Video game programmer


The Apple II series was a popular video game platform during the early home computer era. Despite being outperformed by later systems, it remained popular until the early 1990s.

In the early days of video games (from the early 1970s to mid-1980s), a game programmer also took on the job of a designer and artist. This was generally because the abilities of early computers were so limited that having specialized personnel for each function was unnecessary. Game concepts were generally light and games were only meant to be played for a few minutes at a time, but more importantly, art content and variations in gameplay were constrained by computers' limited power.

Later, as specialized arcade hardware and home systems became more powerful, game developers could develop deeper storylines and could include such features as high-resolution and full color graphics, physics, advanced artificial intelligence and digital sound. Technology has advanced to such a great degree that contemporary games usually boast 3D graphics and full motion video using assets developed by professional graphic artists. Nowadays, the derogatory term " programmer art" has come to imply the kind of bright colors and blocky design that were typical of early video games.

The desire for adding more depth and assets to games necessitated a division of labor. Initially, art production was relegated to full-time artists. Next game programming became a separate discipline from game design. Now, only some games, such as the puzzle game Bejeweled, are simple enough to require just one full-time programmer. Despite this division, however, most game developers (artists, programmers and even producers) have some say in the final design of contemporary games.