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Matthew Engle and Daniel Berke grew up in Los Angeles and met at John Burroughs Junior High School, where they began writing computer games at age 12. Their first game idea, a parody of the famous Zork series, came to them while having lunch one day at Farmer's Market (on Third Street and Fairfax for those of you familiar with L.A.).  Before long the two were off and running, writing a series of text adventure games.  Over the years they honed their skills, and the culmination of this phase happened in 1989, when they won the Grand Prize at the Rockwell International Computer Science Competition for their text adventure game, Skyland's Star. In 1990, they released Skyland's Star as shareware.

By the mid-1990s, the two had formed 11th Dimension Entertainment, but by then the market for text adventure games was essentially gone.  Dan and Matt turned toward another source of inspiration - the Ultima series - and the seeds of Excelsior were born. They spent nearly three years working on Excelsior Phase One, which they released as shareware in 1993. It turned out to be quite a success.

The two then turned their attention to a sequel. Excelsior Phase Two would be bigger and better in every way, and ended up consuming nearly five years of their lives. Excelsior Phase Two was originally set forth upon the world in 1999. 

Matt and Dan keep this website going and do occasional updates to their games partly out of nostalgia for the games they grew up on, and hope that others out there enjoy the results of their work.

Who are these two dedicated gamers? Let's meet them, shall we . . .

Matthew Engle

Matt has a degree in Communications with a minor in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University. He worked in the film and TV industry for a few years, when, in the mid-1990s, his two passions - film and computers - were merging into a newfangled buzzword called "Multimedia." In 1993 he dove into this brave new world by joining Disney Interactive, where he produced the Gameboy version of Toy Story.  He subsequently worked as a senior producer at Knowledge Adventure, where he produced and designed many PC titles, most notably SpyMasters and several products in the bestselling JumpStart series of educational games for kids.

Eventually Matt decided to change directions, and he is now a corporate transactional attorney living in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a pet tortoise named Vanessa.

Matt focuses on game design, writing, and doing the graphics for 11th Dimension Entertainment.

Daniel Berke

Dan has a degree in Computer & Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After graduating in 1993, he got sucked into the defense industry, but his ultimate goal was to get into professional game programming. In 1995 he got his break and was hired at what turned out to be a doomed start-up game company. That lead to jobs at more established companies including Electronic Arts, Monolith Productions, and Microsoft. 

Over his long career in the game industry, Dan has worked on a wide range of games and platforms. His credits include Earthworm Jim 2 (Sega Saturn), Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (PC), Need for Speed: High Stakes (PC), No One Lives Forever (PS2), Finding Nemo (PC), and Shark Tale (PC). Eventually Dan wound up at Microsoft working on the Xbox Live team.

In addition to his work in the game industry, Dan develops software for running fencing tournaments. His program, Fencing Time (www.fencingtime.com), is used by nearly every fencing club in the United States.

Dan is responsible for programming and anything remotely technical for 11th Dimension Entertainment.