Feeds

Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

The Register meets gaming pioneer - now Big Data researcher - Veronika Megler

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

"I feel a bit sad"

While the messages of support are lovely, Megler says they also make her feel “a bit sad” because she had no idea the game was such a success.

“Only in the last five years have I realised what a hit it was,” she says. “It makes you wonder how my life would have been different had I known that.”

“One of the things I find still frustrating is that there is still an assumption that because I am a woman, Phil must have written most of the game and perhaps I just contributed to a few of the puzzles. I've also read things that leave my name off completely.”

Analysis of the game that attributes its success to Inglish also irritate just a little, as fans tell Megler that they didn't use much of the vocabulary it offered but did appreciate the ability to use different objects in imaginative ways that she into the game's engine.

Which is not to say that Megler is bitter, as she admits “I have a very low tolerance for doing the same thing over and over again.” By the time The Hobbit, (and Penetrator, the only other game she ever wrote) were complete, “I had been writing assemblers for years and I was tired of it.”

She was also tired of playing games and hardly touched another, bar Tetris, for 15 years.

Today she says The Hobbit has “Probably the most impact of anything I have done in my life until now.”

“It is odd to look back and think that from some perspectives the high point of my career came before I finished my bachelors degree! None of the my other jobs have had the same impact as writing that game did.”

But Megler is hopeful her PhD will top it, and is hard at work making that happen. On the day she was scheduled to chat to The Register, she was so immersed in debugging the project she was half an hour late for our call.

The interruption, and chance to reminisce, was welcome.

“Working on The Hobbit was a once in a lifetime gift,” she says.

The steady stream of emails thanking her for that gift surely show it's one that keeps on giving. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.