You were probably too young to have played Matt Hazard’s games in the arcades (“ARCADES” are places where we used to have to go to play video games, where “stand-up” machines provided playtime for a coin or two).
Maybe you’re even too young to have played MH stuff on the 8-bit or 16-bit systems, but you better believe that you’re playing the results of Matt Hazard’s innovative games today.
Matt Hazard broke new ground in almost every game he was in, almost single-handedly defining and creating the modern-day video game feature set.
Here are some of Matt Hazard’s “firsts” that you probably thought were associated with other games
Matt Hazard Invented “Steamy Coffee” Controversy:
The first video game release to feature a love scene of any kind was Fistful of Hazard. The scene involved swashbuckling Matt in an old West coffee shop and some suggestive behavior. This scene has since been paid homage to by other major games which received a similarly controversial reception.
Didn’t you ask yourself recently: “Why did these guys put in this ‘Steamy Coffee’ scene if they knew it was going to cost them so much money??”
Well, paying tribute to Matt Hazard is why.
Matt Hazard Invented Vertical Gaming:
First character to ever have the option to Jump in a video game; before that – all the worlds were built of flat white lines.
Interesting Note: Matt Hazard was also the first character to “crouch,” but this feature was cut from the game at the last second for being “too lame and useless” in the words of the QA team.
Copycat games that followed didn’t have that kind of quality feedback that we had at Marathon.
Matt Hazard Created Modern First Person Shooters:
Matt Hazard 3D was full of firsts: it was the first game to provide a fully 3D first person view; the first game to allow the character to LOOK UP and DOWN; and the first game to showcase modern deathmatch multiplayer.
While “Hazard’s Tournament” was a planned, but abandoned, multiplayer-only deathmatch-focused spin-off of MH3D; designers deemed it unfeasible due to dial-up speeds; the core design was later replicated by other companies to some success.
Matt Hazard Invented Game “Celebrity”:
Matt Hazard was the first video game CHARACTER to ever appear on the cover of a magazine, when in the February 1984 Valentine’s issue of Marathon Software’s semi-annual publication, Arcade Gaming Monthly, place Matt on the cover. Previous to this, the magazine had only put Marathon executives on the cover.
Interesting Note: While other video game characters had been considered for game magazine cover stories, none of them featured as many pixels, a full 16 colors, had 5 complete animations or looked as realistic as Matt Hazard. So, he was the natural choice.
Matt Hazard Started the Trend of Longer Development Cycles:
The true follow-up to Matt Hazard 3D, tentatively titled Matt Hazard Gold, I THINK might STILL be in development today (behind closed doors) after more than a decade of redesigns and technology upgrades.
The MHG team’s groundbreaking commitment to finish the game only “WHEN IT’S DONE!” has inspired other game developers to take the same stance and commitment to their titles.
This is the beginning of your Hazard education. Stay tuned for more.
– R. Tokey