Sunday, July 13, 2014

I got to meet Eugene Jarvis and Sam Dicker!

I've become increasingly interested in Williams' early arcade games ever since digging deep into Star Rider's interesting/complicated design so I was quite interested to hear what Eugene Jarvis and Sam Dicker (who worked on the 1980 game, Defender) had to say at California Extreme 2014.  After their remarks, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with both of them.

I asked Sam about Rich Witt (who put an Easter Egg in the Star Rider PIF board ROM program) and Chuck Bleich (whose name appears on the schematics). Sam said that he did indeed know Rich but had no idea what had happened to him and was interested if I knew his contact information.  I reported that I did not, but I was hoping to one day tell Rich that I found his hidden easter egg inside the PIF board ROM.  Sam told me that Chuck Bleich was the guy who designed the hardware.

I also asked Eugene Jarvis about Rich Witt and Chuck Bleich.  Eugene told me that he didn't know Rich very well but did know Chuck and also confirmed that Chuck was the guy who designed the hardware.  I've sent a few messages to Chuck but so far I have not received any response.  I'd love to just chat about the hardware for no other reason than I've spent so much time reverse engineering it.  I also told Eugene that I had written an emulator for Star Rider and I asked him about the origins of the special Williams blitter chips.  Eugene told me that he thought that Greg Wepner was the guy behind the design of the chips, and I have seen Greg's name on the Star Rider expander board schematic.  I think that is pretty amazing to get more insight into the special chips.

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