David Perry

This article is about David Perry, the game developer. For the David Perry who was a co-commentator on the UK video game TV show 'GamesMaster', please see Dave Perry, and for other uses, please see David Perry (disambiguation)

David Perry (born 1967) is a Northern Irish video game developer who has created dozens of computer games, the best known of which include Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah , Wild 9 and Enter the Matrix. He also founded Shiny Entertainment, where he worked from 1993-2006. The company created games for many internationally-known brands and companies, including Disney, 7 Up, McDonald's, Orion Pictures, and Warner Bros. On 3 July 2008 David was presented with an honorary doctorate from Queen's University Belfast for his services to computer gaming.


Perry was born in April, 1967 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, growing up in the towns of Templepatrick and Donegore in County Antrim, attending Templepatrick Primary School and then Methodist College Belfast.

He began writing computer game programming books in 1982 at the age of 15, creating his own games for the Sinclair ZX81. According to an interview with the BBC, Perry recalls that his first game was a driving game, "a black blob avoiding other black blobs", which he wrote and sent to a magazine, which printed it. He sent them more games and they sent him a check for GBP£450—a bit of a problem for a teenager who did not yet have a bank account. His work continued though, until he was offered a job making just £3,500/year.

At the age of 17, he moved to London, where he developed games for publishers such as Elite Systems, Mirrorsoft, and Virgin Games, working on titles such as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Terminator.

In 1991, he moved to the United States to work for the American division of Virgin Games, leading the development teams for several award-winning products, including Disney's Aladdin, 7-UP's Cool Spot, and McDonald's ''Global Gladiators.

On October 1, 1993, Perry formed his own company in Laguna Beach, California, Shiny Entertainment, naming the company after the song "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M.. The company's first game Earthworm Jim was a hit, selling millions of copies on multiple platforms, including Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and PC. The title character, an "average worm" who stumbled upon a magical suit which turned him into a superhero, became immensely popular, and spawned a variety of other types of merchandise: action figures, comic books, and a syndicated television cartoon series on the Warner Kids Network, with the title character voiced on the show by Dan Castellaneta (also known as the voice behind Homer Simpson).

In 2002, Shiny Entertainment was acquired by Atari, Inc. in a US$47M deal, with Perry signed to a longterm contract to continue on as President. Also in 2002, Perry collaborated with the Wachowski Brothers on games in coordination with their Matrix series of movies.

In May 2006, Perry then formed a company called, a consultancy firm planning to offer executive level video game industry advice.

In August 2006, Perry directed an MMORPG called 2Moons, published by Acclaim Inc. He also created the games BOTS, and a future project, Top Secret. All published by Akklaim Gaming

In September 2006, Perry then formed a company called, a business to business company to help video game development teams get funded.

In October 2006, Perry announced that he is Directing the first club style Dancing MMO for the United States PC Online Market, this title called DANCE!, due for release in the first quarter of 2007.

In February 2008, Perry re-released his Game Industry Map website, a giant, free, games database, mapping thousands of games and game companies on a map of the world, allowing students and industry employees to look up where games are made and companies based.

In April 2008, Perry announced, a Free to Play games site, promoting emerging game design talent, and giving awards and prizes to the best free casual games. Due for release in May 2008.

Perry is on the advisory board for the Game Developers Conference, and has spoken at industry venues such as E3, CES, Hollywood and Games, Digital Hollywood, iHollywood, the Game Developers Conference, SIGGRAPH, Entertainment in the Interactive Age, What Teens Want, TED 2006 , The Banff Summit, IGDA Meetings, as well as at major universities such as USC, and MIT In 2006 he co-hosted the annual Game Developers Choice Awards with Tommy Tallarico.


Perry has released an open source reference book (the first of its kind) in Wiki format for game developers to help create with him. David Perry Game Design Reference Book

On Feb 23rd, 2007 Perry announced the development of an MMOG with Acclaim Games, codenamed Top Secret. He announced that the creation of the game content would be made by the community who signs up into the team. The project has over 52,000 team members and is being covered by press around the world. The prize to a single individual will be to become (regardless of prior experience) the Director of a future Acclaim MMO title. This person will earn royalties from any games they direct for Acclaim. The goal for the prize was to create a competition with the biggest career boost seen in our industry. As they are going to be thrown in at the deep end, David Perry has even offered himself as an Executive Producer, available to make sure things keep moving forward for them. The others receive credit for the work they put into the game & experience working in a major title. Some get promoted to senior positions like Advisory Board or Moderator and some have already been hired into professional jobs (David Perry made his first hire within 7 days right out of the forums, his second a month later. The second hire is now Perry's Creative Director on a number of web based projects.) The site is being monitored closely by Headhunters who also make themselves available to answer questions and who are on the lookout for talent that surfaces during the development of the project. The net result should be the biggest team in the world making the first major community game together, the biggest career boost prize in gaming history, and a lot of spin-off teams and jobs for the talent that can demonstrate significant talent.

