Starflight Userlog Entry

Sat May 9 22:25:37 MDT 1998
From: Justin R.
Location: Northern CA

Wow!!! You know I was sifting through some old computer games out in my garage and came across Starflight. Seeing that box again brought back fond memories of playing countless hours of Staflight. By far, Starflight is my all-time favorite game. Gawd, if only they would do a remake of it with today's technology.

Here's another cool bit of info for you. I went to a small private school in Irvine Ca, called Mardan. When I first met one of the school administrators and told her that computer gaming was a hobby of mine, she asked what my favorite game was. I didn't even have to hesitate to tell her that it was Starflight. Once I told her she asked me to repeat it again, and so I did. I almost sh@t my pants when she told me that she was Greg Johnson's mother!!! I couldn't friggin believe it. A few weeks later, she was cool enough to arrange for Greg come visit the school so I could meet with him. I have to tell you man, I was honored to meet Greg and talk about Starflight and Starflight 2.

BTW: If you dig out your old Interstel security wheel, you'll see my old school Mardan listed on it :)

Great site!!!

Long Live Starflight!!!


... from, Nov 16, 2006...
As such, his entry into the games field, with open-ended space role playing game Starflight, came from what he describes as an unwillingness to “want to get a real job”. His passion for the industry and its product has been clear from the very start, though – Johnson notes that he worked on the game for developer Binary Systems “almost for free”, living off money loaned to him by a friend.

“I promised my friend a cut of my royalties,” he adds.

Johnson worked on the title as designer, noting that he does “hate to hog all the credit” when there were “some pretty bright guys on that team and they contributed a lot to the design”. However, he comments that he feels his job was “was coming up with all of the ‘what’ and their jobs were figuring out the ‘how’”.

“No small task when none of us had ever built a game before,” he muses. “I had never really designed a game before, and hadn't really played any role playing games - since they largely didn't exist yet. I can't say that I had goals; I just sort of winged it. It's funny looking back on it now - just by happenstance I ended up creating a very open ended system where players could go anywhere and do whatever and a story sort of unfolded. It also had a pretty advanced emotional state conversational system in it.”

Fortunately, the game ended up in the hands of publisher Electronic Arts, under the guidance of producer Joe Ybarra, who Johnson credits with keeping the game in development.

“Starflight was almost cancelled many times,” he recalls. “We were about a year late in delivering the game.”

The game was eventually released in 1986 to rave reviews, though Johnson adds that the game took “a year or so” before sales started hitting notable levels. “At the time it didn't really feel like a huge hit - it wasn't until later looking back that we realized how many units it had sold. It was a pretty neat feeling.”

The feeling must have been equally amazing for Johnson’s friend, who “eventually got the wonderful surprise of getting quadruple his money back”.

... see the rest of the interview here.

See what Greg Johnson is up to after Starflight... visit ToeJam & Earl Productions (ya, Greg made that too!).

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