Game Art: Art from 40 Video Games and Interviews with Their Creators

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  1. Peter Lantz: Using his Asperger's for a career in Video Games | The Art of Autism
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  3. GAME ART: Art from 40 Video Games and Interviews with Their Creators

Barcia showed it to Alan Emrich and Tom Hughes, who helped him make it more polished; reworking the game into what we know as Orion today. The game was epic in scale, allowing players to explore new planets, meet alien races, build space ships, and commit space genocides.

Master of Magic was just as ambitious as players controlled a wizard attempting to rule the world. By building up cities and armies and managing resources, players could banish the other wizards and take control. Classic stuff! While real-time strategy games get a lot more press these days, it was the Master series that stand out as true innovators in turn-based and action-oriented tactics. The series introduced new ideas, like multiple planes of existence, randomly generated maps and individually distinct characters, all of which have been used in just about everything since.

Barcia eventually moved on to other titles, executive producing such hits as Metroid Prime and Need for Speed Undercover. But it will be his contributions via the Master franchise that will forever leave his mark. That's quite the accomplishment -- but if you rewind a bit, you'd see that Iwata got his start working for HAL Laboratories. An important contributor to the Kirby games with Masahiro Sakurai, and eventual HAL president, Iwata played key roles in the development of some of Nintendo's most important games.

During the GameCube-era in particular, Iwata's involvement with game development greatly increased. Under Iwata's leadership, Nintendo developments shifted focus away from what other companies were doing to opt for a simpler, more accessible game for the masses. While these ideas earned Iwata criticism, it's hard to argue with the facts years after his vision began -- During the run of the GameCube Nintendo saw over a 40 percent increase in sales, while the Nintendo DS built an army of followers with games inspired by Iwata's ideals. Moreover, the Wii is immensely popular, selling millions upon millions of systems worldwide to become the most fashionable console this generation.

When it comes to videogame scores, few composers in the industry manage to capture emotions of like Jeremy Soule. The award-winning composer has created memorable soundtracks for well over a decade and has been called the "Hans Zimmer of videogames. As a composer for film in addition to software, Soule is adept at adapting scores for licensed titles, expanding upon them in ways that weren't previously done. But his real strengths lie in huge symphonic productions for battle sequences and medieval-themed games -- as showcased in the multiple Elder Scrolls, Warhammer, and Guild Wars titles in his credits.

Soule's scores range from haunting and mystical to triumphant. Soule pours a lot of himself into his pieces, working off real-life events to inject emotion into every soundtrack he composes. Soule has contributed to the idea that videogames are an art form and his compositions seem to get better with every project. Best known for his work as the producer, designer, and lead programmer of the critically-acclaimed PC game Fallout, Timothy Cain has been programming computer games for over two decades. In addition to designing and programming games, Cain designed and programmed GNW, a user interface and OS-abstraction library that supports Fallout, Atomic Bomberman, and a host of other Interplay titles.

His other coding achievements include writing critical error handling code for Stonekeep as well as digital sound mixing code for Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Edition. Cain contributed to the initial design of 's Fallout II, but decided that it was time to part ways with Interplay. Although each title was generally well-received, Troika was forced to close its doors in after running into financial trouble.

Tim did not let Troika's closure keep him down, however. In he was appointed as the Design Director of Carbine Studios. Of his future, Cain told the Escapist, "I am staying in the industry but keeping a much lower profile than I did at Troika. Instead of talking about making games or trying to convince people to play or publish my games, I am doing what makes me very happy -- making games. Prior to designing some of the most recognizable and iconic characters in all of gaming, Tetsuya Nomura started off in vocational school, creating art for magazine advertisements. Following his work on FFV, the young Nomura was appointed graphic director for Final Fantasy VI, a title that earned critical acclaim and is considered one of the best games in the Final Fantasy franchise to this day.

However, his involvement in the project was not limited to character design; Nomura created storyboards for many of the summon sequences and even had an influence in some of the key points in the story. When the game was finally released, his distinctive-looking characters caught the attention of gamers the world over and helped push the already-successful series in a new visual direction. Shortly thereafter, he began work on Kingdom Hearts, not only as the game's character designer, but also as its director. As a child, Tetsuya Mizuguchi had no aspirations to work in the gaming industry.

