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Godfathers Of Gaming 99

A reader writes: "The Godfather's Of Gaming -- GameSpot UK's choice of developers who most influenced gaming. They appeared to have focused on post 1990 people, still worth a look at GameSpot UK's site."
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Godfathers of Gaming

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What? No Sierra or Roberta Williams? You can't tell me that Space Quest, Kings Quest, Police Quest, and Quest for Glory weren't influential games. Those were the games I grew up playing! How many people in here that were born in the late 70's did not grow up playing these computer games?
  • definitly should top the list of all time.. Intelligent gaming (not mindless action) interesting plots, and nice graphics (when that time came).

    Just my worthless .02
  • granted that by the time most of these people really got going Sierra was a creative void of burecracy, but still! Ken and (more importantly) Roberta Williams clearly belong in that list. How many of you remember frogger on the C64? *That* was a Sierra title! It was my second Sierra On-Line product, as I recall... right after home word. Yes, HOME WORD! That little word processor got me through ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for crying out loud!

    Their offices were also pretty cool, especially the Oakhurst offices (or was it Coarsegold? the first one... definently... the second looked like a left over warehouse... I don't care if all the developers had offices with doors and real walls... it was still a warehouse.)

    Roberta, if you're out there (and I don't doubt you are) WE MISS YOU! COME BACK!!
  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @02:00PM (#339076) Homepage
    HEY!!!! Where are Ken and Roberta Williams, founders of Sierra software?! They all but pioneered the graphical adventure in the late 80's. How many people remember playing the original Kings Quest or Police Quest? How about Space Quest and Leisure Suite Larry, both published by Sierra? As the poster said, it is post 90's, but give credit where credit is due!

    Bryan R.
  • They did mention a couple of adventure game developers, but what happened to Infocom?

    Don't mean to be repetitive, but adventures were the first computer games. Might be a *little* influential, perhaps...

  • Wow, different strokes for different folks, but when I think of Roberta Williams, I think of "hunt the pixel". Ugh. Maybe I'm not wired the same way, but I tried King's Quest IV and was horribly disappointed. The puzzles were illogical and difficult to complete, even if you DID know what you were supposed to be doing.
  • Bill Budge. He was the MAN.
  • This is EXACTLY what the original design docs for UO looked like. It's still an interesting game concept, but it's going to be terrifically hard to realize into a fun game.
  • by hugg ( 22953 )
    Modern games ... pshaw... I'm going to come over there with a Vectrex, a 2600, and a six-pack of Hooch, and force you to play "Robotank" until you curl up in the fetal position humming the 5-second loop of background music from "Journey Escape"!
  • Am I the only one that finds it mildly ironic that the profiled Japanese are mostly individuals, whereas the majority of the Americans/Brits profiled are companies?
  • Not to mention that Myst was bundled with almost every cd-rom drive and multimedia PC for the first 3 or 4 years they existed and its not surprising it moved huge numbers of copies.
  • OK, let's be honest here.

    Most people would have a job limiting their own list to 10. Just off the top of my head, the second two (don't know the first, sorry), the Darling Brothers (Codemasters), Bitmap Brothers, Andrew Braybrooke, Geoff Crammond, Shigeru Miyamoto, Peter Molyneux, Dave Jones, That Tetris Guy, whoever came up with Bomberman. LucasArts and / or Sierra graphic adventure people. iD's Doom team - probably single out John Romero. Sorry, names sometimes escape me at midnight UK time :)

    This is a massive list and trying to slim it down is essentially a silly task. There are a _LOT_ of people on this hypothetical list, no clear way of sensibly ranking them and little beyond subjective preference to rank them. Unless we're trying to start a fight, it's probably not a sensible list to try and create. Say we're grateful to some people, but don't suggest its in any way definitive or complete.
  • Bah, MI2 didn't even have Insult Sword Fighting!
    MicrosoftME®? No, Microsoft YOU, buddy! - my boss
  • What about Dan (Danielle) Bunten of Ozark Software? M.U.L.E. was a tremendous multiplayer strategy game that was very popular on many platforms, but most particularly on its home system of the Atari 400/800 computer system, where up to 4 players could play at the same time.

    And let's not forget "Seven Cities of Gold," "Modem Wars" (online multiplyer game from the early eighties) "Command HQ", and more [].

    And how about Chris Crawford (many innnovative games in the early 8-bit computer era), Jobs & Wozniak (Breakout, for Atari's coin-op division) . . . there are so many more from that era that are totally ignore here, yet they did ground-breaking work for their time! Arrghh!

    But, what do I expect? That's the way it always is with these pop culture lists. Like how all of MTV/VH1's "Top Artists" lists are always heavily weighted to those artists that rose to prominence in the era of music videos. So, you end up with the fairly good artists from recent times side-by-side with only the most mind-blowingly greatest artists from 30, 40, or more years ago.


