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Leonard Tramiel Exclusive Text Interview - Great Commodore & Atari Insight

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1 hour ago, JagChris said:

What did you do for Jane?

Back around 2017 Jane hired me as a 3D artist in Keystone Games. Back then i had no reason to believe that they were lying about anything. Worked for about 18 months for Jane, ended extremely messy when myself and others started calling them out for lies and deceitful tactics they used to secure contracts and employees.

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11 hours ago, Yak said:

Reading through some of his linkedin stuff. There's stuff in there which causes me to question how involved he really was with the coding of AvP. Consider the following statement:

 

"During final testing, CFO of Atari, August (Augie) Ligouri lent my girlfriend and I myself a mobile phone. Off we went to Disneyland as a thank you from Atari. If the phone rang, we would have to return to the office immediately to fix a bug."

 

The other obvious problem with that is that Disneyland and Atari aren't within easy access of each other.  It's a 6 hour car drive -- a short flight, of course, but I find it hard to believe anyone would go "here's a phone in case I need to reach you, now go 400 miles away."

 

It's like "hey, here's a cell phone in case we need you to come into the New York office to work on the program this weekend -- but go ahead and head to Florida."

Edited by DavidD
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7 hours ago, JagChris said:

Anything actually come of the work?

With Jane leading it all? Did it f**k.

 

During my time there were 3 games total. First one was Homicide Detective (it appears in a handful of articles). There was never a proper design for the game, there were literal months without a programmer on the team so it was just becoming visual showcase instead of an actual game. If ever you wanted to see a poorly lead and mismanaged game dev environment, that was the one.

 

Second was a game by a third party which Jane promised to build upon and publish. The game was Rogue Islands. Just check out the Steam forums for that game to see what happened during Janes time with it. Its a real sad story for the original developers there.

 

Third is a game still under NDA so I can't say much, but the short of it is Jane straight-up lied to get the contract for this one. Eventually those lies came to bite them in the ass. Worth noting that even under NDA, Jane still uses this one to showcase their own special 'Athena' tech. The damn game was just a standard VR project built in Unity. Nothing proprietary about it.

 

 

Now heres a fun anecdote: in all that time Jane only provided a single piece of programming. And that was an example script you'd find on the Unity documentation (I recognised it from one of my own projects). Never anything original or useful, just one copy-paste from the Internet.

 

During my time working for Jane, I could only conclude 2 things:

 

1: I wasnt as good a judge of character as I thought, and am as prone to being swindled as anyone else.

 

2: Jane can't lead a project if their life depended on it, nor program anything to modern standards. 

 

 

Theres a whole lot to say about Jane beyond their deceitful tactics and mismanagement skills, but for this forum I'll keep all my words related to my 'professional' experiences.

Edited by ThatGuyMike
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5 hours ago, DavidD said:

It's a 6 hour car drive

If you can drive from Sunnyvale to Disneyland in 6 hours, you must be going through L.A. at 2am in either direction. It's more like a 7-8 hour drive if you hit any normal traffic on either end. Unless there was also an anecdote about a private jet and probably a helicopter at each airport, there is no way any call was going to be responded to on the same day in that arrangement.

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7 hours ago, cubanismo said:

If you can drive from Sunnyvale to Disneyland in 6 hours, you must be going through L.A. at 2am in either direction. It's more like a 7-8 hour drive if you hit any normal traffic on either end. Unless there was also an anecdote about a private jet and probably a helicopter at each airport, there is no way any call was going to be responded to on the same day in that arrangement.

Hey, I was giving the full benefit of the doubt. Cough. Cough Cough.

(Yeah, I was off by 1-2 hours, but assuming speeding and late nights...)

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For some reason I keep thinking about this Disneyland one. I've made the SoCal<->NorCal drive several times to get kids to grandparents without getting on airplanes in the past year, so it's probably just hitting close to home. It's a pretty boring drive, and I do prefer to make it during the night with an audio book + sleeping kids to avoid traffic and complaining.

