Growing up in Gardner in the 1980s, Michael Zarozinski used to stop by the bowling alley after school to play Pac-Man, Q*bert, and Donkey Kong. Once he'd fed a few hundred quarters into the machines, though, he started noticing a central limitation.
"As soon as you learned the pattern the computer characters moved in, the game was beatable," he says. "The experience didn't grow with you."
More than two decades later, videogame developers are still hacking away at that same problem: how to create more intelligent, more realistic characters, whether they're foes to fight or allies who'll assist a player. And Zarozinski has joined their ranks, working for a Shrewsbury company called All inPlay as the company's "head geek."