  • Dani Bunten [] rest her soul.
  • Yeah, Zero Wing is probably the only game on the market today where kids and adults can recite the dialogue in the game.

    "All your base are belong to us."

    "What you say !!"

    "Move all 'zig'"

    I was stunned that even USA Today had an article a few weeks back about the "All your base..." craze.

  • These two games were very important to the child-me, perhaps not so much as Ultima IV, but pretty important.

  • This guy was mentioned here on /. a few days back. Apparently he first created pong on an oscilloscope [].

    Given that this guy didn't even try to patent his invention, nor earn money from it in any way, he deserves a nod.

    But I'm sure there's a dozen other people that "need" to be in this list. I do think it leans a bit heavily towards more recent games, undoubtedly because most gamespot readers would just go "huh?" at the mention anything pre-1985.
  • Running around, viewing the world in 3-D from your character's perspective, shooting each other over a network in real time? Hey, MidiMaze was doing that long before Wolf-3D was a gleam on Carmak's CRT!

    I remember dragging my system, and my Midi cables, over to a friends house in 87 to play MidiMaze. The first LAN party!
  • I'll second this one. I know 2 people that bought PSXs just so they could play this game.

    Its' a toss up between Tony Hawk and Metal Gear Solid for best playstation gave ever. Based on the number of people I know that love this game I'd proably say Tony Hawk is the winner.
  • Wizardry people. Wizardry. How could they leave out Wizardry. I mean Bultar's Trading Post?
  • Yes, you all spotted the small ommissions,
    but what about THE godfather of gaming ?
    Jeff Minter ?
    And don't say you didn't play with camels.

  • hmm. as annoying as this is. job well done.
  • I was glad to see that some of my favorite designers were represented, particularly Richard Garriot (well, in the older days anyway) and Warren Spector. Both were involved in the development of Ultima Underworld [], still my favorite computer game of all time. Vastly underrated for the influence it had.

    I thought it was interesting that a huge company like Namco would be mixed in as one of the "influential developers", given it's actually a diverse behemoth instead of a "godfather" per se. Anyway, on their list of influential titles, they left off one of Namco's very best: an innovative little 3D tank game called Assault. Assault is just about the best adrenaline-pumping pure action arcade game I've ever played. Incredibly difficult, and by the time you get to the final level, if you aren't literally breaking a sweat from moving the controllers, you're just dead. If you ever get the chance to play an original, take it.

  • I think when generating this list Gamespot was trying to be nice to everyone. There are quite a few people on here who i would not consider Godfathers. For instance the dude who made Croc [], is not worthy of the title godfather. His games were not entertaining nor technologically ground breaking. I'm not sure in what order the list was generated, but Shigeru Miyamoto should definetly be first. i guess overall it is a cool list, but they really need to narrow it down ot like 5 people.
  • Tony Hawks' 2 is now available on PC, at least in the UK, with levels from the first game included, in case anyone's tempted to buy a PSX or Dreamcast just for this game. I haven't tried the PC version, but I'm pretty sure it can't go wrong. My Dreamcast copy rarely left the machine until Phantasy Star Online showed up...
  • Yeah... it's a shame not to see ME (Chris Roberts), but I'm not 'THE' famous chris roberts unfortunately.

  • How on earth could they omit the brothers that did Myst, only the best-selling game of all time (last I checked)? And smack in the middle of the 90s, too, the period they're ostensibly referring to. Myst spawned a whole generation of (mostly bad) rip-offs, and an entire new genre of gaming.

    Rumor is that a few people liked Riven, too. And nothing rocked like Cosmic Osmo, way back when.

  • I think his hightlight to them was the fact he made Starwing/StarFox, a game which I still totally love. I've been playing Starwing and Lylat Wars (StarFox/StarFox 64 to those in the USA) a alot in the last few days, and I still love them. :-)

    However, I totally agree that he doesn't deserve gotfather stauts. His success with Starwing was really due to Miyamoto (another reason why he should be #1), and even Gamespot say in not so many words that Croc is just a Super Mario 64 clone.

    Anyway, I'm going to rant about Miyamoto now because I can't be bothered to post in the main thread. This man not only caused a revolution with Donkey Kong, but has hung around for the 20 years since and still changes the industry every few years. Most people would be happy just making the change that Donke Kong did, and Donkey Kong ALONE would get someone one of these 'godfather awards'. But Miyamoto has done so much more.

    Mario Bros (the single screen, flip the turtles and crabs one) set the standard for single screen platformer, and as Gamespot said, spawned clones such as the infamous Bubble Bobble.