 

Most lies have at least some morsel of truth in them, so I'm wondering if there was a simple substitution of Disneyland for Great America (Now "California's Great America"), a local amusement park that *is* just down the road from Atari's headquarters. Only those who have lived/worked in the valley of Silicon would appreciate a story about Great America, so why not just make it an international household name instead? What's 400 miles when the story sounds better? The foreign investors you're trying to impress aren't going to think that hard about it anyway.

 

Or maybe the story is just a complete fabrication. Who knows.

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6 minutes ago, cubanismo said:

Or maybe the story is just a complete fabrication. Who knows.

I mean Jane also claims that the board of Nintendo and Bill Gates personally visited their home with police escorts in the arse-end of Wales for advice and whatnot. While many lies are based in truth, I think Jane just invents that morsel of truth as well because I cant even imagine what those stories grew from.

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Perhaps, once you agree to believe the more fantastical claims, your mind is unlikely to question the smaller details. It really is quite fascinating from my armchair psychologist pov.

 

As is the fact they got away with all this so far and are now heading yet another venture, which is very much like their previous failed ones. I mean - it's 2021. All the info is just few clicks away, or at least enough of it to form the basis for some more serious investigation. How come people are still willing to throw in with Jane? The names on the Athena's staff page look at least somewhat credible...I just don't get it. Even if you disregard all the CV falsification claims, just one  look at the fact that they haven't anything tangible to show from the recent period despite promising digital pies in the sky, should raise some flags.

 

And why no journalist has ever picked this up for a story? (some of the past interviews actually got disappeared, like the gamebiz one). I have the feeling it might have to do with that whole gender/disability shield - in the current climate writing something negative about such persona can be a very risky business. But then, that's what journalists are - or were? - for...

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Well, everyone gets a participation trophy these days.  I'm sure anyone questioning his lifetime of lies would be seen as attacking him.  He can play the mental illness card, play the gender card, at least he can't play the race card.

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9 minutes ago, youxia said:

And why no journalist has ever picked this up for a story? (some of the past interviews actually got disappeared, like the gamebiz one). I have the feeling it might have to do with that whole gender/disability shield - in the current climate writing something negative about such persona can be a very risky business. But then, that's what journalists are - or were? - for...

Journalists in general are beleaguered if not endangered. Stories on ostensible game producers would only be handled by niche publications. Something like this might take a single reporter months or years to investigate, or require a team of journalists. That kind of personnel commitment is tough in todaze environment. Not sure how this story could be pitched: "Let's prove this one person to be a big liar." I imagine it comes down to waiting for people who may have been harmed to sue, let lawyers do the discovery work, then cover the court case.

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14 minutes ago, youxia said:

Perhaps, once you agree to believe the more fantastical claims, your mind is unlikely to question the smaller details. It really is quite fascinating from my armchair psychologist pov.

 

As is the fact they got away with all this so far and are now heading yet another venture, which is very much like their previous failed ones. I mean - it's 2021. All the info is just few clicks away, or at least enough of it to form the basis for some more serious investigation. How come people are still willing to throw in with Jane? The names on the Athena's staff page look at least somewhat credible...I just don't get it. Even if you disregard all the CV falsification claims, just one  look at the fact that they haven't anything tangible to show from the recent period despite promising digital pies in the sky, should raise some flags.

 

And why no journalist has ever picked this up for a story? (some of the past interviews actually got disappeared, like the gamebiz one). I have the feeling it might have to do with that whole gender/disability shield - in the current climate writing something negative about such persona can be a very risky business. But then, that's what journalists are - or were? - for...

Having been right in the middle of things, I can clear some of this up.

What Jane lacks in development or management skills, they more than make up in manipulation skills. Jane understands how to speak to people, how to come across as a friendly person sympathetic to your own struggles. Says exactly what you want to hear, and promises exactly what you want (In my case, I wanted to move on from small-time freelance work and establish myself more in the industry, Jane promised such with their (alleged) impressive background and connections. Why wouldnt I work for someone with such leverage in the industry? Its a dream come true for someone who struggled to get their foot in the door up to then. THEN they play to your emotions. Keystone Games was supposedly set up to donate profits to kids charities. Youd be a monster to claim that was a lie, right? I mean who would be so nefarious as to lie about these things?

There was actually an article given to me a couple weeks ago that describes exactly how Jane operated. It spoke of 'Covert Narcissists'. 

