Throwing in the Towel on a Lifetime Career of Game Development

Jeff Tunnell has been a prominent figure in game development since he first started experimenting with an Apple II in 1981. His journey through the evolving landscape of video games has seen him at the helm of Dynamix, a company he founded in 1984 after selling his first venture, Computertutor. Over the years, Tunnell has been a part of three significant company exits, created close to a hundred products and games, and collaborated with countless talented employees and partners. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the industry, shaping how games are developed and experienced by millions worldwide.

Despite his love and passion for game development, Jeff Tunnell has decided it's time to wind down his career in this field. This decision didn't come lightly. Recent industry trends have caught him off guard, particularly the consolidation of platforms into app stores and the overwhelming influx of millions of games into the market. These changes have made it increasingly difficult for developers to stand out and succeed. Tunnell needed more ideas on navigating this saturated landscape, leading him to reevaluate his future in game development.

A significant part of this transition involves the future of Contraption Maker, a game close to Tunnell's heart. With the dissolution of Spotkin, Tunnell's company, Kevin Ryan's Top Meadow will take over Contraption Maker's stewardship. Tunnell has expressed his utmost confidence in Ryan's abilities as a programmer and a game designer. He believes that under Ryan's guidance, Contraption Maker will continue to thrive and evolve, bringing joy and creativity to its players.

Looking ahead, Jeff Tunnell has outlined a future that embraces a variety of interests beyond game development. He plans to focus on farming, building, mentoring, and investing. His activities will also include weed farming, mountain biking, and motorcycling. Tunnell is committed to staying in shape and having fun, emphasizing the importance of balance in life. Furthermore, he plans to maintain an online presence through his new website,, and his Twitter account, sharing insights and experiences and engaging with the community.

The decision to step away from a lifetime career in game development is challenging. However, Jeff Tunnell's journey exemplifies a dynamic and fulfilling career marked by innovation, collaboration, and a deep love for the art of game design. As he embarks on this new chapter, his legacy in the game development world will continue to inspire and influence future game developers.

First published March 22, 2017 and last updated at February 17, 2024