Mark B. Lesser papers
The Mark B. Lesser papers have been arranged into two series. The materials are housed in three archival document boxes.
- 1973 - 1999
- Majority of material found within 1976 - 1978
- Lesser, Mark B. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy
Conditions Governing Use
2.5 Linear Feet (3 archival document boxes)
Lesser earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT. In 1972, he joined the Microelectronics Division of Rockwell International, in Anaheim, California, as a Circuit Designer. Lesser worked on designing circuits for handheld calculators and I/O (input/output) chips. Rockwell received a proposal from Mattel Electronics to convert handheld calculators into electronic games, and Lesser joined the project. He designed the program directly into the hardware, writing the program using punch cards in a minicomputer. Lesser not only designed the hardware chips but ultimately programmed the games for the first three titles of the Mattel handhelds line: Auto Race (1976), Football (1977), and Baseball (1978). The popularity of these titles spawned several imitators, including a line of electronic games by Coleco (which was sued by Mattel for patent violations).
After leaving Rockwell, Lesser worked at Parker Brothers, developing (never-released) handheld games and programming Frogger II: Threeedeep! (1984) for the Atari 2600, followed by an unproduced game, “Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell.” Lesser moved on from Parker Brothers to work with Rex Bradford at Microsmiths for several years before forming his own company, MBL Research, Inc.
In 1991, Lesser was subcontracted to program John Madden Football ’93 (1992) for the Sega Genesis; Electronic Arts later offered him the direct contract to develop NHL ’94. He stayed with the NHL series through NHL ’99. Lesser’s final game was Supercross 2000, a supercross motorcycle simulation game published by EA Sports in 1999. Lesser has since retired from game programming.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Mattel Electronics handheld games, 1973-1980 and n.d.
Series II: Video games, 1983-1999
- Auto Race (Mattel Electronics)
- Baseball (Mattel Electronics)
- Cheng, Richard
- Computer programmers
- Electronic games
- Football (Mattel Electronics)
- Game design and development
- Hand-held games
- Klose, George
- Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell (Video game)
- MBL Research, Inc.
- MBL Research, Inc.
- Mattel Electronics
- Mattel Electronics -- Hand-held games
- Mattel, Inc.
- Parker Brothers, Inc.
- Rockwell International
- Supercross 2000 (Video game)
- Video games
- Finding Aid to the Mark B. Lesser Papers, 1973-1999
- Julia Novakovic
- 25 February 2021
- Description rules
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA