Game Refuge
 
 
With over 60 successful videogame titles to their credit, (the vast majority of which were original intellectual properties), it is no wonder that Game Refuge designers Brian and Jeff have achieved "legendary" status in the videogame industry. (Classic Gaming Expo 1999)

"...Messrs. Colin and Nauman have had a wide-ranging impact on the video game industry, both individually and as a team. Back in the 1980s, Industry-wide weekly earnings records were shattered by the immensely popular arcade hits Rampage©®™ & Xenophobe©®™. New industry gameplay standards were set with their innovative arcade sports titles Arch Rivals©®™ and Pigskin 621 AD©®™. Literally millions of Players have been thrilled by the non-stop action of such GAME REFUGE INC hits as General Chaos©®™ and Star Trek Voyager©®™. And to say that the countertop coin-op market was revolutionized by their recent series of "Virtual Touch" 3D Games, Tennis Ace©®™ and Puck Shot©®™ would be an understatement!"

"...If you're at all familiar with Jeff and Brian's extensive body of work, you are aware of the "Laugh-out-Loud" brand of videogame entertainment that is uniquely their own. The following list represents just some of the videogames designed & developed by Brian &/or Jeff over the years.............................. - Les Bern, GRIN
 
 
AIR SHOT  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
ARCH RIVALS  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
ARCTIC STUD POKER RUN  (TM) (R) PC Game
BALL BOBBLERS  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
BOBBLEHEAD BASEBALL  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
BLASTED  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
CAP'N ZACK  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
COW TIPPING  (TM) (R) Redemption Game
DEMOLITION DERBY  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
DELIVERANCE  (TM) (R) PC Game
ELECTRIC FOOTBALL  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
FISHIN' HOLE  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
GENERAL CHAOS  (TM) (R) Console Game
GOOOOAL  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
KOMATSU CHALLENGE  (TM) (R) PC Advergame
LINE EM UP  (TM) (R) Redemption Game
PIGSKIN 621 AD  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
POWER DRIVE  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
PSYCHIC 21  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
PUCK SHOT  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
RAMPAGE  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
RAMPAGE WORLD TOUR  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
RESCUE RIDERS  (TM) (R) PC Advergame
SARGE  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
SHOOT THE BULL  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
STAR TREK VOYAGER  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
TENNIS ACE  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
UNCOVERGIRLS  (TM) (R) Touchscreen Game
XENOPHOBE  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
and ZWACKERY  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
 
"...It should be noted that Brian & Jeff's development experience is not limited to working on their own original creations. Their art, programming and design contributions can be found in a host of other memorable games as well, including...
 
DISCS OF TRON  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
JUMP SHOT  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
KICKMAN  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
KOZMIK KROOZ'R  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
MATCH IT  (TM) (R) Recemption Game
MAX RPM  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
SATAN'S HOLLOW  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
SPYHUNTER  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
and SPY HUNTER II  (TM) (R) Arcade Game
 
"...and, of course, let's not forget about all those wonderful video casino games developed with Game Refuge expertise...
 
ALFRED HITCHCOCK  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
DEEP POCKETS  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
DICK CLARK'S TV CENSORED BLOOPERS  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
5 CARD INSTANT BINGO  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
THE GREAT CHEESE CAPER  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
THE HONEYMOONERS  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
THE MATCH GAME  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
MONOPOLY GRAND HOTEL  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
MONOPOLY OWN IT ALL  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
MONEY STORM  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
THE MUNSTERS  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
and TAILGATE PARTY  (TM) (R) Casino Slot
 
 
 

A PERSONAL VIDEOGAME HISTORY
"...As you can see from the list above, Jeff and I were designing games long before we decided to form Game Refuge Inc. The following History represents an attempt give an 'insider's view' of the early days of Arcade Game development in Chicagoland... from the point of view of a couple of guys who just happened to stumble into this industry when things were just getting interesting." - BC


BALLY/MIDWAY'S "HART STREET"

You never see much written about the early days (Prior to ARCH RIVALS) of Bally/Midway game development in the U.S., for the simple reason that back when Williams Electronics bought Midway games, they only kept two designers: Brian Colin & Jeff Nauman. Later, virtually all of the oral history pertaining to what Midway was like in the early days was effectively lost when Brian & Jeff left to form their own company Game Refuge in 1992. Since then, spokespersons for MIDWAY have little firsthand knowledge about what went on prior to the buyout, and so the line between Williams and Bally Midway seems to have blurred quite a bit in recent years. This is also why many historical collections erroneously list Williams' games like Defender and Joust as "early Midway games".

Bally/Midway's In-House Development began in a small, overcrowded office on Hart Street in Franklin Park, Illinois. The original group was "offsite" (not physically part of the Bally/Midway factory) and that probably contributed to the close-knit, we're-all-in-this-together feeling. The group continued to refer to themselves as the "Hart Street" Group long after they were moved to their own floor in Bally/Midway's brand new Franklin Park facility a couple of years later.

