|Donald M. Brown
Donald Brown is the creator of the Eamon text adventure series and its commercial successor SwordThrust, and is the author of 17 adventures for the two systems as well as several user manuals and magazine articles. He helped found Des Moines-based CE Software and wrote business and productivity software for the company while also serving as one of its vice presidents. Brown currently resides in California.
Brown got involved in personal computers in 1977 when his father bought him an early Apple II (serial number 124). Originally from Colorado, he attended Drake University in Des Moines and wrote a number of Apple programs while earning his degree in actuarial science, building a reputation as a programmer which he planned to use after graduation to secure a job with Apple Computers in California. Brown often visited the Computer Emporium, a hardware and software retailer founded in early 1978 by entrepreneur Richard Skeie and one of the first retail computer businesses in the Des Moines area. Brown became friends with Skeie and others at the store, which was located at the time on Douglas Avenue about two miles from Drake.
Also in the 1970s Brown developed an interest in the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and played it with friends including Bill Fesselmeyer, a Des Moines resident who in 1978 co-founded the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism with his wife Sherry.
The idea for a computerized fantasy role-playing game originated around 1978 with Brown's friend and fellow player Bill Fesselmeyer, who encouraged Brown to try combining his interests in D&D and computer programming. Brown began work on his CRPG system and completed the first version probably in 1979, titling it "Eamon" after a name he happened to see in a book. The system consisted of a master diskette containing programs for creating, equipping, and storing the player's character (called an adventurer), with additional diskettes each containing an adventure for the player to experience. Brown wrote several of the early adventures himself and created an authoring system for others to be able to create their own; beginning with friends Jim Jacobson, John Nelson, and others, adventures by new contributors began appearing in 1980. The game, distributed as freeware and initially shared with friends and acquaintances through the Computer Emporium, proved popular and started to spread and gain a following.
Brown authored a total of 10 Eamon adventures:
|The Beginners Cave
|c. late 1979
|The Lair of the Minotaur
|c. late 1979
|Castle of Doom
|The Death Star
|Assault on the Clone Master
|The Tomb of Molinar
|The Lost Island of Apple
|The Castle of Count Fuey
|The Search for the Key
|The Rescue Mission
As a student Brown enjoyed visiting the Computer Emporium, a computer hardware and software retailer in Des Moines started by Richard Skeie in 1978, and had distributed his Eamon game system through the Emporium's computer club. In 1981 the company launched a software development venture called CE Software with Brown its principal developer. Brown's first major software project for CE was SwordThrust, a commercial variant of Eamon, for which he wrote six of its total seven adventures. CE also published a stock market-themed game written by Brown entitled Wall Street.
Brown and CE Software soon turned their focus to business applications for the Apple Macintosh and incorporated the company in January 1987.
Through his website at eamontales.com Brown shared some of his personal projects, including essays, short stories, and information on a variety of hardware projects.
- "Games microchips play"
- "The Hero, the Sword, and the Apple"
- "Sales of W.D.M. software soar toward the million-dollar mark"
- "The Wonderful World of Eamon"