Sparks is an award-winning multimedia creator, an artist, game designer, animator, writer, musician, programmer, and San Franciscan. He is best known as the creator of Radiskull & Devil Doll, a popular animation series, and also known for his pioneering games Spaceship Warlock and Total Distortion.
In 2008, Sparks began working with Teracent, building out the Flash side of their dynamic advertising platform. Teracent's quick growth and ingenuity in the advertising market caught the eye of Google, and they acquired Teracent in 2009. Sparks has been a full-time Google employee ever since.
Joe Sparks is the creator of Radiskull & Devil Doll, a very popular animation series seen by several million people since it appeared on shockwave.com. This cartoon show was entirely created by Sparks, from writing & animation to the voices and music.
Sparks is an award-winning multimedia creator, an artist, game designer, animator, writer, musician, programmer, and San Franciscan. He has developed several prominent games & entertainment software products for the web and CD-ROM. His work has been the subject of feature articles in major magazines and newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, SPIN, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Macworld, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and hundreds more.
His first game, Spaceship Warlock (1991), was one of the earliest & best-known multimedia CD-ROM games to combine all original animation, story, music, & game play. Spaceship Warlock is widely considered a pioneering work, and it received many awards and honors, including the "Game of the Year" award from Macworld magazine.
Sparks' next major achievement was the Total Distortion CD-ROM game released by Pop Rocket (1995). This influential production blended creative activities with adventure gaming. Total Distortion collected several industry awards and widespread coverage in major magazines and newspapers. A few highlights: Won New Medias Award of Excellence; The New York Times Magazine ran a 4 page story on Joe Sparks entitled "Virtual Virtuoso;" Entertainment Weekly listed the game in its top ten releases of the year; Rolling Stone placed it among the top 5 music CD-ROMs.
Over the years, Sparks has developed ground-breaking digital content for NASA Ames Research (virtual reality development, 3D animation, first desktop video production, UI for robot control), VPL Research (Video for Smithsonian, virtual world development, & Sparks' name is on one VPL patent!), Apple Computer (in-box product demos, CEO speaker support, on-site training), Electronic Arts (art and development for many desktop computer and console games), Paracomp, Macromind, Macromedia, Animatrix, LeapFrog, and many others.
Joe Sparks is a popular industry speaker on many topics relating to interactive entertainment creation and publishing. He has served as a keynote or featured speaker at: Sundance Film Festival, Seybold, Animation World, FlashForward SF, NY, Amsterdam, Recording Academy's Music & Multimedia, Macworld (Many worldwide), Macromedia User Conference (Many worldwide), SIG-CHI, Digital Hollywood, Windows World Tokyo, AEC, Macromedia Web World, Imagina Monte Carlo, Multimedia World Tokyo, HomeMedia Expo, VisComm, San Francisco Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, QuickTime Festivals, Apple Developer Conference, Apple Multimedia Conference, SF01, NewMedia Invision, Multimedia Expo Hollywood, BMUG, TECHTV, and many more trade shows, art schools, Universities, TV & radio appearances (USA, UK, Sweden, Germany, Monaco, Japan & more). Sparks has also appeared in documentaries on multimedia and the dot com era.
Joe Sparks has also served as VP of R&D for Reactor, CEO of Pop Rocket, and Artist-in-Residence of Macromedia. For over 2 years, Sparks served as Show Creator & Senior Designer for San Francisco-based shockwave.com.
Macromedia / Shockwave.com History:
His first real industry job was as employee number 7 with Paracomp, one of the founding companies of Macromedia. In 1991-92, When Sparks was founding Pop Rocket, Inc., Macromind-Paracomp joined Authorware to become Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR). In 1997, Sparks rejoined Macromedia as "Artist in Residence" and focused on creating innovative applications, evangelizing Macromedia technologies, and pestering Director & Flash product development teams. Sparks eventually helped to form a new company: shockwave.com. As one of the teams' earliest members from within Macromedia, Sparks was instrumental in the creation of one of the most popular & enduring sites on the web. From initial launch as shockRAVE.com, to the re-launch as shockwave.com (when the group was spun off as a separate company from Macromedia), and on to its present incarnation as AtomShockwave Corp., Sparks created some of the company's most unique & popular assets & attractions, including Radiskull & Devil Doll.
2008-2010 Update: Sparks joined dynamic advertising technology start-up Teraacent in San Mateo. Teracent was aquired by Google, Inc. in 2009, and Sparks joined Google with the acquisition. Sparks contines work in dynamic advertising on the Teracent team, within the MPS Rich Media group at Google.
* To get a quick sense of the reach of Radiskull, check out the volume of results from Google: Google Search for Radiskull. Keep in mind that the word RADISKULL is a very unique word that turned up ZERO results in all search engines prior to the launch of the show.) *
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 18th 2005: DJ of the Year 2005 Jefrodisiac asked me to host this Month's BLOW UP at the Rickshaw. Here's the PROMO they made for it!