Though this list is not a complete roster and almost certainly contains spelling errors, the early Hart Street crowd included Bill Adams, George Gomez, Kevin O'Connor, Sharon Barr Perry, Brian Colin, Bob Libbe, Neil Falconner, Bob Dinnerman, Al Rosetti, Tom Leon, Jeff Nauman, Jim Love, Rich Clark, John Marcus, Karen Burley, Mike Bartlow, Tom DiDominico, Gary Oglesby, John Kubik, Atish Ghosh and Sylvia. Steve Ulstad, Emil Golen, Joel Nauman, Marty Broeske, Sue Lohse, Howard Schere, Scott Morrison and others joined the Bally/Midway arcade development team in the months and years to come. (There were also a number of folks creating Intellivision, Atari 2600 and Coleco games, but those people & projects are not included in this history.)

 
THE GAMES

Satan's Hollow
This "beat-the-devil" shoot-em-up was a big hit with fans of vertical-monitor, protect-your-base style of arcade games, (I.e., Space Invaders, Galaga, Galaxian, etc.). Faster and more challenging than it's predecessors, Satan's Hollow featured wave after wave of demonic dragons that would dive, in literally dozens of unique flight patterns, at the player's moveable gunbase. Other innovations included a self-charging player-controlled "shield" and two, (count `em: 2), entirely different background playfield screens! In addition, it has the distinction of being the first project ever for a fledgling programmer named Jeff Nauman. Jeff was recruited while still a junior in college by a couple of softball teammates: Bally/Midway Hart Street development group leader Bill Adams and programmer Jim Love. Historically, this game is interesting because, despite high earnings, the game did not sell as well as expected due to controversy concerning the name.

"This game was in the fine-tuning stage when I was first hired, so I got to play it before the rest of the world did. Fun game; it had new skills to master, intricate patterns to learn, and a killer musical score. Nearly impossible to find today, Satan's Hollow is a reminder of a simpler time when all you needed to master an arcade game was an infallible ability to recognize and memorize patterns coupled with lightning fast reflexes. Hmmm... " - BC

Discs of Tron
The first, and possibly best, attempt to create a "real" 3D environment on sprite-based arcade hardware, Discs of Tron let players shoot killer Frisbees at a CPU opponent. The game was presented in an "environmental" cabinet that completely engulfed the player, featured a half-silvered mirror effect that allowed the characters to seemingly float in midair, and sported what was possibly the most ergonomically unlikely control arrangement ever attempted: a horizontally rotating wheel on a spring-loaded vertical plunger for the left hand and a 8-way pistol grip with trigger and thumb button for the right hand. Even more incredible... it worked. The game was originally intended to be one of the multiple games included in Bally/Midway's earlier release, Tron. However, thanks to the vision and perseverance of perfectionist programmer Bob Dinnerman, it quickly became apparent that the game could stand on its own. The demanding job of providing Bob with pixel-perfect game graphics was given to the newest member of the Bally/Midway development team, Brian Colin.

"Creating a new Run Animation for the TRON character was my very first task in the industry. The Game was far more ambitious and unique that what I'd previously thought possible; I immediately realized that I had greatly underestimated the scope and potential of what video games could do. I was hooked. Flipping Frisbees from floating platforms while dodging discs that bounce off of invisible walls may sound a bit overwhelming, but Discs of Tron was a highly addictive, immersive game of skill. With virtually nothing to compare it to, the game is a classic in a class by itself." - BC

Kosmic Krooz'r
The half-silvered mirror trick mentioned above was used to convincingly float a mechanical flying saucer in a video star-field in this silly sci-fi tour d' farce. Originally conceived as a somewhat dry sci-fi standard called Mothership, in which the player protected objects "beaming up" to the ship from earth, the game never really caught on until novice animator Brian Colin took it upon himself to re-name and re-work the entire look of the game; centered around a humorous "little green man" he dubbed "Kap'n Krooz'r." Rich Clark did the programming. Brian's comical cartoon approach proved so popular that his title character "guest-starred" in another arcade game released by Bally/Midway later that same year. Animator Scott Morrison created the art for the second Kap'n Krooz'r game, Wacko.

"I found that the Hart Street group was more than willing to nurture creative freedom, which is not really as common in this industry as one might think. Even though I was the new kid on the block, the team was happy to let me give "Mothership" a complete, cartoony make-over. While the clever effects & attractive package made Kosmic Krooz'r a dramatically different novelty game, the second Krooz'r game, Wacko, ended up being much better known than the original." - BC

*Ant Raid (Never released)
No history of Hart Street would be complete without mention of the games that "didn't quite make it. Hardware designer Atish Ghosh came up with the concept of two ant hills fighting over limited amounts of food in 1981, but it never got off the ground until animator Brian Colin adapted the ants into cartoon warriors who walked on two legs. A trackball moved a cursor around the City Dump and players sent worker ants, soldier ant and super soldiers out to retrieve spoiled foodstuffs for their queen. As a two-player game, it tested quite well, but the lack of an engaging single-player mode meant that earnings were not consistent, so the game was never produced. Art: Brian Colin, Programming: John Marcus.

