Coding in the ’80s and ’90s – Part 5

by | Mar 21, 2023 | Interesting, Programming

My colleague Laszlo Nemet is a senior backend developer at Sponge Hammer. His job title doesn’t give away the vast amount of coding knowledge and experience he has been gathering over the staggering 34 years since he started game development, beginning with coding.

Laszlo Nemet

This is the closing episode of the interview I made with Laszlo. Previously he spoke a lot about the difficulties of the ’80s and ’90s when he started game development.

How have the challenges in development changed over the decades?

In the beginning, just displaying a moving dot on a screen was a challenge (chuckles). But on a serious note, I think speed was the biggest challenge in the past – how to display the number of graphics on the screen basically. with the slow hardware we had. Nowadays, the processors and graphic cards are extremely powerful, and the challenge is more creating good enough quality graphics for the consumers.

Was making games better 30 years ago?

That makes me feel old. When you look back on a thirty-year career in game development, it means you are old.

Too old.

I believe that every era of game development has had its positive and negative sides. Some things were easier, some things were better, and other things were extremely difficult or less rewarding – I really can’t say it was better than or it is better now. Back then you could easily spend an afternoon making a 32×32 pixels square move a few pixels left and right. Today, within the same time frame, you can model something in a 3D app. 

3D aircraft model

Did game development become easier?

If someone enters game development today, it is definitely easier for that person. Because of all the tools we have access to alongside the information and guides. Three decades ago, you were planning or thinking about your idea for weeks before you even started to do any development. You had a picture in your head, a dream maybe, and when you made it real, it wasn’t even close to what you imagined originally (laughs). I believe today’s generation has so many more options than we had. Despite the fact that it’s easier to make games today, it’s much harder, if not impossible, to make an outstanding game. We are all competing against giant studios with almost unlimited resources. 

How many games have you been working on in the course of your career?

More than 20, and all kinds of things from mobile games to AAA titles and then some.

Do you think storytelling in games has changed over the years?

I don’t think so. Visual storytelling got refined, yes, graphics are amazing, but storytelling as such hasn’t changed much in my opinion.


Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking about your experiences.

You are welcome

I hope you enjoyed Laszlo’s journey. It was a fascinating experience for me to listen all these stories back from the ’80s and ’90s. I admire everyone who learned programming before the Internet got widespread.

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