Paul Kidd joined Beam Software in 1986. A keen wargamer, role player and science fiction fan Kidd had a degree in Literature and History from La Trobe University. Milgrom confident in Beam’s programming talent saw the potential to grow the team with a writer skilled in games. Kidd who designed and ran competition games at Arcancon and other events answered Beam’s advertisements. The first game he worked on was Mugsy’s Revenge(1986) after that he was hired as a full time employee.
Beams’s first non-programmer designer Kidd worked on The Fellowship of the Rings (1987) writing dialogues and descriptions and doing some QA. He took great delight in the curious events that could emerge within the gameplay; such as the ability to get the black riders to kills each other or the capacity to play the whole game by getting into your backpack and thus rendered invisible to all monsters just hopping off on your mission.
He was lead designer and producer on a number of Beam’s games of the 1980s including the post-apocalyptic action RPG Doc the Destroyer (1987), and the side scrolling adventure Samurai Warrior the Adventures of Usagi Yojimbo (1988). Kidd contributed to numerous micro computer games including the Exploding Fist series, Street Hassle(1987) and the idiosyncratic Aussie Game(1987-1990). He also worked on Beams new NES titles such as Airwolf (1988) based on the kids TV show of the eighties and The Punisher(1990).
Remaining with Beam till 1993 Kidd worked on SNES games such as the underrated Nightshade (1992) and the critically acclaimed Shadowrun (1993). After leaving Beam he travelled to the UK to work with ex Beam designer Gregg Barnett at his new company Perfect Entertainment on adapting Terry Prachett’s Diskworld series into games.
He remembers fondly the pioneering spirit in the early 1980s at Beam and the creative freedom that the studio offered before games became just another industry. “The “men in suits’ had not yet come,” he says. “So games studios were laid back, full of creative people, and basically devoid of pretension. Computer games were a fringe market, so no one had brain-throbbing visions of world conquest. The boss wore bare feet and a caftan. My immediate neighbours were hairy, scarecrow-like things with combat boots, or shaven-headed maniacs in bovver boots.”…“This all suited me fine. A lot of good thinking came out of that environment.”
References: Wallis, Alistair, “Playing Catch Up: Shadowruns Paul Kidd”, Gamastura, November 2, 2006
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