"The ability to control a small army in real time was brilliant and hysterical and addicting... I was crushed when the decision came back not to finish the game... I never forgot that feeling, though. Certainly the ghost of Ant Raid is evident in a number of our later games, i.e., Sarge, Arch Rivals, Pigskin and of course, General Chaos!" - BC

Spy Hunter
This successful top-view driving game, under the laid-back direction of programmer Tom Leon, is a textbook example of true teamwork in action. Virtually everyone in the office got involved in one way or another. There was only one prototype system available; which meant that Tom, as the principal designer and lead programmer, got to work during normal business hours, while guys like Jeff Nauman had to code from dusk till dawn. Video artists Sharon Barr, Steve Ulstad, Kevin O'Connor and Brian Colin created the graphics, and mechanical and hardware engineers George Gomez, John Kubik and Atish Ghosh cobbled together the physical components that held everything together. Musicians Bob Libbe and Neal Falconer created the sounds and music; which included a real-time jazz generator that played a different score every time. Though often referred to as a "driving" game, Spy Hunter was really just the ultimate evolution of the "falling attacker" kind of gameplay made popular in such games as Centipede, Galaga, Space Invaders and the like.

"There are few moments in life as satisfying as racing down the road with a full trunkload of Oil, Smoke and Surface-to-Air Missles while a jazz version of the Peter Gunn Theme is echoing in your ears... talk about being "In The Zone!" ...Often imitated, never duplicated, Spy Hunter just might be the perfect arcade game."

"A look at the Spy Hunter cabinet art reveals a bit about its place in design history. Ball/Midway was still not officially allowing game or design credits to be included in a game, so the team would often have to "sneak" credits into the finished product. This explains the somewhat forced vehicle specifications on the side art., i.e., "Heat-seeking BC Missiles" was actually a thinly-disguised nod to yours truly." - BC

Demolition Derby
Eight cars, four steering wheels, one debris-littered dirt track. Programmer Jeff Nauman developed this "Do Unto Others before they Do Unto You" game after visiting a real demolition derby at the Sandwich County Fair with co-worker Mikey Bartlow. The bird's-eye-view of the rolling wrecks and their rusted remains were created by animators Sharon Barr, Steve Ulstad, and Brian Colin. Bally/Midway marketed the game in both four-player (pedestal) and two-player (standard) versions.

"A seemingly simple smash-em-up scenario... but with up to three living, breathing, opponents to play against, Demolition Derby was anything but predictable. Still, the thing I remember most about the game was the shameless use of the cheesecake 'Trophy Girl'... Ah, youth..." - BC

Sarge
Considered by some to be the grandfather of all real-time video battle-games, Sarge was the first coin-op game to give players the ability to deploy multiple vehicles against common adversaries and, of course, each other. There was considerably more to waging war in this game than simply pulling the trigger. Each player was literally a one-man-army: engaging the enemy, navigating difficult terrain, demolishing strategic targets ...all while leaping back and forth twixt tanks and choppers. Sarge is also probably the first real "start-to-finish" design collaboration between artist/animator Brian Colin and programmer Jeff Nauman.

"Like Bally/Midway's previous "Head-to-Head" game, Demolition Derby, Sarge was especially fun to play when the butt you were kicking belonged to a friend of yours. Even today, the sight of that little guy scurrying from the charred remains of my downed chopper still cracks me up." - BC

*P'tooie Louie Never released
The player is a fur-bikini-clad boomerang-throwing cavewoman riding atop a giant red watermelon-seed-spitting pterodactyl who would periodically launch into the air to do battle with oversized, often invisible (!) killer bees! 'Nuff said? ... Programming Jeff Nauman, Art/Animation: Brian Colin, Sharon Barr

"Sometimes you spend so much time figuring out if you can do something, it doesn't occur to you to ask if you should." - BC

Rampage
Possible the best-known, best-loved game to come out of Bally/Midway's Franklin Park development group, Rampage very nearly didn't get produced. Artist Brian Colin was discussing the limitations of the current hardware with co-workers Sharon Perry (nee Barr), Jim Belt, Jeff Nauman and Mikey Bartlow, when it occurred to him that the annoying rectangular constraints were ideally suited for only one thing: a building collapsing upon itself. It was only a small step from there to giant monsters smashing buildings, which was enough of a hook to convince Brian to start drafting a game proposal. Middle management, however, was less than receptive to something that was so far outside the norm, and the unusual idea seemed slated for oblivion. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Brian went directly to the office of the new President of Bally/Midway, Maury Ferchen who, needless to say, loved the unique concept. The game went on to break all previous earnings records. One test location asked that the game be removed because of the constant crowds around the game. Hundreds of local newspapers and magazines around the country featured stories about the game, due in large part, to press releases sent out by the design team stating that "Your town is facing imminent destruction!"

