Who is Simon Cooke?

Good question, and I’m glad you asked.

Simon Cooke is officially (by profession) a software engineer working in games development at Google. And no, I don’t speak for my employer in any official capacity on this blog. Never have, never will. In fact, most of the time I will try to completely and utterly avoid Google-related topics for just that very reason.

There’s also a wikipedia page about me, which you can find here.

So that’s the dry version. What else?


I was born in Manchester, England. I moved to the US in 1997, and shortly afterwards moved to Seattle in 1998, which used to be one of the coolest places on the planet until everyone else discovered that it was one of the coolest places on the planet and decided to move here. It’s still cool, but you should have seen it in the early-to-mid 2000’s.

I’ve got a physics (and electronic engineering) degree from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology – the oldest University in Manchester, and one that now no longer exists since it merged with the University of Manchester a few years ago. May it rest in peace.

Over the years I’ve been a:

  • Freelance journalist – writing for Your Sinclair magazine, Internet Today, Internet & Comms Today, Net User, How To Get Online, .net and Arcane
  • Graphic designer. I’ve done trade-show stands, brochures, product logos, business cards, the lot. I designed this site for Frogchildren Studios, for example.
  • Team leader & project manager, software architect, programmer, you name it, for Surreal Software/Midway Entertainment, Sierra Online, Microsoft, netFusion ltd & inc
  • Director of Engineering and Business Development Manager for X-Ray Kid Studios
  • A filmmaker with my own film company – Popcorn Films – which is currently in mothballs, but I’ve done editing, screenwriting, fx work, audio, grip, a 5-second cameo, producing…
  • I’ve spoken at GDC twice now, with the highest-rated talk in their Producer Boot Camp track at GDC 2012. I also co-ran the Gamefest 2011 Producer & Biz-Dev track, and put together event management phone apps (Microsoft @ GDC, Gamefest Assistant) for Windows Phone.
  • I’m most well known for writing for Your Sinclair magazine, and for my work on the SAM Coupé home computer, which in the scheme of things only a few people (300,000?) ever had, but I was possibly the most well known programmer for that system.
  • I’ve worked on a bunch of games, including Skyrim, This is Vegas, The 99, Prince of Persia (SAM Coupé port), Lemmings (SAM Coupé), Parallax, Exodus, 18 different prototypes/designs for Microsoft, Xotica, Tornado Outbreak, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Stranglehold, Area 51: Blacksite, Wheelman, Kinect Adventures… and more… (to varying degrees).
  • I spent a decade in the Xbox Advanced Technology Group at Microsoft, helping game developers make better games for Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone and Kinect, and helping Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone and Kinect make better platforms and hardware for game developers.
  • I also directed content and narrative (and occasionally more) for many Xbox games tech developer-education conferences - about 8 years worth, some solo, some running a team, some running a virtual team with 100+ people. That’s in two countries, with 50+ talks per conference, and I’d occasionally do the keynotes. I also gave talks at each conference, typically ended up at the top of the attendee evaluations. And yes, I love public speaking :)

I’m 44 right now, have a gorgeous wonderful intelligent wife (Darci) and a gorgeous wonderful intelligent 9-year daughter (Alexandra – aka Lexi) old living with me. These people keep me sane, or if not sane, interested in seeing how everything turns out.