I emailed Steve Wozniak, whom everyone knows is the designer of the Apple I & II
computers, for some comments on his brief foray into game design at Atari. If
you don't know the legendary story of Breakout and how Steve Jobs flim-flammed
Woz, I suggest you pick up a book about Apple's history (a good one is Apple
Confidential) and read up, or you could even visit Don Thomas' excellent
icwhen.com and check out the story. Anyway, to the subject at hand:

Q: How (be as technical as you want) did you go about minimizing the amount of
gates that were used in your design of Breakout?

Woz: I was always a very minimal designer with tons of tricks. I don't have that
particular schematic in front of me, but it was just another project for me.

Q: Was your results the same as Atari's when they had to redesign the game (i.e.
the screen output, etc.)?

Woz: I have no idea. I doubt it. I suspect that where I was 'close' to NTSC Atari got
closer, at a small cost. I don't even know all the changes they made, and
the arcade game gives me no clue.

Q: Why didn't you join Atari when Al Alcorn asked you to? This would have been a
dream job to me!

Woz: I worked for HP designing calculators. That was better for me. I wanted to
be an engineer for life and a scientific calculator meant more to me than
arcade games.

Q: And finally, did you have any other game design ideas (besides your version
of Pong)?

Woz: Yes, I had designed but not built versions of SpaceWar. But that was before
microprocessors changed game design from hardware to software. Other than that,
no. I can't say if I would have been able to complete something like a realistic
car game myself in hardware.