"Rampage seemed to have a much broader demographic appeal than most other games of the day. Perhaps it was the empowering aspect of being the Anti-Hero, or the unique absurdity of the theme, or simply that there was no "wrong way" to play it. But the thing I remember most about watching people playing Rampage was that it was not uncommon to see players laugh out loud as their once-powerful characters shuffled naked from the screen. Rampage was simply about having fun." - BC

Zwackery
With the after-hours help of Midway tools programmer Joel Nauman, animator Brian Colin created a simple swordplay game mechanic that featured a diminutive wizard, Zak Thwacker. Management liked the concept and the character, and game programmer Emil Golen was brought in to help bring the project to completion. Through the use of a control configuration similar to Discs of Tron, Zwackery evolved into an action-exploration adventure with a Dungeons & Dragons twist. (Best selling TSR author Tracy Hickman served as unofficial consultant on the project.) Sword fighting, spell casting, object collection and puzzle solving gave this deceptively cute side-view "platform" game a surprising amount of depth.

"It was towards the end of this project that a Bally veep introduced me to visiting exec Nolan Bushnell as "�the game's designer, Brian Colin." I was stunned. It might not seem like such a big deal by today's standards, but prior to that moment, management had always seemed hesitant to single out anyone as a designer; and certainly not someone who wasn't even a programmer. I ran right out the next day and added "Designer" to my business cards." - BC

Power Drive
This was a side-view "Monster Truck" button-slapping game designed to appeal to "Track & Field" players. Though the game appeared to have "side-scrolling" backgrounds, the hardware did not, in fact support scrolling. Instead, the scrolling effect was "faked" by sliding game elements along unadorned BG areas of color. Programmer: Jeff Nauman, Art/Animation Sharon Perry, Scott Morrison, Steve Ulstad.

Xenophobe
Brian Colin & Jeff Nauman originally conceived this 3 player horizontal exploration game with a tomb-robbing treasure hunting theme, but when programmer Howard Shere was assigned to the project, his love of science fiction prompted the shift to an ALIEN spoof. Programmer Gary Oglesby contributed the name. The split screen and three-button Gorf handles allowed 3 players to simultaneously explore alien-overrun spacecraft while shooting xenomorphs and collecting various bit of cast-off junk. Items could then be used elsewhere to activate computers, set timers and fry more bad guys. Xenophobe had a dramatic, one of a kind cabinet designed created by John Kubik. Art & Animation, Cabinet Art & bad puns Brian Colin. Sounds & Music by "Souvenir of Omaha"

"Every object in this game was created and designed to be used by the player in one way or another, but not everything made it into the game. The game earned so much money during first weeks of testing that the programmer was pulled off the game to work on a pinball project. So, while Xenophobe broke Rampage's top weekly earnings records, it didn't have the "legs" (continued earning power) that Rampage had over time. Still, the game did very well; and is very fondly remembered by fans." - BC

Shoot The Bull
This trackball-controlled video dart game was one of a few PAC-Pack "KIT games" that were designed to use the long-outdated PacMan hardware. Programmer: Jeff Nauman, Art/Animation: Brian Colin.

"A great example of how much fun a simple, well-tuned game can be. We all spent countless hours playing, tweaking and tuning this game, and I can't begin to calculate how many cases of beer programmer Jeff Nauman won in heated Shoot-The-Bull Tournaments. In my mind, with this game Jeff proved that he was the undisputed Master at crafting that perfect video game "feel." - BC

Jump Shot
This was another KIT game designed for the PAC-Pack. Programmer: Gary Oglesvie, Art/Animation: Brian Colin.

*Midway's Pro Tour Never released This was a highly addictive, single-screen golf game that featured over a dozen adaptations of some of the world's best-known courses. This is one of those games that got hours and hours of fiercely competitive play here in the office, albeit, unfortunately, not out on the street. Programmer: Tom DiDominico, Art/Animation: Sharon Perry.

Max RPM
Programmer Gary Oglesby was the driving force behind this drag racing game that featured a stick shift and a dynamic, first-person Perspective view of the roadway. Art/Animation: Brian Colin

"In many ways, this game was an experiment to see if the current, non-scrolling, non-scaling 2D hardware could be used to simulate the first-person driving effects seen in other games of the period. It worked; but just barely." - BC

Spy Hunter II
Management had been asking for a Spy Hunter sequel for some time, but the long awaited "new hardware" was still nowhere in sight. So the decision was made to try to stretch the effect from Max RPM even further. Programmer: Gary Oglesby. Art/Animation: Brian Colin.

"The boss had one type of game in mind, the programmer had another, and I had just seen The Road Warrior and was looking for a vehicle (no pun intended) that would allow me to mess with some post-apocalyptic images. A lot of compromises were made, and tho the game was released, I didn't feel that it was an improvement on the original. In the real world, sometimes it's gotta be about keeping the guys on the production lines busy." - BC

*The Spectre Files Never released
A film adaptation of an original interactive text adventure designed for an Arcade Laser disc game that was scrapped before the game's completion. Though never produced, you can take a look at a sample of this "Lost Laser Disc" Game's game play on YouTube. Initial text game design & development: Brian Colin, Marty Broeske. Film Production: Brian Colin & Jon Nicholson

"When the Laser Disc Game craze hit the coin-op market, I jumped at the chance to create a feature-length interactive film/game modeled after an interactive text adventure I had written some time earlier. (My first, and only, attempt at writing a game using Assembler Code). Working with co-workers, amateurs and film students in an unheated, abandoned mental institution on a shoestring budget that covered little more than the film and processing, we finished the completed the film in just under 8 months. Unfortunately, by that time, Bally/Midway had been badly criticized for their decision to use Video Disc technology, NOT Laser-Disc technology, on their much-touted NFL game disc project, and all future game disc projects were abandoned. "

________________________

It was right around this time that Bally/Midway announced that they would be moving all game development to Bally/Sente in California, and that anyone who wanted to keep their job would have to move there. Brian and Jeff refused to relocate, so an agreement was made at the eleventh hour to allow them to work from their respective homes.

