10 Gaming Creators Who Died In 2019

6. Stephen Wrenn Smith - July 31, 2019

Everquest Brad Mcquiad
Good Deal Games

Stephen Wrenn Smith passed away at the age of 44 from an unspecified illness. Smith wasn't a full-time video game developer, but he did manage to create a single game for the Atari 2600 called Road Duel. What's most impressive about this achievement is, he is the first and only legally blind programmer to design and program a game for that system.

While those games typically took around four to nine months to develop, Smith's ended up taking seven years, but it wasn't because he was blind - it was the result of a cardiac arrest. He approached Good Deal Games to have it published, and Michael of GDW's Homebrew Heaven happily accepted.

When Stephen passed away, Michael took to the internet to share the ROM file for his game, Road Duel, so that it could be played by as many people as possible. In his post, he mentioned that developing the game was a childhood dream of Stephen's, and he thought sharing it would have made him proud. You can find a copy of the ROM here.

Outside of designing his own game, Stephen worked for the Virginia Industries of the Blind and spent much of his free time playing video games.

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Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com