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Irish History Week: 5 Questions with David Perry

March 15, 2009

Thanks to David Perry, CCO of Acclaim, for generously kicking off Irish History Week. This interview offers a personal glimpse of David rarely covered by the game media.

I one thing I love about Ireland is just how much they support Irish people. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I know that the Irish people have my back. It’s like going out into the world, but always having an Irish safety net.

1. Who are you, and what’s your role in the game industry?

David Perry, CCO Acclaim Games. Started in 1981, been a programmer, designer, producer, director, then turned to the dark side and became executive management at a publishing company.

2. What is your connection to Ireland?

Born there, grew up there, went to school there and I have the legal right to wear those “Kiss me I’m Irish” T-Shirts on St. Patrick’s Day.

3. Ireland is home to so many amazing myths. Why do you suppose so few find their way into the games that we make?

That’s a really good question. I think the answer is that so few people are aware of them. That fact is then combined with the slight issue that many of the stories are pretty out there. Here’s an example: Giant’s Causeway. This is an AMAZING place to visit, but it has quite the story attached, see the bit that starts “Legend has it…”  (WTF?)

Giant's Causeway
4. Along with its myths, Ireland is also home to more battles for land than most can count. Historically speaking, are there any figures would enjoy seeing memorialized in a game the way Americans memorialize generals such as Sherman and Lee?

Well that’s a little controversial. When I was there, there was a lot of terrorism. If you take sides these days, that’s not so cool. So I’m gonna sit on the fence. There were plenty of battles in Irish history, all I can say is that the new Ireland today (without the battles) has generated two much more interesting, vibrant, exciting regions (north and south of the border). I hope that Battles in Ireland are now just entirely left in history books, and I don’t think any of them should be celebrated, made into movies or games. This is a new world now and Ireland is evolving into a key player at an astonishing rate, so I’d be more than happy to let the previous chapters stay closed.

5. As you mentioned, you grew up in Northern Ireland during a particularly turbulent time in its history. Just as artists in other mediums use such experiences as catalysts for their work, has this factored into your work as an artist?

Not really (thank goodness). I think it makes me an optimist. I’m always feeling hope, and it’s really tough to get me down. That’s really what happened to Ireland, is people never gave up their hope and now they’ll never give up the freedom that the cease-fire has provided them with. You can hear that reflected in just about everything coming out of Ireland, you don’t hear U2 writing songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday anymore.

I one thing I love about Ireland is just how much they support Irish people. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I know that the Irish people have my back. It’s like going out into the world, but always having an Irish safety net. The welcome I got the last time I returned was remarkable, and I just can’t imagine that many other countries in the world being so supportive?

Just last year, as an example, they gave me a Doctorate in Engineering, at the same time as Nelson Mandella, I kid you not. They take care of their people and that’s cool. I remember as a kid an Irish boxer was going to fight in London and the Irish people brought the airlines to a standstill, trying to get over to support him. They had to schedule extra planes just to handle the support. You get the point.

The only problem with Ireland is they have very few game developers, but that’s slowing changing, finally!

– Brenda Brathwaite

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2009 1:02 pm

    That’s cool. David’s a great guy, I’ve worked on a couple of his projects. He’s had many roles in game projects and even talked at the DICE summit and TED. His blog has some interesting TED talks, including his.

    http://www.dperry.com/archives/news/dp_blog/some_other_ted/
    http://www.dperry.com/archives/news/dp_blog/elizabeth_gilbe/

    He is very right though about their being more to use than just the multitude of fights that have gone on. Irish culture has some truly fascinating myths, tradition, history and art. Celtic knotwork, Irish folk music the Fa’e and much more are waiting to be used. If I was a better visual artist, I think I’d try to make a game from some of the things I know. As a writer, I’m occasionally overcome with the desire to write about those things. For an idea what I’m talking about, check out the Celtic Woman.
    http://www.celticwoman.com/

    I am willing to admit that I’d love to work on a game project using their music somehow.

    Anyway, It’s cool to see this. Oh, and for those wondering, that’s the way he is most of the time. His right hand man, Rusel DeMaria, is a great guy too.

    • March 16, 2009 8:29 pm

      @Steven – Indeed, Irish history is a super rich subject. I’ve been studying it for years now, and am fascinated with all aspects of it, too. My family name is Donovan, originally from Country Cork.

  2. March 16, 2009 1:13 pm

    I forgot to mention something. It’s the reason I’m so interested in the Irish stuff, besides finding it interesting. Egan is a surname derived from an Irish clan name. The castle is in tact and the history of the clan gives a unique view of Irish history. Simply put, normally the infrastructure of the previous rulers is replaced, but the Mac Aodhagáin clan was left in place. For more on this, check out the clan website, and the history section.

    http://www.clanegan.org/

    … It might be interesting to play a game combining several of the Irish myths and locations in something like an Alice in Wonderland style. That could be really cool.

  3. March 16, 2009 7:35 pm

    I have lived in Ireland all my life and have always loved the myths and legends. One of my favourites has always been how Cuchulainn got his name
    I think the amazing and far out nature of some of the stories makes them so much more appealing. I imagine that many of the stories survived orally (I could be wrong) for a long-time before finally being recorded. The image of the Seanchaí adding a little bit more to the story each time it was told comes to mind. Another great one is the “Salmon of Knowledge”
    Wow, I feel really motivated to root out some books of Irish legends (that I have somewhere)
    Happy St.Patrick’s Day

Trackbacks

  1. Psychochild’s Blog » Weekend Design Challenge: The Giant’s Causeway
  2. Weekend Design Challenge: The Giant?s Causeway | Adult Blog

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