"I built a small office on the back of my property, (I have a wooded half acre in the far southern suburbs), started working all hours of the day and night, met with Jeff Nauman a couple times a week, and my quality of life improved dramatically. Its interesting to note that they closed the California development offices within a 16 months or so and moved the remnants back to Illinois; but by then, working at home had become an established routine." - BC

________________________

Blasted
Blasted started out as a four-player, head-to-head laser tag game developed specifically for release at a London Trade Show, and was originally entitled International Team Laser. When earnings did not match expectations, designers Brian Colin & Jeff Nauman re-worked and re-named the game; resulting in a sort of sniper's shooting gallery in which collateral damage was a big part of the game's appeal.

Arch Rivals�Part 1
Conceived on a domestic cross country flight and scrawled onto a handy barf bag by avid sports fan Jeff Nauman, this game concept was fueled by a desire to employ real basketball strategies, unlike previous sports-themed games that relied on mastering arbitrary video game skills to score points. Though not much of a sports fan, co-designer Brian Colin immediately embraced the concept, which focused on the ability to give limited control over a cpu-controlled teammate. Suddenly shooting at the basket was just one part of a much richer experience; passing, blocking, stealing and even punching were now part of the mix. (The punching was added just for fun; the guys reasoned that encouraging personal fouls would give the game a humorous touch that would appeal to a broader audience.) Arch Rivals pioneered a game play mechanic that would bring video games to a whole new level; a solid base for literally dozens of games that would emulate it in the years to come...

...but would the designers be allowed to finish the game?

________________________

It's at this point that the Hart Street history comes to an abrupt end. The Bally Corporation sold Midway Manufacturing to longtime coin-op rival, Williams Electronics.

________________________

WILLIAMS BALLY/MIDWAY

As noted elsewhere, when the dust settled, the only two arcade designers that were offered positions at Williams Electronics' Roscoe Street factory in Chicago, were Brian Colin and Jeff Nauman. Although they were full-time salaried employees, Brian and Jeff continued to work out of their respective home offices 2-3 days a week.

THE GAMES

Arch Rivals�Part 2
The project was well underway prior to the move, but when the decision was made to test the game earlier than originally scheduled; a fair amount of scrambling had to take place. A new, funky music track from sound programmer Dan Forden added the finishing touch, and Arch Rivals was released. Earnings and sales far exceeded management's expectations, making the first Williams Bally/Midway game an unqualified hit.

"...A couple of years later I was told that the total profits made from the sales of Arch Rivals Games equaled the amount that WMS had paid for the purchase of MIDWAY; the ironic implication being that that if Bally had just hung on for a few months, they would not have had to sell. I don't know if there's any truth to the rumor, but it's a fun, flattering, bit of industry gossip, nonetheless." - BC

Pigskin 621ad
Williams already had a mainstream football game in the works, so when designers Brian Colin and Jeff Nauman decided to expand on the multi character control they created for Arch Rivals, they decided to go as far as possible outside the "main stream" as possible. Dubbed "Ancient Arch Rivals on a Rampage", Pigskin was a hilarious mix of rugby, ruffians and cartoon violence. The game let players control an entire team of sword-wielding barbarians passing, pushing, punting and punching their way up the field (or across the dungeon). Once again, Dan Forden created all the sound effects and a killer score. Named "Video Sports Simulation Of The Year" by Video Games magazine.

"...Pigskin is probably my all time favorite of our "Head-to-Head" arcade games. The sheer madness of a dozen player controlled warriors battling over a ball coupled with the ability to adjust the attitude of your cpu-controlled teammates on the fly makes it, for me, a nice blend of non-stop action and "real-time" strategy." - BC

*The Ugly Stick Never released
This weird, cartoony, multiplayer game was sorta like Tag with a Two-By-Four played by a handful of annoying little Monsters. Never completed. Art: Brian Colin Programming: Jeff Nauman.


________________________

"An Electronics Arts producer had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get us to consider a move to California for about a year, when he suddenly switched tactics and asked me if we'd ever considered going out on our own. I had been thinking about forming an independent game development company ever since the Bally/Sente upheaval, and although Jeff had previously been hesitant, our agreements with Williams Bally/Midway had expired for several months previously. Ultimately, management's contractual foot-dragging proved to be the push Jeff needed. So we said our goodbyes, and formed our own company.

________________________

GAME REFUGE INC

GAME REFUGE INC has been designing and developing product for the Coin-Operated Arcade, Coin-Operated Gaming and Home Console markets for since 1992, with a client list that includes such industry leaders as Electronic Arts, Midway Manufacturing, WMS Industries, Team Play Inc, Merit Industries, Monaco Entertainment, American Laser Games, Komatsu America, West Creek Studios, The 3DO Company and TouchTunes GameStudio.

