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RIP Hal Finney

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RIP Hal Finney
Hal Finney, the programmer and cryptographer, has died aged 58.

Finney worked for APh Technology Consultants, who helped design the Intellivision. He worked on several titles for Intellivision and Atari 2600, and was responsible for the "Yer Out" voice in Major League Baseball without the need for an Intellivoice. He later went on to be the second programmer hired to work on PGP. He also became the first person to receive a Bitcoin payment!

Sadly, Hal was diagnosed with ALS (AKA Motor Neurone Disease or Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 2009. He was unable to work by 2011 and, two years later, was confined to a wheelchair and doing everything with an eye tracker, including talking through a voice synthesizer.

After his passing, he was cryogenically frozen.

Hal's game titles include:

Adventures of TRON (VCS)
Armor Ambush (VCS)
Astroblast (VCS)
Dark Cavern (VCS)
Night Stalker (VCS)
Space Attack (VCS)
Space Battle (Intellivision)
Star Strike (Intellivision)

He also programmed two unreleased titles for the Intellivision Entertainment Computer System add-on - Conversational French and Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning.

RIP Hal - thanks for some great games and cryptography!

Here are some links:






Just in case the thread gets derailed with Ice Bucket Challenge talk, I've created a separate thread for such stuff:

Last edited by retro; 1 Day Ago at 12:21 AM.


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To Hal's friends and family:

Our deepest condolences and sympathies. Though most of us here never had the chance to meet him, know that Hal touched many lives. Around here, many of us have fond memories built around his early work. For some, it even influenced our own career choices, and built lifelong friendships.


Rest in Peace

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Sorry to hear this. From David Rolfes interview, it seems that Hal was the driving force behind the sophisticated micro-code interpreter for sound effects built into the EXEC. I think he may have been responsible for the classic crowd cheering sound, and many other classic sounds were a direct result of the use of the sophisticated interpreter.

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Thank you, Mr. Finney, for all your great work. Although not loved by everyone, Star Strike is one of my favourite titles on the Intellivision.



although it did not live up to the hype, it was not a bad game. And the effect of seeing the earth blown up was something to behold. Space Battle was an even better game. I love all the looping and aerobatics of the spaceships on the battle screen. Especially the explosions. He put a lot of detail into his work.

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although it did not live up to the hype, it was not a bad game.


I don't know about that, I always fancied myself Luke Skywalker, flying my X-Wing over the Death Star. To the 9 year-old me, the game was exactly what I was expecting. Winning the game did leave me a little wanting, but having grown up as a Star Wars fan, it was a great game. :)

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The Star Strike commercial talked about "their most impressive visual effect yet" with the earth exploding.


To me, that was _alright_, but the most impressive effect was when the 'death star' explodes, with violent screen shaking and it falling apart block by block. That was 10 times better than the earth getting destroyed.


I think they missed the mark on those ads.

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