Who are/were the best programmers?
I am curious as to what others think about who the best game programmers were from the 80's and early 90's (Amiga heyday!).
In the arcades, they seemed to have incredibly well written games, they rarely crashed (I can only remember a few games that hung or reset, possibly due to faulty hardware) and had pretty good AI on the whole. And usually pretty good pixel-art graphics.
However, was that due to good programmers, or really good hardware? What kind of games would someone like Andrew Braybrook, in the hands of some decent hardware that allowed multiple layers of graphics to be combined in hardware have come up with?
The huge games in the mid to late 80's like Out Run, Afterburner - was fast graphics hardware hiding mediocre programming? Could the guy that made Out Run in the arcades come up with anything half decent on a humble Amiga 500?
Which country produced the best programmers? From the mags I read at the time, it seemed the UK programmers squeezed a lot more out of their 8-bit machines than the US guys could - with the exception of crap teams that churned out shite like Tiertex etc. US teams seemed happy to go with huge multiload titles (Accolade etc) while the UK guys would often squeeze an entire game in a single load.
The Germans and Scandanavian countries seemed to always come up with slick games and effects. The few Aussie games I can think of were pretty terrible (I think of ECP products here!). Most NZ stuff was pretty well written but not technologically brilliant. The French were just weird!
Are there any coders that really were legends? What the Reflections guys did with dual playfield mode on the Amiga was incredible in terms of graphics. Geoff Crammond did F1GP on a humble A500. Rainbow Arts seemed to make silky smooth 50fps games that you didn't notice were only 16 colours etc etc...