Some interactive industry professionals who got their start at Game Refuge include Sean McMenemy, Mark Seika, Tom Konkol, Rob Dollase, Aaron Hartline, Ben Naumann (no relation), Yu Gu, Mark Smotzer, Shane Duncan, Sam Yoo, Bobby Llereza, Mike Ashcraft, Bob Montgomery, Andy Senesac, Blake Drolson, Manny Najera, Monte Krol, Lynne Zeglin, Tim Truesdale and Paul Waterman, just to name a few.

"Our first trip out to EA was a bit nerve wracking. We wanted to be sure that we left Williams Bally/Midway without any hard feelings (or legal ambiguities) so we severed all ties with Midway prior to going out to meet with EA for the first time! We hadn't divulged any game ideas to EA, hadn't discussed money, hadn't really given much thought to the business side of things at all. Essentially, we were working without a net. We met the EA folks, pitched "General Chaos", deflected a marketing attempt to change our war-game to a gang-war, and struck a 3-game Agreement all on the same day! Our dream of a Game Refuge had become a reality.

THE GAMES


General Chaos A squad-based combat game in which players controlled up to 5 different soldiers with different sets of abilities, General Chaos was a non-stop-action, real-time-strategy war game. Though ahead of its time, the game was in many ways the next logical step after Arch Rivals and Pigskin. The game was very well received, and became EA's best-selling original (non-licensed) Sega Genesis title for the year in which it was released. Programming: Jeff Nauman, Art: Brian Colin. Design: Colin/Nauman.

"As the first project for our own company, the General Chaos development experience was exhilarating and liberating. Jeff and I live about 60 miles apart, but years of working together enabled us to make the most out of our limited face time, (usually at a Hooters halfway between our offices), and the work itself was so much fun I came awfully close to feeling guilty about it at times. The game took off; we hired a few people, and got busy on the next couple of projects." - BC

*Major Snafu
*Plunder Never Released


"We were about half-way through the General Chaos sequel (Major Snafu) and a second Genesis game, (Plunder) when EA asked us to put those games 'on hold" and help them with their newly formed Coin-Op division. Our new game would be the second after the release of an "arcade version" of their wildly successful MADDEN Football game."

*RC Squared Never Released
A wacky, cartoon-intensive four-player Radio Controlled Vehicle racing game in which Players raced through and disrupted dozens of densely-populated environments. Programming: Jeff Nauman, Art: Brian Colin, Sean McMenemy, Rob Dollase, Tom Konkol, Mark Sieka. Sounds Music: Brian Schmidt. Design: Colin/Nauman.

"We were about two months away from completing RC2 when EA coin-op folded due to the dismal earnings and sales of the Madden Arcade Football piece. This was our first experience with a company going out of business before the game we were hired to do was completed, and unfortunately, it would not be the last. Later that same year, The 3DO Company hired us to do a tongue-in-cheek Fighting game and went out of business a few months after we got started, and American Laser Games did the same thing several months into the development of an ambitious 3D Basketball project about a year later."

"Meanwhile, whenever we'd meet up with Midway's main man Ken Fedesna at ongoing industry events and trade shows, he always made a point to ask us, "� when are you coming back?" So we dropped by to discuss some possibilities, and when Midway marketing director Joe Dillon said they were looking for games with a broader audience appeal, Jeff and I looked at each other and said, "�let's redo Rampage!" - BC

Rampage World Tour
More of a remake than a sequel, Rampage World Tour was conceived and created for Midway by the original Rampage designers Brian Colin and Jeff Nauman and their independent game development company Game Refuge Inc. The 3 original monsters, George, Lizzy and Ralph were initially joined by Vern; who was originally supposed to be a fourth player, but ended up being a flying mutant character transformation instead. Programming: Jeff Nauman, Joel Nauman, Lynne Zeglin, Blake Drolson. Art: Brian Colin, Sean McMenemy, RobDollase, Aaron Hartline, Tom Konkol, Mark Sieka, Jeff Croke. Sounds/Music: Dr Dave Zabriskie, Vince Pontarelli & Mike Colin (no relation). Design: Brian Colin/Jeff Nauman.
Short Video: "Creating RAMPAGE WORLD TOUR: The Final Hours"

"I had a lot of fun expanding the environmental Rampage World Tour "backstory" which centers around the ecologically irresponsible SCUMLABS Corporation and it's corrupt CEO Eustas DeMonic. The game had lots of room for detail and hidden content, and virtually everyone in the two GRI office locations contributed. The game's finale, though tame by today's standards, featured the shrunken monsters bouncing around, and upon, Dr Betty Veronica's ample bosom. It was not included in most home versions of the game. " - BC

Tennis Ace
Puck Shot
Air Shot
Goooal
Designed by Game Refuge for Merit Industries' Megatouch Coin-Op system, these action and skill-based Touchscreen Console games were a dramatic departure from the puzzle and trivia games that made up the bulk of this manufacturer's titles. The inclusion of the first two games caused their sales to more than quadruple over earlier predictions. Tennis Ace featured a "First-Person 3D view" of a tennis match in which the player hit, slammed, lofted or spun the ball with the touch of a finger. Puck Shot was a "First-Person 3D view" of a shuffle alley and Air Shot (originally Slap Shot) was a "First-Person 3D view" of an Air Hockey table. Goooal was a soccer game that featured multi-character, squad based control. All of these games are now considered standards and can still be found in the latest versions of the MegaTouch System. Programming: Design: Brian Colin/Jeff Nauman. Programming: Jeff Nauman, Joel Nauman, Kirk Nauman. Art: Brian Colin, Mark Sieka.

