Welcome to another Quick Bits article. As I don’t have too much time at the moment, which my lengthier articles demand, I’ve decided to do some short and quickly written articles. This one is an update from an old post I did 4-5 years ago.
In June of 1980, Ken and Roberta Williams completed and self-published their first game, Mystery House. A title that not only would become the first adventure game to feature graphics but also would lay the foundation for the now-iconic Hi-Res Adventure series and later help establish later Sierra On-Line as the adventure game company everybody would come to know and love.
In May of 1980 when Roberta had pulled out a full-page advertisement for On-Line Systems’ Mystery House in Micro 6502 Magazine two sports games were featured as well. Skeetshoot and Trapshoot both developed by a third party showed On-Line Systems’ willingness to expand its portfolio outside of the adventure genre right from the getgo. While Skeetshoot and Trapshoot quickly faded away, it wouldn’t take long before another sports game saw the light of day.
In 1980, Jay Sullivan, a brilliant software engineer who Ken had worked with at Informatics in the ’70s was hired by On-Line Systems. Sullivan, with help from Ken, went on to create two Hi-Res sports games in 1980 and 1981.
Hi-Res Football was created by Jay Sullivan with the help of founder, Ken Williams. It was, as the name applies, an American Football game featuring both single and two-player modes. The game was a rather simple real-time sports action game where you had control of both the offensive and defensive plays, featuring actions like runs, passes, kicks, etc. Hi-Res Football was released for the Apple II in 1980.
One of the very first titles by On-Line Systems, Hi-Res Football, developed by Jay Sullivan with help from Ken Williams and released in 1980 and for the Apple II
The following year Jay Sullivan and Ken Williams completed Hi-Res Soccer, the second and last sports title to bear the Hi-Res label. Hi-Res Soccer was like Hi-Res Football only released, for the Apple II, and played very much like Hi-Res Football.
Ken Williams and Jay Sullivan went on to create Hi-Res Soccer in 1981, like Hi-Res Football it was only released for the Apple II
Neither of the two sports titles received anywhere near the same success as the company’s adventure or arcade titles at the time. Ken and Sullivan would not only program together the two also co-founded Calsoft, one of the earliest mail-order software stores to carry a full selection of micro-computer software from various publishers, including titles from On-Line Systems and its competitors. While the mail-order business was primarily run by Sullivan he did find time to write Crossfire, a multidirectional shooter inspired by the video arcade coin-ops Targ and Space Invaders and published by On-Line Systems in 1981. Later, in 1983, Sullivan ported Richard Garriott’s 1982 title Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress for the PC
Following Jay Sullivan’s two Hi-Res sports games he went on to create Crossfire, an action shooter, published by On-Line Systems in 1981.
I’ve written a more in-depth article on Jay Sullivan and Crossfire here