Dani Bunten Berry's first commercial title was a real-time stock simulation game called Wheeler Dealers in 1978. It was the first game to be sold in a box, and not a Ziploc bag. It came with a 4-player controller (that Dani built!) so that she could actualize her vision of bringing people together, using the computer as the vehicle to do it.
Unfortunately, Wheeler Dealers was a bust. Though, it did prove that she could make, and get published, the kind of games she wanted (even though the technology hadn't caught up to her yet): Multiplayer.
Dani was paving the road to multi-player gaming goodness in the late 70s. She realized early on that characters possessing human intelligence were much more challenging and enjoyable to play against (and with) than AI opponents. Her portfolio lists a slew of multi-player games, and only two single-player-only games.
Ironically, one of those single-player games, Seven Cities of Gold, was the best seller of her career. I say it's ironic because, although it was her intent to create nothing but multiplayer games, it was a single-player game that achieved the most success. And here we are today,in the age ofMassively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games such as World of Warcraft. Sure, WoW may seem like a hover car compared to Dani's antique games, but you can't have a hover car before you invent the car. That's not to say 'If it wasn't for Dani, we wouldn't have WoW and other online games", but it does make you wonder how much her games influenced today's generation of computer programmers.
By the time Dani stopped creating games in 1992, AOL was letting to let the world know there was this thing called the internet (snide comment intended). As the internet rose in popularity for $24.95 a month (I jest!), previous LAN-only games were starting to tunnel their way into the online realm. Dani was way ahead of the pack when it came to creating the "online" experience, her games inspired many game designers. The technologies her and her team created didn't even exist before they created them. In fact, it was rare to find gamers who could play her multiplayer games because so few of them even owned modems! Yet, she persisted in her original pursuit of bringing people together to enjoy games, regardless of existing technology.
Dani Bunten may not have written the subroutines, or crafted the storylines, or rendered the 3D graphics of World of Warcraft, but she primed the pump for what would be the incredible success it is today. Would we have the WoW that we have today had it not been for her? Who knows! It's possible it would have been even more amazing had she been alive to help create it.
Read Dani's bio and gameography here
Image source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/