jobs and Wozniak in their earlier days
We wish Apple luck with whatever it is they do, but we just hope that nothing is wrong in the personal life of this innovative game maker to cause this decision. As we wish him only the best of health, let’s remember all the great times we had playing Breakout. Maybe we’ll download a Breakout clone for our phone right now.
Aug 24, 2011