David Crane (born in Nappanee, Indiana, United States) is a video game designer and programmer.
Crane started his programming career at Atari, making games for the Atari 2600. After meeting up with co-worker Alan Miller in a tennis game, Miller discussed with him a plan he had to leave and found a company that would give game designers more recognition. From this meeting, he left Atari in 1979 and co-founded Activision, along with Miller, Jim Levy, Bob Whitehead and Larry Kaplan. His games have won many awards while he was at Activision. At Activision, he is best known as the designer of Pitfall!, a game that stayed at the top of the charts for 64 weeks. He used to have a personalized license plate that had Pitfall as the letters on it.
Crane maintained that the Atari policy of relying on mangled adaptations of arcade games (which benefited of highly-advanced 8-bit graphics which only the ColecoVision at the time was able to partially recreate) would have only resulted in a glut of cheap, unappealing games (which is exactly what led to the Video Game Crash of 1983), while instead considering the strengths and weaknesses of the 2600 machine and tailoring new games to them would have yielded positive results. The reasoning was that while the new games would have lacked the instant-promotion of an already-known name, word of mouth among video gamers, being a young and highly-social group, would have gradually made up for it if the game was good.
In 1986, Crane left Activision to co-found Absolute Entertainment with Garry Kitchen. The two of them left mainly because of Jim Levy's departure, and the way the newly appointed CEO of Activision, Bruce Davis, treated video games more like commodities rather than creative products. Although Crane worked for Absolute, he did all of his programming at his home in California. For Absolute Entertainment, he was known for A Boy and His Blob, a successful NES title following the adventures of the protagonist and his companion, a shape-shifting 'blob', and Amazing Tennis. In 1995, Absolute Entertainment was dissolved, and became a defunct company.
In 1995, he co-founded Skyworks Technologies and currently is that organization's Chief Technical Officer.