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Dona Bailey

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Name  Dona Bailey
Role  Programmer
Books  Lightning, the Big Cat

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Similar People  Ed Logg, Carol Shaw, Roberta Williams

Meet the Unsung Female Programmer Behind Atari’s Centipede

Dona Bailey is an American game programmer who, along with Ed Logg in 1981, created the arcade video game Centipede.


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As a young programmer Bailey was hired by General Motors and trained in assembly language programming. She worked there for two years on displays, and microprocessor-based cruise control systems. She became interested in Space Invaders and the world of arcade games, another application of the work she was doing at GM. She found out that Atari was using the same microprocessor in its games.

Dona Bailey Gaming History Dona Bailey on Centipede YouTube

In 1980, Bailey joined Atari's coin-op division, where she was the only woman. In an interview Bailey recalled that Atari had a notebook of possible game ideas at the time. Of the 30 or so entries the only one without "lasering or frying things" was a short description of a bug winding down the screen. "[I]t didn't seem bad to shoot a bug".

Dona Bailey Dona Bailey Companies Atari 19801982 Women in Game Dev

Bailey left Atari in 1982 and went to work at Videa (later renamed Sente Technologies), founded by three former Atari employees. In 2007, she was the keynote speaker at the Women in Games International Conference. Bailey holds M.Ed. and M.A. degrees and taught as a faculty member in the department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock until her retirement.

Dona Bailey Meet Dona Bailey the Unsung Programmer Behind Centipede Motherboard

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Dona Bailey Wikipedia