    Super Mario Bros made the 'true' platformer. Massive (in it's time) side scrolling levels, heaps of weird enemies (koopa troopers, goombas :) and secrets like the warp zone. And, who remembers the super-'secret' 'Zero World' (if anyone want to know how to find it, respond to this post). SMB created, like Gamespot said, Alex Kid and Wonder Boy, and in the long-term Sonic. I still play SMB on my SNES with the Mario All-Stars game fairly often. The there is the original Legend of Zelda. This made the adventure/'rpg' genre for consoles. Anyone who has played it on their Nintendo would know how much of an adventure that game is. Miyamoto wanted to live out a childhood dream of exploring and adventure, and Zelda achived that perfectly.

    Super Mario Bros 3, this is, inho, Miyamoto's first massivly crafted to perfection game, the way he makes games totally PERFECT and will spend years doing it. Mario 3 took forever, but it was worth it. No other platform came near it, and really, none now really do either. Even Super Mario World could only be called it's equal at best. Super Mario 3 was huge, so much to do, so many powerups, it was the ultimate 2D platformer. If you don't have it, go get a SNES and Mario All-Stars now!

    I love my SNES, probably my favorite console. Miyamoto gave it a new Zelda game, Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Kart, and Starwing/Starfox just to name a few. Sure, there is SO much more I could say, but these are what springs to mind. Basically anything Miyamoto touched in the 16-bit days turned to gold, probably why I play it more then any other console...

    And, the Nintendo 64 days. Super Mario 64 created a new genre of game, and the Ocarina of Time is a well crafted masterpiece. Miyamoto was more spread across alot of games on the N64 (apart from OoT), so while not massivly chaging them all he just 'touched' them with his magic ;) F-Zero X, Mario Kart, Lylat Wars/StarFox 64 and ExciteBike spring to mind...

    The man is flat out with GameCube stuff at the moment, and when that thing is released the world will get a new batch of 'Miyamoto Magic'. I personally can't wait.

    (And sorry to hooded1, I didn't mean to turn my reply into a Miyamoto rant ;)

  • I think they won't touch anything else Nintendo. Generally with these things they say 'Miyamoto', and they think Nintendo is covered.

    Gumpei Yoko (also spelling?, I'm not sure either) also created the Game Boy, which is Nintendo's biggest console ever. He also made the Virtual Boy, and left Nintendo after that and started his own software house. But then he tragically died in a car accident, in I believe late 1999.

    Gumpei Yoko is literally a legend in the world of gaming, and you are right, how could they miss him?

  • Myst, only the best-selling game of all time

    Umm, it may have been the best selling PC game of all time, but it has nothing on heaps of console games. Console games sell more then PC games, that is a fact. This isn't PC vs Console flamebait, that's just how things are.

    Also, in Myst's help it came out #1: When CD technology was new, and was still pretty spectacular, and #2: CD Burners wouldn't hit bigtime for another 4 or-so years, so if people wanted to game (and they did, it looked great) they had to pay for it.

    Not to say Myst wasn't a game that changed things, and i'd be surprised if Gamespot doesn't mention it in future updated to this Godfathers thing.

  • Actually, as the legend goes, the grains start with TWO on the first square, then 4, etc. You end up with a figure of approximately 2^63 (64 squares, we don't count the first.)

    Or, about 30 trillion grains of rice . :-)

  • Come on, that's harsh! The guy and Carmack made DOOM, for pete's sake. So what IF Daikatana sucked? He invented the genre, let him do what he wants with it.
  • Now with Looking Glass, I agree. Totally. System Shock Two was, quite frankly, a work of art. But Doom is just as Romero's as it is Carmack's. BOTH their names should be up there, together.
  • There's little information about it available, but back when he was still with Origin he said it was called 'X' because he thought of it as the next step in the Utlima evolution. It was never going to be an Ultima game (though many had high hopes because of cryptic comments like 'Ultima 9 will be the last game to feature the world of Britannia').

    What little he did say about it, however, made it sound like a blend of Ultima Online & Ultima IX. He loved the idea of people forming parties with friends (or with strangers and making new friends) and adventuring out into the world (I'm not sure if he preceded Baldur's Gate on this). It sounds like an online game, but it seemed like he wanted people to be able to play it on their own if they really wanted to.

    Most interesting, however, was that he had some good ideas about how the world would operate. He seemed to be trying to design a world that 'maintained' itself. ie. didn't require 'dungeon masters' to initiate quests (like the major events in Everquest or Ultima Online).

    The example he gave was that there's a dragon in an area of the world. It eats some of the local wildlife. Eventually there is no food. So it wanders into a nearby town and periodically eats a villager. Next time a hero (player) wanders in, the townspeople react by beggin him/her to help kill the dragon.

    Nothing particularly unique about this situation, but the important thing to note is that Gariett didn't think there needed to be a specific AI script for this event; if the dragon was programmed correctly, and the town's people givent he proper AI possibilities, this should all occur 'naturally'.

