Robert J. "RJ" Mical (born January 26, 1956) is an American computer programmer and hardware designer who has primarily worked in video games. He's best known for creating the user interface, Intuition, for Commodore's Amiga personal computer (1985), contributing to the design of the Amiga hardware, and co-designing, with Dave Needle, the Atari Lynx color handheld (1989) and the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (1993).
He also worked on arcade games at Williams Electronics, was the chief architect of the Fathammer mobile game engine, and was at Sony Computer Entertainment from 2005 to 2011 as a senior manager on the PlayStation product line. In 2012 he was hired by Google.
A 1995 article in Next Generation commented "It's true that of the machines that Mical and Needle have created, only the Amiga has been a true global mass market hit ... But it's only fair to put forward the argument that this is down to the marketing of the machines rather than the quality of the product."
According to Mical he created his first electronic game, a tic-tac-toe player, when he was 14.
Robert J. Mical graduated in 1979 from the University of Illinois with dual degrees in Computer Science and English, plus a minor in Philosophy.
From 1983 to 1984, Mical was software engineer at Williams Electronics. He worked on different projects, creating special effects, enemy intelligence, graphics, interface logic, and documentation development. He was involved in the development of the game Sinistar and notably coordinated the Star Rider project, a racing game on LaserDisc.
From 1984 to 1986, Robert J. Mical worked for Amiga Corporation and then Commodore International on the development of the Amiga 1000 and later models. As software engineer, he created various development tools and the animation system software. He developed Intuition, the Amiga user interface system software. He also contributed to the Amiga hardware design and helped create an early milestone software program for the computer: the Boing Demo. At the peak of his responsibilities he was appointed Director of Software. After leaving the company, he became an independent contractor, serving the Amiga community by creating development and support tools and games for a number of clients.
From 1987 to 1989 he was vice-president of game technology at Epyx, reuniting with two ex-Amiga employees: Dave Needle and Dave Morse. He co-developed the first color handheld console, internally named "Handy." He was the co-designer of the hardware and put together run-time libraries, a debugger, art and audio tools, and an emulator. The system was acquired by Atari Corporation and brought to market as the Atari Lynx in 1989. He co-designed two of the launch titles: Blue Lightning and Electrocop.
From 1990 to 1995, Mical was one of the co-founders of New Technologies Group (NTG), a company established to create a new game system, working again with Needle and Morse. Mical co-designed the hardware and headed the creation of the system's multitasking operating system, Portfolio. The company later merged with The 3DO Company and their technology became the base of the 32-bit console 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. Mical also created a number of other systems for NTG, including a file system for medical devices.
From 1996 to 2005, Mical worked on mobile and online projects. In 1996 and 1997, Mical was part of the creation of a joint company effort, joining Prolific and founding Glassworks, which developed online games. In 1998 and 1999, he worked as consultant for Rjave. In 2000 and 2001, he was vice president of software at Red Jade, a handheld console project by Ericsson. In 2001 and 2002, he was the chief architect of Fathammer, which provided 3D game software development and runtime technology to support the creation of 3D games on mobile phones. In 2003 and 2004, Mical was the vice president of software at Global VR, a company that created arcade versions of PC and console games.
From 2005 to 2011, he was employed by Sony Computer Entertainment working on developer tools for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Since 2011 he has worked on software games and inventions with his own company, Arjinx. In 2012 he was hired to be Director of Games at Google.