As for journalists avoiding this topic, its most likely the diversity-shield putting them off. The moment someone publicly calls Jane out, they'll attempt to brand them as hate-criminals. Claim theyre being sent threats and whatnot. Nobody wants that kind of label on them, and Jane wears that armour well.


Honestly I think Janes biggest weapon is the naivety of others. If you hadnt met an individual like Jane, would you ever imagine someone was able to lie so easilly and freely about the things theyre lying about?

Edited by ThatGuyMike
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15 minutes ago, Stephen said:

I'm sure anyone questioning his lifetime of lies would be seen as attacking him.  He can play the mental illness card, play the gender card, at least he can't play the race card.

Well, that's exactly what I'm talking about. On the other hand, if you attack with the "white cis male" card, you win automatically. Seems like a curious state of affairs.

 

It's the same re: journalists, who don't have a problem reporting/investigating anything diversity connected, even though there's often only as much as a tweet or somebody's say so as an "evidence".

 

In fact, it's true that the assorted lies regarding the industry itself could only be a niche, mildly amusing journalistic story. But the charity/disability/gender angle is much, much bigger. It's a proper public interest theme, quite timely too. I don't think this angle would require so much resources and time to investigate. If what airentertainment says about the charity angle being a fraud is true, then this really could - and should - get quite big (never even mind the gender/siamese twin claims).

 

15 minutes ago, ThatGuyMike said:

Jane understands how to speak to people, how to come across as a friendly person sympathetic to your own struggles. Says exactly what you want to hear, and promises exactly what you want (In my case, I wanted to move on from small-time freelance work and establish myself more in the industry, Jane promised such with their (alleged) impressive background and connections.

This is totally understandable on the lower industry levels. No disrespect to you, of course, been there myself in other walks of life. But if you look at "Team Athena", they don't exactly look like a bunch of freelancers who desperately need an industry "in" (though now reading some of their blurbs - eg "Multiple CoFounder in Games and Software"  one starts to wonder...). Certainly not Bushnell, though he's curiously omitted from this page, despite other sources claiming he's the one launching the whole shebang...

 

Similarly, if you're a serious investor, wouldn't you skip the heart-wringing stories and ask for some tangible results instead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No disrespect taken, I have since gotten to where I wanna be in the industry which is different to where I wanted to be a few years ago.

Youre right that the current iteration of Janes studio seems to have more experienced people behind it, although none are actually 'technical' from what I've seen. People that Jane could more easily impress with technical sounding phrases and a few screenshots that anyone with some experience in game engine development or art could immediately call out. 

No idea whats going on with Bushnell, although it wouldnt be the first time Jane claimed to have someone big linked to one of their projects in ways that are far more impressive than reality. I'd wager Bushnell is just kinda nearby as a casual advisor at best, more than anything else.

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He must have tremendous skill at being able to talk himself up. He does appear to have been able to walk into some plum jobs along the line (assuming there is in fact a kernel of truth in that he worked at MGM, EA and Bullfrog, though not necessarily that he did all he claimed at those places). And yet he doesn't really seem to have produced much of anything in terms of tangible results, AvP apart. At least in gaming, can't speak to the side of things where he was Captain Littlegirlsocks who got his commercial pilot's license at age 20.

 

Somehow he manages to wring these endorsements out of people and convince them he's some kind of genius. It's really peculiar. And harmful, too, if upcoming devs look to him for industry expertise and guidance that just isn't there.

 

I think I find it all specifically weird because the scene he fixates on - Atari in the Jag era - is a place where I actually was, and I knew a lot of the people he talks about, and the story he tells about his central place in it all is so at odds with my actual lived experience that it makes my brain hurt.

 

But yeah, I too wonder how so many journos (and, it seems, business people too) have just bought into it all without checking out the facts. I guess the gift of the gab backed up with a few kernels of truth goes a long way. 

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12 minutes ago, Yak said:

He must have tremendous skill at being able to talk himself up. He does appear to have been able to walk into some plum jobs along the line (assuming there is in fact a kernel of truth in that he worked at MGM, EA and Bullfrog, though not necessarily that he did all he claimed at those places). And yet he doesn't really seem to have produced much of anything in terms of tangible results, AvP apart. At least in gaming, can't speak to the side of things where he was Captain Littlegirlsocks who got his commercial pilot's license at age 20.