    A tall order, sure, but an interesting one. Other than that, I haven't heard a peep out of RG since he left Origin. Hopefully he'll pop back up somewhere soon and give us the skinny on what's he's working on and if it's still 'X' (might not be since I noticed at least some of the information in the bios was several months out of date - like Sid Meier's cancelled 'Dinosaur' project being listed as 'in the early stages of development')

    Wood Shavings!
  • Okay, some of their picks were good. But what about some of those great text adventures, like Zork? Or some of the orginal MUDs that spawed the MMUDs of today? And I have to ask: how can you ignore Roberta & Ken William's enormous contribution to gaming while pick at least five racing game devlopers?!

    Now, granted, I'm hardly a racing game fan. But how much influence can a racing car game have? I mean, give it to whichever of the three of them deserve it, but don't clutter up an oddball list with five people who made 'good racing games'.

    Also, there are too many folks on that list who are one-trick ponies. The guy who created Resident Evil? Okay, a decent game I'm told, but if that all you've ever done maybe they should leave you off the list until you make a little more of a mark? The same goes for Hideo Kojima; Metal Gear Solid was a good game, but it's one game. And all he's really done besides that is the forthcoming sequel. That makes him worthy of godfather-hood? You could almost say the same of Gariett & Wright except they have - over the years - proved their versatility. Gariett may only have really done the Ultima series, but only an idiot would say it was the same old thing each time. Wright's proved himself at long last with The Sims, though it'd be hard to dispute the influence SimCity has had on it's own.

    Really, I think this list should have maybe 15 people on it. Too many who don't deserve it (but may in time) and a few obvious ones that are missing!

    Wood Shavings!
  • As for Bunten, her Modem Wars was the first multiplayer RTS ever. 'Nuff said.

    Are you sure she wasn't a he then? Sorry but someone had to say it. Personally I thought Command HQ was one of the best games of a all time so I can't really complain that it's author later became a she. Takes all kinds I guess.

  • Yes, they definitely missed Dani Bunten [].

    Mule was not only a tremendous multiplayer strategy game, it was also one of the first to simulate economies and market forces. Well, that and lemonade []...

    His games were deceptively simple to play, but amazingly rich in design. For instance, the world map creation feature in Seven Cities of Gold was a true marvel in design, and in many ways has never been rivaled. Compare it, for instance, to the creation of worlds in Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri, for instance. As amazing as Sid is, he has no doubt learned a few things from Dan.

    Seven Cities of Gold created intricate worlds that took into account weather, geography, the flow of rivers, the mood of the native tribes, morale, and the awe and amazement of seeing Conquistadores for the first time. Absolutely amazing design for the time... it is frankly astonishing to me that games so detailed, elegant, and beautiful could be created on such computers.

    As for me, I think I will go home now and play some Mule []... beats yet another shoot-em-up any day.

  • So what if it only influenced other tetris clones? There were MILLIONS of them. Furthermore, it was one of the only games to date that has had strong appeal to women. I consider it to have had a big effect, even if only by spawning a new genre.
  • OK, first up, it's a UK site, and the UK is a different country. We do things differently here. (With apologies to L.P. Hartley)

    Over here, during the late 80s and early 90s the focus was not, as in the US, on consoles and occasionally PC. The main thing over here was 8 and early 16-bit home computers. Jez San is not mainly there for StarWing, he is there for Starglider (I & II), without which there would be no StarWing. Granted Miyamoto added touches to the formula that made it engrossing to the Nintendo crowd, but to call the Argonaut contribution irrelevant is a bit of a slap in the face. Just because it wasn't on the NES doesn't mean it didn't exist. Starglider isn't on the list next to the pic because it was a different time frame, but ignoring it's contribution to StarWing would be nigh-on criminal.

    Gamespot could have made it entirely UK-centric by focusing entirely on the bedroom pioneers like Braybrook, Crowther et al. But they're trying to be all-encompassing, and to be fair, aren't doing a bad job (if a little slavishly devoted to the Nintendo/Sony axis).

    Yes there are a million names that could be added to the mix, and I expect that later they will be. Gaming is something that has evolved very differently in different places, so it is only to be expected that omissions occur.

    And to those that call placing companies in there unfair, and pandering to the marketers, that's a bit unfair as well. Firms like Psygnosis and Core weren't the slick marketing-driven software houses that proliferate today. They were descended directly from the bedroom coders getting together with their mates. Psygnosis themselves were formed from the ashes of Imagine (an even earlier 8-bit publisher), and in the early days had a habit of getting Roger Dean to do their cover artwork and putting game T-shirts in boxes (I still have my Beast II tshirt somewhere).

    It's a little hard to explain exactly why, but names like San, Edmondson, Braybrook and Jones always stir up more in me than Miyamoto ever will. Not because Miyamoto isn't worthy (anyone with half a brain can see that his contribution has been incredible), but simply because I wasn't part of that kind of gaming, and thus was inspired by different people.

