Tornado Alley (1997-1999)

Magnadoodle box
Tornado Alley was a very small group of ex-Ultima Online people that wanted to bring massively multiplayer online games to children aged 8-12. We were pretty sure the road was going to be bumpy - and we were right.

It turned out that companies like Hasbro and Mattel were interested in the idea, but when they heard the price tag - a whopping $5 million dollars, they gave us the cold shoulder. It turns out that companies like Mattel were spending something like 10% of that amount on kids titles - and if the box had Barbie on it they were selling millions of units.

I guess we should have pitched Barbie World !

Along the way I hooked up with a group developing a kids activity title for Mattel called Magnadoodle. Their developer had run aground and the Gold Master had to be ready in five weeks. Two other tireless developers and I hammered it out. Until that time I had never seen a design document written in five weeks much less a game.

After a little more than two years it was time to hang it up and go get a real job. That's how I got my job at Glass Eye.