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Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award

David Crane is one of the most experienced creators of video games in the world, with over 30 years of experience in video game creation, development, and publishing. As an early Atari employee and founder of Activision, David was instrumental in launching the multi-billion dollar third-party video game software industry. Since 2009 he has concentrated on publishing mobile games for the smartphone market, including the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

David is best known for his whimsical gameplay: finding amusing and compelling ways for the game player in all of us to interact with on-screen characters. Through boundless creativity, David’s characters are brought to life; from Pitfall Harry (in Pitfall!™ – the world’s first side-view Adventure game), or the chicken who crossed the road in Freeway!™, to the shape-changing, jellybean-eating blob from the vitamin-deficient planet of Blobolonia in A Boy and His Blob™.

Audiences continue to clamor for games from this legendary game creator. David’s games, regardless of platform, are magical, always challenging but never overtly violent, and the perfect combination of technical prowess and creative genius. As Tom Clancy pointed out in one of his Op-Center books, “you could always tell a David Crane game.” David has published over 80 commercial products with revenues of over $400 million. Selected industry Awards include the 2010 Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Pioneer Award, the 2009 IGN.COM “Top 100 Game Creators of All Time”, the 2003 Game Developers Choice “First Penguin Award”, and the 1990 Parent’s Choice Award for A Boy and His Blob.

Professional Achievement Summary

  • 35 years of experience in video game hardware and software design
  • Designed or co-designed more than 80 entertainment products.
  • Product revenues in excess of $400 million retail.
  • Dozens of industry awards, including Designer of the Year, Parent’s Choice, and prestigious 2003 Game Developer Choice Award for contribution to the field.
  • Recipient of the inaugural AIAS Pioneer Award.
  • Several games with unit sales over 1,000,000.
  • Profiled in national press, including Forbes and Newsweek.
  • Pitfall! game was so popular that it spawned a Saturday morning cartoon show.
  • Produced hit products with sales throughout the US, Europe, and Japan.
  • Author of US Patent #4,644,495 for an improved Video Memory System.
  • Appeared in multiple volumes of Who’s Who in Consumer Electronics.

Game Publisher Affiliations

  • Atari, Inc.
  • Activision, Inc.
  • Hasbro Toys
  • Absolute Entertainment, Inc.
  • Skyworks Interactive, Inc.
  • App Star Games, Inc.
  • MTV / Nickelodeon Kids and Family
  • J ungle V enture I nc.

Selected Awards

2010 Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Pioneer Award – At the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards held on February 18, 2010 Activision co-founder David Crane was presented with the Academy’s first ever Pioneer Award, celebrating his contribution to the creation of the Video Game Industry.

2009 IGN.COM “The Top 100 Game Creators of All Time” – In 2009 IGN.COM ran a feature called “The Top 100 Game Creators of All Time.” David Crane was featured at #12.

2003 Game Developers Choice “First Penguin Award” – “The IGDA’s First Penguin award celebrates the courage and bravery of a developer who is the first to test the proverbial waters, in the face of uncertainty of success or failure. Receiving a “penguin” serves as an inspiration and lesson to the community.”

1990 Parent’s Choice Award, A Boy and His Blob

1989 Video Games and Computer Entertainment, Best Strategy, A Boy and His Blob

1989 Video Games and Computer Entertainment, Most Innovative, A Boy and His Blob

1983 Video Games Magazine, Player’s Choice Award, Pitfall!

1982 VIRA Award, Video Game Designer of the Year

1982 Video Game Update, Designer of the Year

1982 Freeway Gold Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 500,000 Units

1982 Grand Prix Gold Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 500,000 Units

1982 Pitfall! Gold Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 500,000 Units

1982 Freeway Platinum Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 1,000,000 Units

1982 Laser Blast Platinum Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 1,000,000 Units

1982 Pitfall! Platinum Cartridge, In Recognition of Sales in Excess of 1,000,000 Units

1981 Best Audio and Visual Effects, Fishing Derby

Published Products

iPhone publications: Catopult (Part of AG Mobile), Arcade Bowling™, Ten Pin Championship Bowling®, Boardwalk Games™, Arcade Hoops Basketball™, 3 Point Hoops®, Arcade QB Pass Attack™, Field Goal Frenzy™, Stellar Blast!™, 2600 Magic, Dragster Magic, The Iron Horse

Console Games: Pitfall!™, Pitfall II, Lost Caverns™, Freeway™, Laser Blast™, Fishing Derby™, Dragster™, Grand Prix™, A Boy and His Blob™, The Rescue of Princess Blobette™,  Little Computer People™, Ghostbusters™, Skateboardin’™, Super Skateboardin’™, The Activision Decathlon™, T*O*Y*S™, Home Improvement: Power Tool Persuit, Transformers®, the computer game, David Crane’s Amazing Tennis™, Bart Simpson’s Escape from Camp Deadly™, March of the Penguins™, CHOMP™, Canyon Bomber™, Outlaw™, Slot Machine™

