After 10 years at Microsoft, working in many capacities as part of the Office Group, Fries has finally found his dream job. As General Manager of the Microsoft Games Group, he has a chance to manage a cross functional team (not just programmers), learn more about the business side of Microsoft, and most important of all, get back to his first love in computers: computer games.
Fries’ love affair with computers started in high school. As a teen he programmed code for Apple II’s and the Atari 800, and wrote games as a hobby. Like most beginning programmers he wrote lots of games, first in Basic, and when that was too slow, in Assembly Language. Ed gave a copy of one of his games (a clone of Frogger creatively titled “Froggie”) to a friend who gave it to two friends, etc…until it landed at Romex, a game company, who had him change some of the graphics and the name to “Princess and the Frog.” He created two more games for Romox -- “Anteater” and “Sea Chase” -- an underwater action game.
In the summer of 1985, after receiving a bachelor of science in computer science from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Fries joined Microsoft as an intern, responsible for upgrading the system used to create and display online tutorials. In his “spare time” he became interested in creating screen saver applications. His first screen saver, “Fish!” became quite popular around the Microsoft offices. He soon joined up with a co-worker, Tom Saxton, and together they started Tom & Ed’s Bogus Software. A startup at the time, Berkeley Systems, saw their program and asked them to do a special version for Berkeley’s now famous After Dark screen saver.
Over the years, Ed has played a lot of great games. One of his all-time favorites is the old Atari game, “Mule.” Others he has admired include “Zork,” “Wizardry,” “Wing Commander,” “Railroad Tycoon,” “Their Finest Hour,” “Alone in the Dark,” “Populous,” “Dune II,” “Civilization,” “X-Com,” “Relentless” and most recently, “Command and Conquer.”
Fries is excited about growing the Microsoft Games Division to include the finest quality games. Through collaboration with great game developers from around the world, his goal for the Games Division is to create and deliver exceptional games that have mass appeal.
Ed Fries's first video game work that SPOnG is aware of is the 2002 title, "Blinx: The Time Sweeper" (Xbox) as Executive Producer. Of the titles listing Ed within the credits , "Blinx: The Time Sweeper" (Xbox) has been a best selling title.
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