  • Is this written by fifteen-year-olds? (Not to slag adolescents, but how anyone older than that and involved in gaming could leave out Dani Bunten, Roberta Williams or Steve Meretzky is beyond me.)

    (And what's with including corporations as "godfathers"? Give the designers credit, not the marketers.)

  • Agreed about Interplay, but... Descent? What about The Bard's Tale, Wasteland, and Battle Chess? (Not to mention Fallout.)
  • The original Wizardry entrepreneur's name was Boltac.
  • The -1 world! Oh man.. okay, it was tough, but here it goes:
    On level 1-2 (the first underground level), keep going until the end. Now, don't go down the final pipe and don't go over the top to the warp zone. Instead, kinda inch over until you can just barely see the first warp zone pipe. Break the bricks over the exit pipe and until you've got 1-2 left and then edge the screen over until there's just a tiny gap. Takes a lot of work to get it right. Now, you have to jump /backwards/ so the back of Mario's head goes through the bricks. If you do it right, Mario will go all the way through to the warp zone. Go down the first pipe without scrolling the screen and you'llve in the -1 world!
  • Hell, I'd put Romero on my list just because of the negative impact he's had on the gaming world!

  • by donglekey ( 124433 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @04:49PM (#339118) Homepage
    How could they miss the late Gumpei Yoko (spelling?) He made the Metroid series, and just because there haven't been any recent games people seem to overlook. And what about the Zelda series?
  • These guys were gaming gods in the 80s. Lords of Midnight, Elite and Manic Miner were probably the most important games of their time.
  • I can't believe that it took until day 3 to get Will Wright on the list.... He changed the way most of us played games when we first played Sim City (Still one of my favorite games of all time) and with the huge popularity of "The Sim's" today I'd be hard pressed to not have him one of the first people honored.
  • by jedwards ( 135260 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @01:54PM (#339121) Homepage Journal
    An interesting selection. My addition to the "why isn't X there" list is Alexey Pajitnov?
    I've wasted more time playing tetris [] than anything else.
  • id Software did not create Hexen. Although the game was based upon a (very heavily modified) Doom engine, the game itself was developed by Raven Software, along with Heretic, Hexen II, and Heretic II. 'tis a shame that so few people are familiar with the Heretic/Hexen series...
  • err. try that again? There was a mention of OSX on Friday, a rather busy and full discussion of it in fact, that dealt with several of the points of its release on that date, and you're annoyed because they didn't run another story to say 'yes, just as we've just told you, OSX is out now and its feature incomplete, just as we talked about'. Not news, methinks; I'm all talked out about an OS I won't be buying for a few months yet (until its deemed good enough to ship as the default OS in Mac boxes, as I don't have one right now).

    Besides, everyone knows that the story moderation is 'quirky' to say the least. Posting one story doesn't affect the decision to post another very much.
  • I think the point is, that his Daikatana not only sucked as a bad game, but sucked the life out of other, better products that were sacrificed to pay for its development, particularly the genius that was Looking Glass, who watched games like the Thief series and System Shock II fail to get a marketing push because they were too busy hyping a game two years late and dire when it did come out.

    If you're going to put a Doom name on the list its got to be Carmack; without his engine design the relentless improvement in 3D game graphics wouldn't be where it is - and don't forget that Half-life (the best PC game ever!) is based off the Quake II one.
  • even if you are just looking at 90's games - Neversoft. Previously, having always had a fairly up-to-date PC, I never even considered buying a console. For the Tony Hawk game alone, I broke down and bought a used Playstation.

    I had pretty much given up on games altogether, yet I'm addicted again. To me, the Tony Hawk series are some of the greatest games ever created. I haven't had this much fun with a game since I first played Doom in 94.

    Thanks to Neversoft, I bought a console and became interested in console games, whereas before I was more than satisfied with only owning a PC. I also know I'm not the only one who bought a Playstation solely to play this game.

  • Yes, I know it's a '90s-centric list, but Chris Crawford and Dani Bunten both belong in any list of influential game designers.

    Crawford wrote a number of envelope-pushing games for the 8-bit Atari platform. Eastern Front:1941 used various clever tricks to squeeze 16 colors onto the screen and was a landmark for interface design (a complex wargame controlled using only the joystick and spacebar). Later, he switched to the Macintosh, where he wrote the groundbreaking geopolitical simulation Balance of Power.

    As for Bunten, her Modem Wars was the first multiplayer RTS ever. 'Nuff said.


  • Matthew Smith was odd. Only produced two real games of note, both on the Sinclair Spectrum.

    Manic Miner was a 20-screen platform game that drove the Spectrum to its limits - flicker free sprites and background music had not been attempted before at the same time. Other action games were poor in comparison at that time (mid 1983) - Imagine (one of the few other software houses producing anything of quality) had the graphics but lacked the gameplay and suffered from bad flicker too.

