How A Bedroom Coder Poster Child Found His True Calling
There is no singular path to becoming a game designer, and every successful name in the business forged their own path in a slightly different way.
This is especially true in the UK, where before a Minecraft modding course was a dynamic and fascinating way to learn programming basics there was a wave of programmers who learned through magazines and very cheap early microcomputers.
Arguably the face of the bedroom coder revolution was Eugene Evans, who first came to fame thanks to an article published in 1983 that claimed he made £35,000 a year at just 16 years old. Adjusted for inflation that’s over £110,000.
Famously the story also claimed that he had bought a Lotus Esprit sports car before he was old enough to drive, although this part seemed to be an exaggeration and the car had been leased by Imagine Software, the company he worked for.
He did also make games such as Catcha Snatcha and Wacky Waiters, but unlike other programmers of a similar age such as Manic Miner’s Matthew Smith, he was far less known for his actual programming but for what his skills had gotten him and could get other skilled teenagers.
However, Imagine would quickly go bankrupt, their plight shown on national television, and
Eugene had to start again in the business, first with Psygnosis, a phoenix company started by other ex-members of Imagine, but quickly moved away from programming after working on Brataccas.
Instead, it turned out that his skill was in management, business development and marketing, ultimately becoming a vice-president at Electronic Arts, overseeing BioWare Mythic, the makers of pioneering MMORPGs Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online.
Most recently he has worked as the Senior Vice President of Development and Digital Licensing at Wizards of the Coast, overseeing Hasbro’s digital adaptations of their many board and card games.
All of this came from an interest in coding right around the time when the dream of many children was to make games.