About the Good Doctor (aka Anthony Gurr)


I’m a professional video game developer with 20 years’ experience working for publishers and studios in Canada, Japan, and the United States. On a bright spring day in April, 1988, I walked into the offices of Taito Software which was located at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. I was hired as a full time game tester for Nintendo and personal computer games. In later years, I found out one of the reasons Taito hired me was because of my ‘crazy’ passion for playing video games.

I’ve always described working in the video game industry as a ‘roller coaster’ existence full of breathtaking highs and some really gut churning lows. Not everyone survives the ride; the industry is notorious for chewing up and spitting out creative talent. Looking back on my own experiences, I consider myself fortunate to still be affiliated with the industry, as maddening as it can be. The breadth and diversity of game experiences available today compared to 1988 is really quite staggering. Just look at the rise of mobile devices as game platforms since the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, followed by the iPod Touch and now the iPad! Over the last five years, wireless internet has quickly become commonplace in many homes.

I feel that what’s missing in all this is a sense of historical perspective and understanding about the evolution of video games. The industry races ahead at hyper warpspeed, oblivious to its history, repeating mistakes made in past product development cycles. In 1995, the Sony Playstation One and PC Voodoo FX graphic cards brought three dimensional graphics into the marketplace. Back then, wise game developers realized that great graphics didn’t always translate into great game play. 15 years later, everyone was proclaiming that 3D television was going to change the videogame experience. And once again, it proved to be a false hope. No matter how awesome the technology, ‘the game play is the thing, wherein lies the conscience of the gamer king’ (with apologies to Shakespeare).

Oh yes, and contrary to popular belief among quite a few 3D computer graphic artists in the 1990’s, 2D graphics didn’t die. In fact, it flourished.  Just look at the rise of casual games! I don’t want to say I told you so, but…

Today there’s what I like to call an ‘electronic entertainment generation gap’  between parents, teachers, children, and young adults when it comes to understanding videogame hardware and software technologies.

Enter Doctor Arkanoid to prescribe a dose of clarity and thoughtful discussion to help make sense of it.