Online Casual Games: Lotto Letters®, Super Swish, Stellar Blast!™, Mercury® Mariner® Hybrid Infomercial, Lacrosse Shootout, Beach Volleyball, Spiderman® Climbing game, Miller® Seat Salsa*, Super Cocoa Man, Break the Rules Hoops, Downfield Strike, Mini Motocross, Pebbles® Robopup Run, Toyota® 4runner® Challenge, Tyco® RC Speed Wrench, Vertical Jam, E.T.’s Adventure, Bubble Yum® Home Run Derby, Bubble Yum® Bullpen Blast, Gummi Bunnies® Egg Hunt, Foul Shot Shootout, LifeSavers® Water Park Pinball, Field Goal Challenge, Creme Savers® Bowling, Golf Solitaire, Skyworks Lanes Bowling, Carefree® on Ice, Gummi Savers® Rock-N-Skate, YIPES!® Photo Safari, Ice Breakers® Slap Shot Shootout, Southpark® Pinball, Breath Savers® Road Rally, Ford® NASCAR® racing challenge, MTv® Cranks Dirt Bike Game, Ice Breakers® Ultimate Bobsled, Breath Savers® Billiards, Snackwells® Chocolate Factory Pinball, Snowboard Big Air, Skate Rage Inline Skating, Candystand™ Miniature Golf, LifeSavers® Word Challenge, Candystand™ Tennis Open, Mountain Climbing, 3 Point Shootout, Grand Slam Pinball, Nabisco World™ Team Racing, Soccer Shootout, LifeSavers® Treasure Hunt, Oreo® Adventure, LifeSavers® Roll-A-ball, Air Crisps® Slam Dunk, Fruit Chews® BMX, Postopia™ Bowling, Technical Expertise

In addition to being one of the most successful video game software designers in the world, David is an accomplished electronic engineer with experience in Hardware Design in the fields of Analog Circuitry, Digital Circuitry, Semiconductor Design, Computer Architecture, and Circuit Layout. This expertise in Hardware Design provides the foundation for his work in the highly technical field of Video Game Design.

As the video game has evolved throughout his 30+ year career, so has the technology. To create the diverse assortment of games he has published, David has mastered at least 24 Computer Languages, including those required by More than 20 Video Game Consoles.

– Co-Founder of Apple Computers

– Developed the ‘Apple I’ in 1976

– Received National Medal of Technology

– Created the first Universal Remote

– Founded Wheels Of Zeus in 2001

– Founded Acquicor Technology in 2006

– Was chief scientist at Fusion-io in 2009

– Chief scientist at Primary Data in 2014


David Bishop was the Executive Vice President of NAMCO USA INC., and he became passionate about games during the 1970s as the stereotypical nerd who, when not obsessively studying, spent free time hanging out in pinball arcades, conducting tabletop war games, and running all night D&D sessions!

David first entered the game business when he landed his dream job as a mall arcade worker while attending college in 1981, and he immediately became so enamored with the emerging video games that he changed his major to Electrical Engineering to pursue game design. David remained with the arcade business when he finished school, and during the 1980s worked his way through the management and technical ranks of a southeastern arcade company to eventually become the VP of Technical Operations.

David moved from Atlanta to Silicon Valley in 1987 to join Atari Games Corporation and establish their national mall arcade chain, and in 1990 David helped relocate that same growing arcade chain to initialize NAMCO in America and ultimately enable the release of new games under its own brand. By the late 1990s, David was managing the largest chain of amusement facilities in the Americas with nearly 500 sites, 2,500 employees and over 27,000 games, rides and attractions on location.


Throughout his 35-year career, David advanced NAMCO as well as the game industry through a wide variety of positions and responsibilities, from technician to COO to his favorite role of “Chief PAC-MAN Evangelist”, and he helped pioneer numerous new entertainment concepts, from the earliest known commercial LAN gaming center in 1982, to a full motion flight simulation center in the early 1990s, to his latest project, Level 257 in Chicago, a 43,000 square foot melding of hospitality, social entertainment, and gaming inspired by PAC-MAN and featuring a chef-driven restaurant.


David currently serves on the Board of Directors of NAMCO USA and focuses on the development of new entertainment concepts as well as the use of emerging technology to craft innovative experiences (including, for example, “more immersive” game attractions using cutting-edge Virtual and Augmented Reality hardware.)


David resides in a suburb of Chicago with his wife Jeannine (who also worked at Atari Games) his daughter Jessica (who literally grew up in the game business and works in it herself today), and their beloved dog, Guinness.


And… David STILL plays games every day!