"A big part of what makes game design fun for me is the challenge of "pushing against the box', that is, treating the limitations as challenges that can be surmounted through a bit of creative thinking. Sometimes you're trying to overcome hardware or system limitations, such as the non-animating background in Rampage, or the non-scrolling hardware in Arch Rivals... but the challenge of these touchscreen "skill" games was the intended audience: baby-boomer-age bar patrons with limited attention spans, a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other! For me, the smaller scope of these games marked a return to the earlier days of coin-op design: ...simple yet engaging concepts with well-tuned, player-friendly play mechanics that could be conceived, developed, tested and released within a very short period of time."

"Around this time we were approached by a gentleman who asked us if we could help him "...bring arcade development principals to the Gaming Industry". A couple of months later we were designing and developing Video Slot Machines that would be produced by the world's largest coin-op gaming manufacturer, IGT." - BC

The Munsters
The Honeymooners
Five Card Instant Bingo
Tailgate Party
Dick Clark's TV Censored Bloopers
Money Storm
Deep Pockets
The above Video Slots games were developed in association with Great Circle Gaming Corporation for IGT. The games were wildly popular, and increased IGT's domination of the market dramatically, and several of them are still in production almost 8 years after their initial release! Art: Brian Colin, Mark Seika, Ben Naumann, Mark Smotzer, Shane Duncan, Sam Yoo, Mike Ashcraft. Design: Nauman & Colin.

"The creative challenge with regards to Slot Machines was making a game fun without the use of skill since, by law, Gaming devices must be games of chance, not skill. It should be noted that since the manufacturer was solely responsible for all of the final math and programming, our role was limited to art, design, and in some cases, original game concepts. We got the first of our three Gaming Industry Method Patents during this time. - BC

Star Trek Voyager: The Arcade Game
Star Trek: Voyager is an arcade gun-shooting game in the grand tradition of Area 51, Virtua Cop and The House of the Dead. Unlike those games, though, it's populated by original alien adversaries designed exclusively for the Star Trek universe by the creators of General Chaos and Rampage World Tour. Named "Video Game Of the Year -2002" by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., this pulse-pounding shoot-em-up can be still be found in finer arcades, movie theaters and entertainment centers everywhere! Developed for Monaco Entertainment and manufactured by Team Play Inc. Programming: Monte Krol, Tim Truesdale, Jeff Nauman, Art: Ben Naumann, Tom Konkol, Mark Seika, Brian Colin. Design: Colin & Nauman

"This client came to us with a license for the STV Intellectual Property and asked us to create an "Area 51-style" gun game. The client had no association with a manufacturer or arcade hardware system, so in addition to the normal challenge of designing the game, we had to design it without knowing the system it would eventually be manufactured for! We actually finished the game almost two years before it was finally manufactured & released.

"Having a few hardcore trekkies on the team helped in a variety of ways... I remember during one trip to Paramount, artist Ben Naumann (no relation) and I were wandering around soundstages when we were confronted by an annoyed, cigar-chomping Levar Burton who demanded to know what we were doing on his closed set. I was speechless, visions of the deal going south running through my head, but Ben blurted out: "Mr Burton! I absolutely loved episode Blah-de-blah, in which Geordie blah-de-blahed blah blah..." Mr. Burton was more than mollified, and after only a few more moments of unabashed gushing fandom later, we made our escape." - BC

Alfred Hitchcock
Match Game
The Great Cheese Caper
Monopoly Grand Hotel
Monopoly Own It All
The above Video Slots were developed by Game Refuge for WMS Gaming. Art: Brian Colin, Mark Seika, Bobby Llereza, Mike Ashcraft, Bob Montgomery, Sam Yoo. Design: Nauman & Colin.

"After helping IGT 'raise the bar' to new heights, a number of other gaming manufacturers asked for our help as well. We developed the above Video Slots games for Chicago-based WMS Gaming and, like our previous slot projects, many can still be found on casino floors the world over." - BC


*Wild Pitch Never released
An "Arch Rivals" approach to Baseball with a fun and original gameplay mechanic.