    Jet Set Willy added to the formula by adding more rooms (now 60) by using an encoding system instead of the one-byte-per-character of the original. Extra hazards had been added - ropes, arrows etc. The graphics of the hazards were astounding and really well animated.

    There were also a lot of odd references in the rooms - Pink Floyd, Furry Freak Brothers, Imagine Software (also dug at in Manic Miner) and many more. The game was impossible to complete as it was just too big.

    Jet Set Willy II appeared later. By this time Matthew Smith had disappeared, and the game was basically a back-port of the Amstrad version of JSW 1. More rooms (40-50?)had been added, by means of a more sophisticated compression mechanism, but the colouring of the screens suffered as a consequence. The new rooms were not as good, with nowhere near as intricate designs. The new sprites were on the whole a poor imitation of the original.

  • definitly should top the list of all time.. Intelligent gaming (not mindless action) interesting plots, and nice graphics (when that time came).

    Sure, they should be on the list, but on top??
    Warren Spector made intelligent gaming.... and still does! Roberta and Ken had their time, but Warren can still make a game that, not only creates a wonderful plot and great intelligent gaming, but can also stay with the times, and sell lots of copies.
    So I think Roberta and Ken definately deserve a spot, but not at the top...

  • I completely agree with you, although Spector tops my list.
    Richard Gariott can create gigantic worlds in games to the point that you can't imagine how he squeezed the levels into a single CD.
    But Warren Spector.... he can create a genre-bender (ultima underworld, System Shock, Deus Ex) and have a plot that will keep you captivated for hours and hours.

  • by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:12PM (#339131)
    The seeds of this gaming revolution were already beginning to sprout before the formation of id Software, when John Carmack, Adrian Carmack and John Romero were producing games for Softdisk Publishing at the start of the 1990s. Titles like Commander Keen - Invasion of the Vorticons and Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion both had similar themes: one man against hostile forces armed with a gun. Not the most original subject matter, granted, but it was their subsequent idea of a homage to one of their favourite games which made them quit Softdisk Publishing to create their own company. And so id Software was founded. Its first product was Wolfenstein 3D.

    Bullshit. A bunch of guys from Softdisk formed id Software to publish the Keen series; they later progressed to Wolf3D. Softdisk had nothing to do with the Keen stuff's publishing. Do I seem a little worked up? Maybe. I just looked at a banner ad to 'pay' for this so-called 'journalism.'

    I think everyone who's ever read a "history of gaming" article would be familiar with the story, and somehow whoever wrote this article has it all mixed up?

    Pure tripe. I wonder how much else in the article is just plain wrong?

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @02:00PM (#339132) Journal
    Looks like they wanted to have tasty bits for each day. and lets face it - do you want to save the best for last, or have all the good stuff up front?

    This looks like to be an interesting read all around.

  • I remember dragging my system, and my Midi cables, over to a friends house in 87 to play MidiMaze. The first LAN party!

    Seven whole years earlier, Flash Attack [] was doing multi-machine head-to-head competition (although it wasn't an FPS) on the Commodore PET. I was into Apple ][s at the time, but played the later port that ran via MajorBBS.

  • ... father of the Wing Commander series and its various spin-offs.

    These combined action/story games were more like interactive movies than traditional flight/fight sims. They didn't inspire many play-alikes, but they sure were memorable.
  • There is a section:
    "he began working on a mystery project which he calls, simply, X"

    Anyone knows anything about this?
  • Interplay fame to glory is Descent []: The only first person shooter that can give you motion sickness...
  • by JWhitlock ( 201845 ) <> on Monday March 26, 2001 @02:28PM (#339137)
    There's some good obvious picks on the list, but leaving out Steve Russell (Computer Space), Nolan Bushnell (No Introduction Needed?) and David Braben (Elite) are all inexcusable omissions.

    What about Shashi of Sind? [] It's inexcusable to miss one of the true Godfathers of gaming. I agree, the list is stuffed with people from this millineum at the expense of the true pioneers.

    A bit of satire there - not everyone knows who the people are that you are mentioning, including myself. Could you give a short bio?

    BTW, Shashi of Sind, according to a Indian legend, invented Chess. King Rai Bhalit in North West India wanted to reward him, and Shashi asked for one grain of wheat on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, etc. The king agreed. This is (2^65)-1, or 3.69x10^19 grains, much more than the total amount of grain availible.

    This is probably the basis of the legend that Chess comes from India, but Sam Sloan [] thinks it came from China.

  • is the one by gamespot. check it out []. They even included the tetris author, roberta williams, and Nolan Bushnell (of Pong).

    Any such list that doesn't count the influence of Pong and Atari is pure crap. Hmm...let me see, the *first* video game? Naah, not really influential.

    BTW, why don't people post their own lists? That would be interesting to read.

