Hall of fame: Lucas Newman, Adam Betts, and Lights Off

Lights Off was the first native game made available for the iPhone. It launched in August of 2007, only two months after the original iPhone went on sale, and 10 months before the official App Store launched. Created by Lucas Newman, a developer at Delicious Monster at the time, and designer Adam Betts, it was built in 3 days as part of the C-4 Iron Coder event. While the gameplay was classic, the task of figuring out how to make it, absent an official SDK, package it, and release it in a way that anyone could install and use it, was nothing short of herculean.

On The Art of Adam Betts, Betts wrote:

I’ve always loved Lights Out game from Tiger Electronic and iPhone with touch screen couldn’t be any more perfect for Lights Out-type game.

A month later, Lights Off was updated to improve the puzzles, and to allow the progress to be saved and moves to be cancelled before they were completed.

Newman later went on to pursue other opportunities, and Lights Off was adopted by Steve Troughton-Smith of High Caffeine Content, re-written using the official iPhone SDK, re-freshed by designer Adam Betts, and re-released on the App Store.

Being the first game on the iPhone, now one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world, is notable enough, but the work put into creating it, especially into understanding UIKit and the frameworks used by Apple, helped give a head start to every other developer on the platform.

That's why, as part of the inaugural iMore hall of fame, we're honoring Lucas Newman and Adam Betts, and their groundbreaking puzzle game, Lights Off.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Hall of fame: Lucas Newman, Adam Betts, and Lights Off


While not the technical achievement of pre-SDK Lights Off, Trism deserves an honorable mention here simply for being the first indie-dev-hitting-it-big App Store app, kicking off, for better or for worse, the notion that iPhone development could be done cheaply and lucratively by a single developer.