Steve Hales' first computer experience occurred when he was in high school, a Nova 210 minicomputer manufactured by Data General. Later he worked on a TRS-80 until he bought an Apple II in 1978. He taught himself 6502 assembly by experimenting with other people's code and in 1981 he got his first programming job with the company Starpath creating games for the Atari 2600. Later, Hales left Starpath and got hired at a company called Synapse (nothing but an out-of-apartment company at the time) where his old high school friend worked.
In 1983, Synapse invested a lot of money into business software for the Atari 800 computer. Just then, Atari posted a billion dollar loss and the ownership of Atari went from Warner to Jack Tramiel who kept the software, but refused to pay. Synapse had to sell to Brøderbund in hopes of remaining afloat long enough to get their money from the new Atari, but Brøderbund decided to dump Synapse anyway.
He wrote games for Arcadia Corporation and, in 1987, he ported games for Epyx. In 1988 he started porting Lucasfilm Games software onto the Amiga and Atari ST platforms. In 1989 he began work for Maxis and helped with sound, music, and audio drivers until around 1995. His last known credits are for the Macintosh sound drivers used by Dynamix in 1995-96.