  • Heh... the page on Psygnosis certainly rings true. I worked there for a few years up to '96, at which point there were roughly 30 people in our office (not the Liverpool one). About a year after I left, I went back to visit, and found about 80-100 people working there. Clearly, they had moved well beyond the point where everyone knew each other on a first name basis. (One of my former colleagues told me that the guy who he had initially thought was there to fix the heating turned out to be a second-line manager or something).

    Needless to say, after hiring so many suits, and failing to put out enough quality titles, the implosion was almost as spectacular as the explosion.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto: Donkey Kong, Mario *
    Psygnosis: (A bunch of titles other than they ones I liked.)
    Richard Garriot: Ultima * (I liked up to IV)
    Will Wright: Sim *
    Namco: Stuff
    Mike Montgomery: Xenon *

    No Atari?
    No David Crane?
    No Bally?
    No Williams?

    Hmm, I wonder if there's a museum of these things? Or would it be a mausoleum?


  • John Carmack and John Romero for practically starting the FPS genre would be a good start... Where would a lot of the industry be without the FPS? Like em or not they're a huge market.
  • ...and David Crane. Pitfall and River Raid were classics (but I guess this falls under the "What have you done for me lately" genre)
  • by NecroPuppy ( 222648 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @01:50PM (#339143) Homepage
    That these appear to be in no particular order, but Shigeru Miyamoto should have been first.

    I mean without his contributions, where would we be? I think Donkey Kong was the first game I ever played, if only there was an egg crate there so I could reach the controls...
  • The whole thing is like the Grammys - the opinions of a few people who are blissfully ignorant of the wide ocean that lays before them, preferring instead to stare at the muddy puddle at their feet.
  • Sure, tetris is a great game, But WHAT did it influence?
    Mainly other varients of tetris games, which were mainly exact clones with small changes.
  • A reader writes: "The Godfather's Of Gaming -- GameSpot
    And he should watch his genitive.
  • Everyone knows that Privateer is still the best space game there is, no? ... and Monkey Island 2 is still the best adventure. ~ krabbe
  • As a former SMOG (hint, it's like SMOF, only for gaming), I find the focus on 1990s and later gamers slightly insulting. Especially since most of what we did influenced everything that you see nowadays - the choices we made, the battles over simplicity in simulation and realistic systems over complexity and bad game play, are what makes things the way they are.

    I mean, friends of mine like Steve Jackson, who was my Gaming GoH at Westercon 40 in Vancouver (an old favor called in, and a chance to ply him with sushi), almost had their businesses destroyed by the Secret Service, resulting in the establishment of the EFF. And that's for trying to do a game about Hacking!

    We're still stuck with five basic game types, as a result of our choices in what we wanted to do - I keep hoping the 21st Century will see new game concepts, but the only one I've seen so far is The Sims - which may be the precursor to a new system. I'm still waiting for someone to do Killer Klowns From Outer Space as an interactive multi-player RPG game system where you become one of the Klowns or those who fight them - or how about Alice in Wonderland or the Oz books as a basis for 3D interactive RPGs like MechWarrior but with fun as the object.

  • Definitely - man, this was one of the first companies that grokked how to be funny - from those humorous games we learned how to expand our game design repertoires, as evidenced by games such as Teenagers from Outer Space (once did a variant where you used the Clue gameboard and alien game pieces), Globbo, and all the internal jokes (like Bard's Tales - c'mon, didn't you think the in-jokes were killer?).

    My son still doesn't get why some of the cheat codes to his favorite games make me break out in laugher - man, where would we be without that?

  • yeah, Atari is so cool that we're getting back into it again in the new century.

    Most of us moved on when we couldn't hack the hours (70+ was average amongst game designers when I did it in the early 80s) and found cheaper ways to make more money with fewer hours.

  • And think of the arcade games that burned through our laundry money - I must have blown $10,000 on quarters to play Ms PacMan back when I was in the Army (it was that or Asteroids - another fun choice).

  • I happen to be both an english national and a British game developer. I doubt that you are though or you wouldn't be so blind to the situation, in fact you probably would have noticed the way US companies offer such outrageously high pay and benefit deals to people who just happen to have been born on the other side of the ocean compared to their own countrymen.

  • John was mentioned in the part about id software, since he did help make all of their most influencial titles...

    as for cliffy b? well... yeah.
  • good point. I'm sure descent was some inspiration for Foresaken, because it can cause its fair share of motion sickness as well...

  • "Why run stories about established developers? Why not mention some of the newer guys like Sphidia (these guys are making a game called Dynasty) and Island Four (not much there, you might want to check here.)"

    The whole gimmick of the story was to be about the most influential gaming companies. I'm guessing that being influential and being an established developer sort of goes hand in hand. I can't think off the top of my head of one that doesn't go with the other.

    Sure, they could write about newer games, but you're trying to argue against a topic that they're not even talking about. Was marathon a good game back in the day? Sure. I guess. Was it as influential to other developers as Doom? not a chance. Does Halo look good? I think so. Will it be influential for future game designers? Can't really tell... gotta wait a couple years and see...

