Interview:John Bartak

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John Bartak was a software engineer at Ringler Studios.

GDRI: Could you tell us about Ringler Studios itself? What games did you work on there?

JB: Ringler Studios was a small game development studio based in Costa Mesa, CA. It probably had a maximum of 15 employees. I worked there from 1993 until it closed in 1996. It was owned by Ed Ringler. The games that I worked on while I was there were:

  • ESPN Sunday Night Football for SNES and Sega Genesis
  • Clay Fighter for Sega Genesis
  • Brett Hull Hockey for Atari Jaguar
  • Charles Barkley Basketball for Atari Jaguar

The first two games shipped. The last two were completed and got good reviews from the game magazines, but Atari imploded before they shipped.

GDRI: Were the Atari Jaguar games on cartridge, CD, or both?

JB: They were both cartridge and CD.

GDRI: Do you know why Ringler Studios closed?

JB: After the work for Atari was finished, we couldn't find any new business. Plus, most of the staff (including the two senior-most developers) had left for other jobs by that point.

GDRI: Do you know what Alpine Software or The Alpine Group were? Those names show up in this bankruptcy filing, and the name Alpine Software shows up on an Atari Lynx hockey game Mr. Ringler worked on.

JB: I believe Alpine Software was the name of the studio before I started working there. I believe Ed Ringler just hired contractors to work on software. When he changed his business model to actually hiring employees, he also changed the name of the company.

Thanks to Mr. Bartak for his time. He is currently a software engineer at Autodesk, makers of CAD/CAM software.

Interview conducted via e-mail by CRV in August 2008.