"Unfortunately, this is another example of trying to develop a game for a hardware system that didn't yet exist, yet unlike the Star Trek experience, the game was put on test before all of the kinks were worked out of the hardware, and the game never earned enough to warrant production. It should be noted, however, that when we would take our GRI Emergency Arcade (a Step Van full of games) to summer fairs and events in subsequent years, Wild Pitch was invariably the highest-earning game in our stable, beating out the combined earnings of Rampage World Tour, Star Trek Voyager, Pigskin and two MegaTouch systems. Go figure." - BC

The Komatsu Challenge
The Komatsu Challenge 2008
A custom-designed "advergame", THE KOMATSU CHALLENGE, became the unequivocal "Hit of the Show" when it made its' debut at ConExpo 2005 in Las Vegas. This multi-player Off-Road Racing game was played on six interactive, networked, arcade-style "Player Stations" �with additional widescreen monitors overhead which enabled the assembled crowds to watch live "camera coverage" of the onscreen action (as well as the strategically-placed Komatsu products that were featured throughout the game). In addition, though the game was specifically designed for the trade show audience, thousands of PC "Home Versions" of the game were sold at the onsite company store. The game was enjoyed by thousands over the course of the week long event. Programming: Manny Najera, Art: Brian Colin, Sam Yoo, Bobby Llereza, Mike Ashcraft, Bob Montgomery, Andy Senesac. Design: Colin & Nauman.

"As veteran arcade videogame designers, we understand all too well that a successful "Advergame" must appeal to several distinct groups with greatly differing agendas. The client has products to promote, budgets to maintain, and a corporate identity to project. The marketing professional is looking for exciting, yet cost-effective, ways to keep the client happy. The attendees at the trade show want to be surprised and amused... the account reps want crowded booths... the event coordinators need to keep the lines moving forward� and each and every individual who steps up to the game is simply looking for a good time!" - BC

Deliverance
A PC action/exploration game created for West Creek Studios. This unique title is actually a fighting game with the Player portraying everybody's favorite old-testament pharaoh-stomper 'Moses' as he leads his people out of Slavery. Programming: Manny Najera, Art: Brian Colin, Bobby Llereza, Bob Montgomery, Andy Senesac, Vince Carbone and West Creek Studios, Design: West Creek Studios, Brian Colin & Jeff Nauman

Rescue Riders
Similar to the Komatsu Challenge above, this custom-designed "advergame" was designed to be both an Trade Show Event as well as a stand-alone PC Game. This "help the helpless" stunt driving game created for the ELCA featured a unique play mechanic in which cooperation, (not competition), was the motivating factor. Programming: Manny Najera, Art: Brian Colin, Andy Senesac, Bobby Llereza, Bob Montgomery, Vince Carbone. Design: Brian Colin.

Arctic Stud Poker Run
ARCTIC STUD POKER RUN is an outrageous, unprecedented, action-packed "FULL-CONTACT Poker" game that combines humor and heavily-armed high-speed vehicles into a surprisingly strategic, one-of-a-kind Tournament experience! This unique combination of Cards, Courage, Strategy & Skill produces a White-Knuckle LAN Gaming Experience like no other! The project was released in the spring of 2008 by GOT GAME ENTERTAINMENT. Programming: Manny Najera, Jeff Nauman. Art: Brian Colin, Bob Montgomery, Bobby Llereza, Andy Senesac, Vince Carbone. Sound & Music: Jeff Colin, Trevor Lach, Kevin Decker. Design: Brian Colin, Jeff Nauman

"This game started out as an experiment about 3 years ago; an attempt to create a "non-linear race" that could be employed in a vehicular deathmatch-type scenario. We had a simple version up and running in a week or so, and from the first moment we saw it in action, we were hooked. Now, we're a small company; we had our hands full with a number of other (paying) projects at the time, but even though we didn't have a client (or intended audience, for that matter), we knew that this was something we had to finish. So we kept at it; devoting virtually every spare moment of the next 18 months to developing this game. Developing this game was a tremendous amount of fun, and one the most enjoyable game development experiences of my career. On the other hand, trying to bring it to market "independently" has been a real eye-opener; it's always humbling to learn just how much you don't know about an industry you've been a part of for over 25 years." - BC

Space Goblins
MotoCross Country
Bobblehead Baseball
Ball Bobblers
UncoverGirls
Psychic 21
Ball Buster
Fishin' Hole
Cap'n Zack
Bag Toss
Shuff O Bowl Bocce Ball
Sundae School
Cave Bam
These games were designed by Brian Colin & Jeff Nauman and developed over the past 18 months for a brand-new coin operated touchscreen technology, the TouchTunes PlayPortt. These lightweight, PORTABLE countertop touchscreen game systems are designed to be brought back a players's table, making them a vast improvement over the current Bar-Mounted touchscreen systems. Design: Brian Colin, Jeff Nauman. Programming: Jeff Nauman, Eddie Riveron. Art: Brian Colin, Bobby Llereza, Nick Fedesna, Cory Carvatta.

Deadliest Catch
Game Refuge Designers helped Hive Media take their unique Facebook game, based on the hit TV show, from concept to completion in just under five months. Development Director: Brian Colin, Programming: Denise Bacher, Joseph Walters* Art: Brian Colin, Bobby Llereza.

Flirt Planet
Game Refuge Designers are helping Truly Social Entertainment create a new Game Genre: "Flirtual Reality". The first half of this ambitious undertaking is currently being "BETA" tested on Facebook, and can be found on www.facebook.com











 
 
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