Mike Berlyn, creator of Bubsy and co-founder of Bend Studio, has passed away

Born in 1949, Mike Berlyn entered the world of video games as a writer for text adventure games at Sentient Software and Infocom in the early 1980s. From this period we can remember games that are now almost forgotten, such as Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare (1983) , Infidel (1983) and Killers (1984). At the same time, he works as a professor of creative writing at Harvard with his wife Muffy. In 1986, Mike Berlyn started to stand on his own two feet by co-founding the mini-studio Brainwave Creations with his wife. The couple publishes Tass Times in Tonetown at Activision, an adventure game described in magazines as surreal and avant-garde Calculate! And macworld. Berlyn’s prose, lively, dynamic and compelling, brings him a small success of prestige. In the late 1980s, the writer detoured to Cape Cod, California to become producer of Keef the Thief, one of Naughty Dog’s very first games.

A few years later, in 1992, Mike Berlyn and his partner Mark Blank founded Blank, Berlyn & Co., Inc. At this time, Berlyn got tired of adventure games. His accidental discovery of the first Sonic the Hedgehog fascinates him. On behalf of Accolade, he creates his own platform mascot: Busy, with relatively similar gameplay. The first game, published on Super Nintendo and Megadrive, received critical acclaim in the world press at the time (83% ate joystick !). Alas, the move to 3D was an absolute carnage for the small team, already re-stamped Eidetic. Issued in 1996, Busy 3D becomes the laughingstock of video games with its harsh controls, colorimetrically aggressive art direction, and clunky camera. If Mike Berlyn isn’t the only one who has broken his teeth on this thorny transition, his production has become something of a symbol. In France we mainly knew him through the Attic player, That is to say. This episode was unfortunately enough to erase the memory of the first one Busy and bury the mascot.

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After which the Eidetic studio was approached by 989 Studios, a division of Sony Computer Entertainment, to Siphon filter. Mike Berlyn leaves the studio in full development. He explained his gesture in the columns of Game developer in 2005: “I didn’t like the direction the industry was taking, who was leading it, or the nature of the products being developed. I preferred to leave before the end of the project and I asked that my name not appear in the credits. I left my own company. If you want to put monks or nuns in my game and have them hold a gun to encourage players to shoot them, I think it’s against the rules of good taste. I’m not saying it offends me. But I find it tasteless.Mike Berlyn then devoted himself to small games casualof which Triblets, still archived on the Big Fish Games website. He said he enjoyed creative independence, working peacefully with his wife, and the simplicity of small budgets. For their part, Eidetic has become Bend Studios, privileged partners of PlayStation. Their latest major project is Days Gone.

Parallel to its activities of game designer, Mike Berlyn was interested in other forms of artistic creation. In 1998, he unsuccessfully founded Cascade Mountain Publishing, a publishing company focused on ebooks and interactive fiction. The company closed its doors in 2000. Berlyn was also a novelist: his bibliography counts The integrated man (1980), crystal phoenix (1980), curse (1981) and Eternal enemy (1990). Berlyn was also a jazzman for some time in the confidential group Hot Mustard, whose discography has unfortunately disappeared from online stores.

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