Dombrower studied both dance and mathematics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. After his graduation he found it frustrating that the new microcomputer technology had not solved an age-old problem: how choreographers could record their work in written form. He created the DOM system on an Apple II computer in 1981, which allowed choreographers to use a simple system of codes to enter their work. The resulting dance movements were then performed by a figure on screen.
In 1982 Intellivision game design director Don Daglow (also a Pomona College graduate) recruited Dombrower to join Mattel to work on a new kind of baseball game that for the first time would feature large on-screen animated figures and multiple camera angles. Prior video games all showed a static or scrolling playfield from a single camera angle, and Daglow believed that Dombrower's experience with DOM made him the perfect programmer and animator to create the game. Dombrower made progress quickly, and Intellivision World Series Baseball's radically new design created a major market event during the Christmas television advertising season in 1982. Although the title enjoyed limited distribution because of the Video game crash of 1983, it succeeded in its ambition to prove that video games could mimic television coverage of sports events, and soon all major sports games followed its stylistic lead.
In 1986 Daglow, then working at Electronic Arts, sought out Dombrower once again. EA Founder Trip Hawkins had agreed to back the creation of another revolutionary baseball game, Earl Weaver Baseball. As they had done at Intellvision, Daglow designed the baseball simulation and overall look, while Dombrower designed the game's sophisticated visual presentation and its underlying technology. In contrast to some celebrity athletes who merely lent their names to projects, Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver worked with the team to design the game's artificial intelligence. When the game appeared in 1989, it was hailed by Computer Gaming World as one of the 25 best games of all time, and its success helped pave the way for the creation of the EA Sports brand and product line. Dombrower also led the development of the sequel, Earl Weaver Baseball II.