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Arcade game design legend alumnus Steve Ranck helps create Batman game

6 years ago by in ( News , Welcome to Brea , Who's Who )

Steve Ranck, 1982 Brea Olinda High School grad, created a Batman video game, now featured in arcades. (courtesy Gloria Ranck)


      Batman and Brea: Steven Ranck,1982 Brea-Olinda High School grad, always dreamed of working in the electronic gaming industry. When he was 13 years old he designed his first arcade game in his garage improvising with electronics and huge pieces of cardboard. “I got such a thrill when my friends would come over and play the things I made. My first project was a Star Trek game, and then I made three Star Wars games. I knew right then that this was what I wanted to do with my life,” said Steven.

        While attending Brea Olinda High School in 1981 Steven developed the grade management system which stored the students’ grades in classses. This program computed student and class averages, statistical information and commented on class’ overall achievement.

          He went on to study electronic engineering in college at Cal Poly Pomona and graduated with high honors in 1987. Eventually he went to work for a corporation and began climbing the corporate ladder. Then he heard about an opening in the gaming industry for Midway Gaming. Even though it meant a 50 percent paycut and a 70-minute commute, Steven was on his way and finally got an opportunity to write software for video games.

            He worked on projects like an N64 port of Cruis'n USA and the arcade boat racing title Hydro Thunder, which made waves in the arcade scene. Eventually Steven formed Swingin' Ape Studios, which created Metal Arms: Glitch in the System for the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2.

              Ranck was asked if he wanted to quit his job and come make coin-op games for a living. Ranck’s reply was, “Isn’t the arcade dead?” Still, it didn’t take much convincing before Ranck formed Specular Interactive and began work on a spiritual sequel to Hydro Thunder, a game called H2Overdrive, which still sells to the arcade market even five years after its initial release. The new Batman game features enough explosive action to fill a Call of Duty title, but retains a racy feel. Released last November, it’s been the most successful arcade game in the last decade. So, how did such an unusual project come to fruition? Its foundations were laid decades ago in the garage of a young boy named Steven Ranck. We knew him when!

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"Thank you" for visiting Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON). First & foremost, I am a proud mother & wife. I am also a well-rounded freelance consultant. But you can call me an enthusiastic cheerleader, supporting and promoting the city of Brea and its historic iconic Charlie's Clock turned "Charlie the Clock cartoon character!" Click on the front page illustration to read about the beloved time traveling talking clock!!

  • Carolyn Campbell

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