 

Somehow he manages to wring these endorsements out of people and convince them he's some kind of genius. It's really peculiar. And harmful, too, if upcoming devs look to him for industry expertise and guidance that just isn't there.

 

I think I find it all specifically weird because the scene he fixates on - Atari in the Jag era - is a place where I actually was, and I knew a lot of the people he talks about, and the story he tells about his central place in it all is so at odds with my actual lived experience that it makes my brain hurt.

 

But yeah, I too wonder how so many journos (and, it seems, business people too) have just bought into it all without checking out the facts. I guess the gift of the gab backed up with a few kernels of truth goes a long way. 

We just went through a similar thing with a different individual who managed to fool a lot of people into thinking he was a legitimate "expert" on gaming:

 

 

Both Jane Whittaker and Kieren Hawken appear to come from the same mold. the main difference being that Jane actually did some legitimate work in the industry (and, of course, the strange sock fetish). Just like what happened with Mr. Hawken, Jane's lies are going to catch up with him.

 

 

 

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Some of the jobs are actually true. The twist there being that Jane never seemed to last more than a few months which implies failed probationary periods. But the fact they still got the jobs in the first place really speaks to their skill at bulls**ting. Why Jane chose a career in games instead of politics is beyond my understanding.

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1 hour ago, Yak said:

He must have tremendous skill at being able to talk himself up. He does appear to have been able to walk into some plum jobs along the line (assuming there is in fact a kernel of truth in that he worked at MGM, EA and Bullfrog, though not necessarily that he did all he claimed at those places). And yet he doesn't really seem to have produced much of anything in terms of tangible results, AvP apart. At least in gaming, can't speak to the side of things where he was Captain Littlegirlsocks who got his commercial pilot's license at age 20.

 

Somehow he manages to wring these endorsements out of people and convince them he's some kind of genius. It's really peculiar. And harmful, too, if upcoming devs look to him for industry expertise and guidance that just isn't there.

 

I think I find it all specifically weird because the scene he fixates on - Atari in the Jag era - is a place where I actually was, and I knew a lot of the people he talks about, and the story he tells about his central place in it all is so at odds with my actual lived experience that it makes my brain hurt.

 

But yeah, I too wonder how so many journos (and, it seems, business people too) have just bought into it all without checking out the facts. I guess the gift of the gab backed up with a few kernels of truth goes a long way. 

There is a term for the behavior Jane exhibits, PALTERING.. 

 

 

It’s a distinct form of DECEPTION.. the active use of truthful statements to influence a target’s beliefs by giving a false or distorted impression. 

 

 

Jane was at Graftgold for a few weeks, sacked as he just couldn't code. 

 

Jane did head up the third and final team working on The Indestructibles for Bullfrog and due to his position was on a board that recieved special thanks for Populous III The Beginning. 

 

We can find no evidence he worked on Playstation 2 Theme Park World. 

 

 

Bullfrog staff can only confirm the Indestructibles work. 

 

Jane was at Mirage, did a few days playtesting of Dark Seed, data entry on Ashes Of The Empire, Mirage Staff confirm these minor roles. 

 

 

Nobody at Maxis who worked on The Sims has ever heard of him. 

 

 

Wild Bill Stealey disputes the Microprose claims.. 

 

 

 

Jane was at MGM, but not connected to RARE team working on N64 Goldeneye 

 

 

Jane was at Rebellion, though they now refuse to discuss him. 

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1 hour ago, Sauron said:

We just went through a similar thing with a different individual who managed to fool a lot of people into thinking he was a legitimate "expert" on gaming:

 

 

Both Jane Whittaker and Kieren Hawken appear to come from the same mold. the main difference being that Jane actually did some legitimate work in the industry (and, of course, the strange sock fetish). Just like what happened with Mr. Hawken, Jane's lies are going to catch up with him.

 

 

 

Socks filled with custard fetish... 🤔

 

Or so it's been alleged.. 