  • "Yes, HOME WORD! That little word processor got me through ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for crying out loud!"

    I managed to scrape through elementary school without a word processor. If my memory serves me correcly, i didn't have too many essays to write back then.

  • and don't forget! if you go down the 2nd pipe instead of the first it will warp you all the way out to level 5! HOORAY!

  • What about the folks over at Lucasarts for their Monkey Island games and other adventure games?

    Or anybody over at Sierra for that early era of adventure games like the Kings Quest and Space Quest series? Or Sierra's impressive transformation into a financially viable publishing house?

    And on a more personal note, I'd also nominate Jordan Mechner for games like the Prince of Persia and, later, The Last Express.

    Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but being able to tell a story still seems important!

  • Mmmmmmmm Slashdot has gone to hell.. I think i noticed one or two posts about the article, the rest is full of bullshit like the above.. Slashdotters are now ruining a once good forum, degenerating it into the mindless filth that makes up most of the internet nowadays..

  • The nineties were kind to video games. In the last decade they blossomed into a full fledged industry, a far cry from the "trend" that they were supposed to be, now a multi-billion dollar industry, this article covers the last few years, but not the beginning of the decade it seems. What about the old 8 and 16 bit times? They were rarely covered, but they were still important, (Super Mario 3 came out in 1990, one of the greatest selling games of all time, Tecmo Super Bowl, a game which is still played to this day and coveted by anyone who owns it).
    I suppose the hype of PS2 will be a footnote in 2011?
  • by geomcbay ( 263540 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @01:55PM (#339161)
    There's some good obvious picks on the list, but leaving out Steve Russell (Computer Space), Nolan Bushnell (No Introduction Needed?) and David Braben (Elite) are all inexcusable omissions.

    Also, if they are going to credit companies, like Namco..Where's the love for Atari? The list is stuffed with people still in the business at the expense of some of the pioneers that have moved on.

  • Yes, Bungie [] Ever heard of Jason Jones? Alex Seropian? Ever heard of Minotaur? Pathways into Darkness? Marathon? The Myth Series? Oni? Halo?

    These guys blow the competition out of the water AND they've been around for over ten years! So why the weren't they mentioned?

    Give me a break here, these guys have put out much better stuff than Westwood, iD AND Blizzard (yes, I feel that Myth is better than Starcraft, and no, I'm not trolling).

    Why run stories about established developers? Why not mention some of the newer guys like Sphidia [] (these guys are making a game called Dynasty) and Island Four [] (not much there, you might want to check here [].)

  • PiD was the first 3d Mac game to use real time texture mapping. Technically it's an RPG though.. an RPG with guns and mazes.. Sounds like a FPS with a story!
  • How could they leave out John Romero, who advanced the gaming industry 10 years by showing every other developer what NOT to do if some suits hand you a company? What were they thinking? Sid Meier? Bah, all he showed how to do was be successful! John Romero showed us how to make the Battlefield Earth of computer games and still be able to suggest a sequel. I'm not even going to mention how they left out Cliffy B...
  • Style magazine The Face put Lara on the cover and in doing so did more to get rid of gaming's nerdy image than anyone else did.

    Yes, and thousands of fan sites that came shortly after, with page after page after page wondering about her cup size, brought the nerdy image back 100-fold.

  • The Japanese have a long cultural tradition of self-abasement and giving up their identity to the collective whole. Americans invented the term 'ME Generation'. Nuff sed.

    (unless of course, that WAS your point, and I'm now sitting here looking silly)

  • What? No Ed Boon of Mortal Kombat? I mean what would gibs be without that MK finishing move?
  • Did you actually read the article? They talked about id software. I think the article spiraled out of control because they also talked about almost every single designer of almost every single decent game that has ever come out.
  • How the makers of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall and Zork could be left out of history is beyond me. At least Slashdot payed its respects [] to these incredible pioneers. I think quite a few people remember the Infocom games as their first experience with real plot development and authorship in gaming (and remember Leather Goddesses of Phobos as their first experience with obscenity in gaming).

    Anyone who enjoyed these games and reminisces about them, still, should do what I did and get the Infocom Text Adventure Masterpieces [] collection.

  • They also claim on the iD page that they invented the FPS genre. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Bungie's Pathways into Darkness first?
  • Actually, if you really want to get into it, I think Gumpei Yokoi's greatest contribution to gaming was the D-pad. He developed it for his Game & Watch games (also his invnetion) and patented it. That's why you didn't see other plus-shaped D-pads on any other non-Nintendo consoles until Dreamcast, which was developed after the patent wore off.

    On the other hand, maybe they didn't include Yokoi because of his occasional failures. After winning big-time with the Game Boy, he went downhill with the Virtual Boy, and the WonderSwan is only mildly popular.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.