Sunday, January 26

Once Upon Atari Tod Frye was assigned the task of converting the smash hit arcade game, Pac-Man, to the VCS. This was before programmers were paid royalties. It was an immensely important assignment. Towards the end of the project, the Atari Marketing people made the mistake of emphasizing just how many millions of dollars were riding on his timely completion of the game. Realizing his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Tod put a gun to the head of his managers: pay me royalties of ten cents per cartridge for this, or I walk. You'll have to start all over with a new programmer, and the game will be delayed by months, costing you millions in wasted marketing expenses. Atari was caught in a terrible position. They had presumed that, having agreed to take the project, Tod would finish it in good faith. Now they were caught in a trap. They had no recourse -- they had to cave in to Tod's demands. His ploy gained him several million dollars.


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