Edited by Lostdragon
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Ewtzp5oWEAcfxKO.thumb.jpeg.a5b9b15b734971e3a0629f9f28b6d672.jpegSome more Misc.. 

 

Hull Daily Mail Bond Premier. 

 

Game Pro interview-lies about Graftgold titles, working on Legions Of The Undead etc. 

 

The Sims Credits 

 

The Salvador Dali "Your Giger homage" which  is printed in all copies of Giger's Necronomicon book, they weren't done exclusively for Jane 🙄

 

 

Et-MQmPXYAM91a0.jpeg

Et-qKbdXYAoLORb.jpeg

Et-qKbhXEAITxXD.jpeg

Screenshot_20210817-195658.png

Screenshot_20210817-195721.png

Screenshot_20210817-201807.png

Edited by Lostdragon
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So they sure did some sort of coding on AvP - I guess you can't get credited in the manual without it.

 

But how about: "5 time winner of the “Programmer of the Year Award” - Alien vs Predator"? (lol @ 5x)

 

This is something which should be easily checkable, though my duckduckgo-fu fails here. Hilariously, such award doesn't even seem to exist, but it sounds sort of plausible, doesn't it? But the only gaming-related links for this query are either jokes or the JW stuff.

 

*eyeroll.gif*.

Edited by youxia
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44 minutes ago, youxia said:

So they sure did some sort of coding on AvP - I guess you can't get credited in the manual without it.

 

But how about: "5 time winner of the “Programmer of the Year Award” - Alien vs Predator"? (lol @ 5x)

 

This is something which should be easily checkable, though my duckduckgo-fu fails here. Hilariously, such award doesn't even seem to exist, but it sounds sort of plausible, doesn't it? But the only gaming-related links for this query are either jokes or the JW stuff.

 

*eyeroll.gif*.

He has the awards all sitting on top of his sock drawer. Sure, they all look like they were cobbled together at the last minute using the clearance bin down at the Hobbycraft, but they're all perfectly legit. 

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53 minutes ago, youxia said:

So they sure did some sort of coding on AvP - I guess you can't get credited in the manual without it.

 

But how about: "5 time winner of the “Programmer of the Year Award” - Alien vs Predator"? (lol @ 5x)

 

This is something which should be easily checkable, though my duckduckgo-fu fails here. Hilariously, such award doesn't even seem to exist, but it sounds sort of plausible, doesn't it? But the only gaming-related links for this query are either jokes or the JW stuff.

 

*eyeroll.gif*.

No no you see those awards were printed off the family computer and hung on Janes parents fridge. Totally legit, totally real.

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2 hours ago, ThatGuyMike said:

But the fact they still got the jobs in the first place really speaks to their skill at bulls**ting.

Not necessarily. I interview a lot of people at my day job. The people we hire go through several rounds of strictly-business engineering questioning. You can kinda bullshit from an OK answer to an OK+ answer, but it's really hard to bullshit people into believing you can solve logical problems with code when you can't.

 

What generally happens when someone slips by is that they are indeed smart, but for whatever reason, can't or won't work. Basically, a problem of motivation, or intentional manipulation by someone who could succeed with ease if they merely wanted to or got the right therapy or whatever it be in their individual case. Most of these people are normal folks. They aren't actively lying, or at least don't think they are, and their deception is limited to things like calling in sick a little more than they need to, browsing facebook instead of debugging, checking in code without testing it properly or at all, etc. Your average not-great white collar co-worker. On the extreme end are people with serious personality disorders, and having done a great deal of reading on these cases, it's hard to feel anything but sorry for them on a personal level. Regardless, when their actions start to directly impact the lives of others, they can't be allowed to carry on unchecked. You want to make yourself sound awesome on Twitter, be my guest. I don't have Twitter because for the most part, that seems to be ~90% of what's going on there anyway. Some people do it based on facts instead, but I still don't really care to hear it. You want to start a business and attract investment based on your Twitter lies, or work for a business that pays you to be the person you falsely claim to be? Sorry, over the line buddy. Go to time out.

 

In other words, Jane probably is quite smart compared to your average person. Unfortunately, there's this deception stuff going on as well for some reason, and apparently no real output to be spoken of in at least recent times.

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