RIP 1954 – April 9 2014
Python as a great friend. My wife and I adopted him as part of our family. I was lucky to spend a lot of time with him in the last few years of his life. it was an entertaining honor.
We miss him greatly.
Lonnie & Robin McDonald
Python Vladimir Anghelo is an artist best known for his work on video games and pinball machines. Anghelo was born in Transylvania, Romania, and moved to the United States when he was 17. After studying art and animation both in Romania and the US, he worked as an animator for Disney until 1979 when he moved to Williams Electronics to create the artwork for Joust, taking a 50% pay-cut in the process because he believed that video games had more potential than traditional animation. He continued to work for Williams (and, later, Midway Games after they merged with Williams) for 15 years until 1994, when his most ambitious project, The Pinball Circus, was shelved.
Python shares many intriguing anecdotal stories about the game design, one of which was the key element of bird movement where the neck and wings move opposite each other. This minute detail and thought was put into every aspect of the game design. John Newcomer credits Python for being an unending source of promotion within Williams for the game of Joust.
“John did want a Eugene Jarvis-type baiter, to stop guys from playing the game for ever, but the pterodactyl’s visual design, animation and blood curdling scream, we took right from my intimate knowledge and admiration for Ray Harryhausen’s work. John Kotlarik, Pfutz and I worked 56 hours straight to design it and get it done. Only Pfutz knew what the absolute size of the image had to be, how many images, how much room was left in the scheme of things for this last and very important, do-or-die element – that had to be squeezed in. Newcomer then came up with the ‘in the mouth kill spear stab’ so it will be very hard to do – so the pterodactyl was a true and awesome baiter. It was team-work alright, like any great football game or great video game design.”
“For me, to be at a loss for words? Impossible!!! Be left speechless ? Unthinkable!!! Oh yes, it did just take place right after what you guys did and said, in last three days – what a joy! What an honor! Unforgettable!!! Robin and Lonnie, thank you for reuniting part of the Joust Team, bringing Steve, Mark, Walter and the young Joust Knights together in a magic gathering of sincere celebration, of an awesome milestone of accomplishment, in the art of video-combat with a lance, while riding a 16-pixel tall ostrich. Holy Cow!!! Literally “Suite 100″ belongs to the Video Joust Wizard, the Great Knight Lonnie McDonald, the Supreme Ruler of all Battle Birds and all Stone Clouds of the Lava Planet!!! May we all gather again soon. And after another well-fought Joust Tourny, may we all feast on lava roasted buzzards, pteradactyl steaks, buzzard deviled eggs and drink Lava Troll’s blood smoothies. One frame at a time, animated Love, Python.”