Obituary: Bruce Carver
Bruce Carver, one of the game industry’s great innovators and
entrepreneurs died last week, age 57. He will be remembered for his
enormous contribution to sports games, especially through his Links
of golf games, as well as for his generosity and kindness.
Carver launched Access Software in 1982, along with
partners. He had graduated from Idaho State with a degree in
Engineering; and his passion for detail served him well throughout his
successful and varied career. Friends say he was the archetypal
engineer; always seeking the best solution to any problem.
Like many innovative outfits of the early 1980s, Carver’s Access began
life in a small room, growing with the industry. The Links games were
the first to offer the swing-o-meter, now a standard of most golf games
and of many sports games.
The series swept all before it during the Commodore 64 years, and well
into the PC boom of the 1990s. Fans loved the gameplay, but also the
exact and detailed golfing landscapes. Many a Links player wondered at
the detail of various courses. Carver himself was an avid fan of the
game of golf and played with Arnold Palmer, a friend and business
He created a variety of games across many genres, including the
middleware Sprite Master (1984) which allowed developers to easily move
sprites around a screen.
In 1997, PC Gamer awarded him the accolade as one of the ‘Gods of
Gaming’. In 1999, Access was bought by Microsoft, and this saw the
beginning of the decline of Links. The series was gradually superseded
by new 3D games and big-money licenses.
Carver left Microsoft in 2003 to launch two new successful businesses.
He was most actively involved in Carver Homes, which built
award-winning luxury houses to order. It satisfied his passion for
detail and his meticulous eye for beauty. He was also a partner in
TrueGolf; offering large-scale video simulations for the home.
One former colleague remembers Carver as "one of the most genuinely
honest people in this business". One example: after the Microsoft
takeover of Access, some jobs had to be lost; Carver paid generous
golden parachutes out of his own pocket. One former employee said, "He
took care of people. He loved detail, but he didn’t micro-manage. A lot
of people owe him their careers."
A business partner and friend for 25-years said of him, "He was the
classic engineer. Any type of engineering problem fascinated him.
Pushing technological boundaries was his forte, and that’s why he
created so many innovations."
Though successful in business, his family always came first. He is
survived by his mother Mary, his wife Lenna, three sons, three
daughters and 16 grandchildren.
Bruce passed away suddenly of cancer on December 28. His funeral was held last Saturday in Salt Lake City.
MobyGames career details here.