Interview:Steve Ettinger

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We e-mailed former Realtime Associates artist Laura Smith some questions about Realtime Associates Seattle Division. The e-mail was forwarded to Elizabeth Walkey, who then forwarded it to Steve Ettinger, who founded the Seattle Divison. These are his answers.

GDRI: I noticed that the old Griptonite Games/Amaze Entertainment website lists games that are also on the Realtime Associates website.

SE: This is true — many of the games developed by the Realtime Associates Seattle Division from 1994-1999 are also listed on the Griptonite Games/Amaze Entertainment website. The same people developed these games, hence the double-listing. The games listed are the "handheld" games that Realtime Associates Seattle Division worked on, but do not include the console games that this same studio worked on during those years.

The Realtime Associates Seattle Division was sold in 1999 to KnowWonder, hence the carry-over effect. It would probably be more technically correct to list these games as "Realtime Associates" games as opposed to "KnowWonder/Amaze" games, but because there was an acquisition, it gets a little fuzzy.

KnowWonder changed its name to Amaze Entertainment in 2000. Griptonite Games was one of the three "original" internal studios created within Amaze Entertainment when the company decided to rebrand itself as Amaze Entertainment and organize internally into "studios."

The other two internal studios were called KnowWonder and Adrenium. The KnowWonder name was retained for the "kids and family" group within Amaze. The name "Adrenium" was coined for the advanced console group. (The conceit was that "Adrenium" was "the element of thrill.") And Griptonite Games was the name coined for the handheld group, which has since gone on to create over 50 SKUs that have sold over 18 million units worldwide to date (and counting!).

Amaze Entertainment had employees in each of these three Seattle-based studios who were previously Realtime Associates Seattle Division employees.

GDRI: Was there really a Seattle division of Realtime Associates?

SE: Yes, this division was founded in April of 1994 by me, who was asked by Dave Warhol to open an office in the Seattle area. I had known Dave Warhol at Mattel during the early days of Intellivision, and prior to opening the Seattle Division of Realtime Associates had been a full-time contractor, programming games for Realtime Associates on the Intellivision, Game Boy, and Game Gear.

The Seattle Division started with six people its first year, doubled in size in its second year, and doubled again in year three. The studio maxed-out at one point around 35 people.

The studio started off doing handheld games on the original black-and-white Nintendo Game Boy and the color Sega Game Gear. As time went on, the studio developed games for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Game Boy Color, and the PC.

Thanks to Mr. Ettinger, Ms. Smith, and Ms. Walkey for their time.

Interview conducted via e-mail by CRV in July 2007.