Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers Edit


Finding Aid Author
Julia Novakovic
Finding Aid Date
18 September 2013
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


  • 1949 – 2012 (Creation)
  • 1983 – 1995 (Creation)


  • 1.75 Linear Feet (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Abstract

    The Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers are a compilation of correspondence, notes, game design concepts, game code output, photographs, publicity, and digital material created by or pertaining to Dan Bunten (later known as Dani Bunten Berry or Danielle Paula Berry). The bulk of the materials are from between 1983 and 1995.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    All materials relating to game sequel concept ideas for M.U.L.E. and Seven Cities of Gold have been restricted by the donor. These documents will not be open for research use until the year 2060. They are denoted as such in this finding aid and are separated from unrestricted files.

    At this time, digital files in this collection are limited to on-site researchers only.

    Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy here .

  • Conditions Governing Use

    The majority of this collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donors have not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, they have given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

  • Custodial History

    The Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers were donated to The Strong as a gift of the children of Dan Bunten and accessioned by The Strong under Object ID numbers 110.11705 and 110.12402. The papers were received from Melanie Bunten Stark in September 2010 and October 2010. Staff at The Strong photocopied and scanned many of these documents, then returned the originals to Melanie Bunten Stark.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Tara Winner completed an initial inventory of this collection in November 2010. James Leach created a draft finding aid and tentative arrangement in February 2011. Revised processing and finding aid were done by Julia Novakovic in September 2013.

  • Biographical Note

    Dani Bunten Berry (born Daniel Paul Bunten) was an American computer game designer and programmer, best known for pioneering multiplayer games. Following gender reassignment surgery, her legal name was changed to Danielle Paula Berry (though she also went by Dani Bunten Berry).

    Bunten was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1949. Her large family later moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Bunten lived for most of her life. She attended the University of Arkansas and graduated in 1974 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Bunten grew interested in creating computer games and in 1978, published a business simulation game called Wheeler Dealers. Though that game sold only 50 copies, Bunten realized the social potential of multiplayer games. Bunten co-founded Ozark Softscape a year later, along with brother Bill Bunten, and friends James Rushing and Alan Watson. Ozark operated from the basement of Bunten’s Little Rock home, collaborating with larger distribution companies such as Strategic Simulations and Electronic Arts.

    In 1983, Ozark released M.U.L.E., a multiplayer strategy game which required users to both compete against and cooperate with one another to colonize a planet. Reviewers lauded M.U.L.E., which sold 30,000 copies across various computer platforms. Ozark’s next game, Seven Cities of Gold (1984), designated players as explorers for the Spanish Empire in the 15th century. In all, Ozark designed five celebrated PC games for Electronic Arts. The original partnership of Ozark Softscape disbanded in 1993.

    Bunten made the decision to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1992, a transition to which she referred as her “pronoun change.” She lived the remainder of her life as Danielle Paula Berry, or Dani Bunten Berry. Bunten Berry continued to consult for game companies and soon reincorporated Ozark Softscape. In 1998, the Computer Game Developers Association conferred upon her their Lifetime Achievement Award. She passed away later that year from lung cancer at the age of 49. Numerous others have honored Bunten Berry, including Will Wright, who dedicated The Sims to her memory. The Academy of Arts and Sciences inducted Bunten Berry into their Hall of Fame in 2007.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    The Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers contain materials from 1949 through 2012, with the bulk of the documents from 1983 to 1995. This collection comprises personal and business correspondence, game design concepts, corporate agreements, notes, sketches, publicity, photographs, computer code, and other materials created by or pertaining to Dan Bunten (later known as Dani Bunten Berry or Danielle Paula Berry). The papers document both Bunten’s personal and professional life, along with the history of Ozark Softscape, Inc., and several of Bunten’s well-known computer games. Additional scope and content information is listed under the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

    The Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers are arranged into four series, two of which are further divided into subseries. The physical materials are housed in four archival document boxes, and the digital materials are stored on the internal network of The Strong.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Personal papers, c. 1950-2012

    Series II: Ozark Softscape, Inc. materials, 1979-1996

    Subseries A: Contracts and agreements
    Subseries B: Other company documentation
    Subseries C: Computer program codes

    Series III: Game design information, 1982-1997

    Subseries A: Unrestricted files
    Subseries B: Restricted files

    Series IV: Digital materials

External Documents


  • Type
    Container 1 Type
    Container 1 Indicator
    Container 1 Barcode
    Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers
  • Type
    Container 1 Type
    Container 1 Indicator
    Container 1 Barcode
    Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) papers (digital)