Howard Scott Warshaw
is a really strange guy. Though, you would be if you were any good at writing 6502 assembly
for the Atari 2600
. I met him in 1997 at a game convention in Philadelphia. He autographed my Yars' Revenge
cart as well as the Yars comic book
that came along with the game.
Howard was one of Atari's most well known programmers. He said that he made a million dollars by the time he was in his mid twenties, but ended up going into an insane amount of debt with the IRS. He really liked to talk about what went on at Atari behind the scenes. He directed and produced a cheesy but cool home-grown video series called Once Upon Atari, where he interviews with many of the old Atari programmers and talks about plenty of Atari antics.
Howard was given six weeks to program E.T. for the 2600. Considering how hard it is to program anything at all for the 2600, the end product is stellar.
Howard told me about when he and a couple of Atari's other star coders were considering leaving the company. Their boss called them all into a room one afternoon and told them he thought they might be thinking about leaving, and passed each of them an envelope with a check inside. He said the check was for $50,000 ....