Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Surprise

Yesterday, I listed the primary people who worked on Fairway Solitaire.

One of them was "John Cutter."

Steve e-mailed me and suggested that "John Cutter" and the John Cutter of Cinemaware legend were the same person.

As it turns out, they are.

Ouch. How could I miss that?

Here's the deal. John Cutter was my single favorite designer of the 1980s. He put out brilliant game after brilliant game with Cinemaware: Rocket Ranger, TV Sports: Football, TV Sports: Basketball, TV Sports: Boxing, The Three Stooges, and Wings. They all featured outstanding design--Cutter just had an unerring sense of what was fun.

One of those designs would have been a nice career for most designers. He did all of those games in five years.

Oh, and a little game called Betrayal at Krondor in 1993.

From 1987-1991, during the "golden age" of Cinemaware, I easily spent (and this is no exaggeration) over five hundred hours playing the games he designed. It could easily be argued that John Cutter was the single most influential designer in my gaming life.

So it's no wonder that Fairway Solitaire has such a brilliant, flawless design. It's the same kind of quality and skill that John Cutter has demonstrated many, many times throughout his career.

Here's how great John Cutter is as a designer. I was able to find eight games (thanks MobyGames) where he was listed as a designer (the seven I've listed plus GBA Championship Basketball: Two-on-Two in 1986), I've played them all, and every single one is at least an "A" game. Every single one. And four of them (Rocket Ranger, Wings, TV Sports: Football and TV Sports: Basketball), are "A+" games.

That is an astounding record as a designer.

Oh, and Fairway Solitaire? A+. Again.

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