NOTE: This has been updated as there have been major mis-understandings what the terms of the prizes are. For more detail just visit

Perry has worked on many titles, including:


National ZX80/ZX81 Users Club Magazine (1982) Interface Publications
Tim Hartnell's Giant Book of Spectrum Games (1983) Interface Publications
49 Explosive Games for the ZX Spectrum (1983) Interface Publications
Astounding Arcade Games for your Spectrum + & Spectrum (1984) -
Sord M5 Graphics Demos [Written in BASIC] (1982) Sord
Drakmaze (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Pot-Holing Pete (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Pyjamarama (Conversion) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Herbert's Dummy Run (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Three Weeks in Paradise (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Stainless Steel (Original IP) Mikro-Gen Software Ltd.
Ikari Warriors (Arcade Game Conversion - Not Released) Elite Systems Ltd.
Great Gurianos (Arcade Game Conversion) Elite Systems Ltd.
Beyond the Ice Palace (Original IP) Elite Systems Ltd.
Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper (Conversion) via Probe Software -> Go / U.S. Gold Ltd.
Savage (Original IP) via Probe Software -> Go / U.S. Gold Ltd.
Tintin on the moon (Comic Book License) via Probe Software -> Infogrames
Dan Dare III : The Escape (Comic Book License) via Probe Software -> Virgin Games Ltd
Paperboy - II (Arcade Game Conversion) Mindscape International Ltd.
Captain Planet (TV Show License) Mindscape International Ltd.
Extreme (Original IP) Digital Integration Ltd.
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TV Show License) via Probe Software -> Mirrorsoft Ltd. / Konami
Smash T.V. (Arcade Game Conversion) via Probe Software -> Ocean Software Ltd.
Supremacy (UK) / Overlord (USA) (Original IP) via Probe Software -> Virgin Games Ltd.
The Terminator (Movie License) via Probe Software -> Virgin Games Ltd.
McDonald's Global Gladiators (Based on McD Characters) Virgin Games Ltd.
7-UP's Cool Spot (AdvertGame) Virgin Games Ltd.
Disney's "Aladdin" (Movie License) Virgin Games Ltd.
Disney's "The Jungle Book" (Movie License - Not Completed) Virgin Games Ltd.
The Terminator Sega CD (Licensed DP's Game Engine) Virgin Games Ltd.
Robocop vs Terminator (Licensed DP's Game Engine) Virgin Games Ltd.
Earthworm Jim Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Earthworm Jim 2 Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Earthworm Jim Special Ed. Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
Earthworm Jim Handheld LCD Game (Not Completed) Playmates Interactive Entertainment
MDK Playmates Interactive / Interplay Entertainment.
Wild 9 Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
R/C Stunt Copter Interplay Entertainment Inc. / Titus Games.
Messiah Interplay Entertainment, Inc.
Enter the Matrix Atari Inc.
The Matrix: Path of Neo Atari Inc.
Plague (On Hold - Resigned) Atari Inc.
Earthworm Jim: PSP (On Hold - Resigned) Atari Inc.
Shiny PSP Fighting Game (On Hold - Resigned) Atari Inc.
2Moons (Directing MMORPG) Acclaim Inc.
DANCE! (Directing MMO) Acclaim Inc.
TOP SECRET! (Directing MMO) Acclaim Inc.
Simpsons Game (Consulting) Electronic Arts


External links

  • David Perry profile on MobyGames
  • DPERRY.COM - Built to help new Talent into the Video Game Industry.
  • DPCHAT.COM - Built to let new Talent discuss the Video Game Industry.
  • DPWIKI - Built to let new Talent collaborate on projects.
  • - Perry's company formed in 2006
  • Project Top Secret
  • - Perry's free industry resource, a visual games database on a map of the world
  • - Free to Play Games site promoting emerging game talent (in development, signup now open)

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