Programming pioneer Silas Warner dies

Designer of Castle Wolfenstein passes away February 26, 2004.


Castle Wolfenstein was the first talking video game--that is, a game that used simulated voice as part of the game's soundscape. It was a two-dimensional side-scrolling action game with a plot that would be instantly recognizable to anyone who finds the name Wolfenstein familiar, since it was also the game that influenced the breakthrough first-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D. The programmer of the innovative, influential, and fun game was Silas Warner. Warner passed away on February 26, 2004, following a long-term fight against kidney disease.

Castle Wolfenstein may be the best remembered of Warner's games, but it is not the only one. He is credited for the sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. He also worked on Gunship for the Amiga, Silent Service for the Atari ST, and Red Storm Rising for the Commodore 64.

According to his wife, Kari Ann Owen, "Silas created some really wonderful games. In my own opinion, his best creation was Robotwars. That had a positive value of the player learning basic programming, thinking, and analysis concepts. It far preceded the physical robot wars of today."

Memorial services will be held March 28 in Davis, California. There is no expectation of any gift; however, Kari Ann Owen has requested that those wanting to contribute in Warner's memory may send donations to the nonprofit theater company that they both participated in: Kari Ann Owen, Artistic Director Theater Engage, 630 West Second Ave. #13, Chico CA 95926.

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