When he was a kid, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wrote video games for Atari computers — and you can now see videos of them

Click here to view original web page at www.businessinsider.com

Benioff flapper
A screen shot from "Flapper," a game designed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff when he was in college.
Flapper/Screenshot

If you've ever wondered what it takes to found a billion dollar tech company, the answer might be video games.

At least that was the path Marc Benioff followed.

Benioff, the founder and CEO of Salesforce, got his start in the tech industry as a high schooler in the 1980s by programming video games for Atari computers. On Wednesday, the San Francisco billionaire offered some insights into his geek pedigree, posting on Twitter links to videos of some of his old games and explaining some of the circumstances around their development.

"Magically thanks to YouTube here it is!" Benioff said in one of the tweets, which pointed to a video of his game called "Flapper." "Nostalgia!"

Benioff wrote his first game when he was 16 and started out focusing mainly on adventure-style games, he said on Twitter. After he graduated from high school in 1982, he started making arcade-style games, he said. "Flapper" was one of the games from his college years; Benioff's grandmother, Freddie Lewis, wrote the music for it.

Best know for its video game machines, Atari also offered a line of home computers that were superpopular from the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. Those personal computers helped popularize software programming.

Benioff switched to Macs in 1984, because he started using the programming language Assembly. He posted his series of tweets after a video game archivist uploaded videos of his old games to YouTube.

You can see the games and read Benioff's commentary on them below:

Thank you @HRGL89 for putting my first video game “King Arthur’s Heir” on line. I was 16 when I wrote this for the Atari 800, and it was first published as “Quest for Power.” https://t.co/AzpLfaetti.

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 15, 2017

After writing mostly adventure games in high school I turned my attention as I entered college to arcade type games and wrote “Flapper.” My Grandmother Freddie Lewis wrote the music. Magically thanks to YouTube here it is! Nostalgia! https://t.co/Fyne8xXStH

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 15, 2017

Way back when I first started writing video games I wrote Forgotten Island https://t.co/bVyETiBL8B in 1980 and it was published in 1981. In 1982 it was republished as Escape from Vulcans Isle https://t.co/L8kZmFY914. Thanks @HRGL89 for putting these videos on line! Memories!

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 15, 2017

Very happy to get a thumbs up on Crypt of the Undead from @HRGL89! It was one of four adventure games I wrote in high school with my friends when we were 16 & 17 years old. I am amazed to see all four played out on YouTube. https://t.co/7bSOyIs5YJ

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 15, 2017

The last adventure game I wrote for the Atari 800 was “Gwendolyn.” The graphics were done really well by my high school friend Lisa Walsh. After publishing this game I moved on to Assembly programming which brought me to leave Atari for the Mac in 1984. https://t.co/Za8TFmfGNp

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 15, 2017