Arcade Video Games and User Interface Issues

Steve Mayer, Digital F/X

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 21, 1993


Creating video games pushes the state-of-the-art in computer interface designs. The video game environment requires the computer to process a wide range of input devices and compute the appropriate audio, video, and tactile user feedback. Processing has to be fast enough to introduce no perceptible delays to the player. The user interface extends beyond the mechanical processing of inputs and outputs. The game player doesn't want to be conscious of "using a computer" but rather is stepping into a story. The fact that computer technology is used in creating the play field, refereeing the game, and often is the actual opponent must be hidden by using some of the best tricks in story telling, game theory, and the field of human development psychology. The presentation will cover progress in the video game area from the early days at Atari to the latest simulator games.


Steve Mayer was one of the founders of Atari, fomer director of WCI Labs (division of Warner Communications) in NY, and has been founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer at Digital F/X (DF/X) for the past 5-6 years or so. Steve holds many patents for video game and video display technologies. DF/X makes computer-based video editing and production systems, both at the highest end of the market and desktop (mac-based ) systems. Steve and DF/X won an Emmy award two years ago for DF/X's Composium digital compositing and editing system.


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