It wasn't until his years spent at Nihon University's Faculty of Arts that he began to look at gaming in a different way. Mizuguchi's influential career began in , when he joined SEGA. By designing the arcade racer SEGA Rally Championship, Mizuguchi brought rally-style racing and different driving surfaces to the masses, pleasing racing fans and putting his name on the development map. Mizuguchi's superiors at SEGA were pleased with his work, and asked him to design a game with a broad enough appeal to draw in casual female gamers while still appealing to more traditional gamers, too, of course.

This request, coupled with Mizuguchi's love of music ultimately led to the Dreamcast hit Space Channel 5, a music game that required players to memorize dance steps and repeat them back in a Pelmanism-style fashion. Although the game garnered a positive critical response, commercial attention in the United States was pretty low.

They exist beyond language, beyond culture, and people are fascinated by games. I don't know how long I will live, but I want to learn more about games -- and there is more to learn about creating better games. Mizuguchi's most recent console release, Every Extend Extra Extreme or E4 was released on the Xbox via its Xbox Live service, bringing an enhanced version of the original PSP release to a wider audience.

If the casual games boom can be traced back to even a general area, the folks at PopCap Games must certainly be at the epicenter, and Jason Kapalka -- along with Briant Fiete and John Vechey -- is at the center of PopCap. PopCap actually began as Sexy Action Cool yes, really, and it was based on a Seattle Metro bus ad for the movie Desperado , but its final name was far more mainstream, helping Kapalka's first PopCap title, the now-nigh-ubiquitous Bejeweled gain more traction and become insanely popular.

How popular? The follow-up to Bejeweled Deluxe PopCap's first commercial game; the original was released for free has been downloaded over million times. With the ridiculous success of Bejeweled under his belt, Kapalka went to work pulling inspiration for new causal titles. Alchemy, Zuma, Typer Shark and BookWorm followed with Kapalka on Game Design for the lot of 'em, effectively locking in PopCap as the source for casual games and giving rise to the idea of offering a free regular version and a fairly cheap "Deluxe" full edition.

Though Kapalka has been credited with nearly all of PopCap's early successes, the company hasn't been afraid to bring in outside development talent, giving rise to published hits like Pixelus and Insaniquarium, though Kapalka has continued to produce follow-ups to some of the core franchises that helped put PopCap on the map. Back in the days when adventure games were at their peak, LucasArts made some of the best around. And, in turn, Ron Gilbert made some of the best LucasArts had to offer. The creative genius behind Maniac Mansion, Gilbert not only made interesting adventure games that are considered genre classics, but he also developed a script system that became the standard for LucasArts adventure games.

They're funny and engaging, with interesting puzzles and memorable characters. The lead, Guybrush Threepwood is a lovably pathetic chap and someone that everyone should meet at least once before their gaming days are over. After Gilbert left LucasArts he co-founded Humongous Entertainment, a company focusing primarily on kid's software.

There he developed adventure titles for a younger audience, like Pajama Sam, as well as the popular Backyard Sports series which included average kids playing with younger versions of professional athletes. Gilbert's other company, Cavedog Entertainment, was short-lived, but he used his time wisely to produce Chris Taylor's Total Annihilation -- one of the greatest RTS games of all time.

As an alum of Black Isle Studios, Chris Avellone is one of a select few people who command almost universal adoration from the hardcore PC RPG crowd thanks to penning and designing large portions of games like the Baldur's Gate series including the first console version, the decidedly more action-driven Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance , Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale and its expansions, Neverwinter Nights and perhaps most famously Fallout 2 which caused a bit of a stir among the Fallout faithful when Bethesda said it was moving closer to the original Fallout's setting and tone , as well as extensive work on the Interplay version of Fallout 3, then code-named Van Buren.

So revered was Avellone's work on Fallout 2 that his Fallout Bible has become the de facto standard for insights into the game's and series' history, mythology, facts, timelines, development decisions and secrets among other things , leading to the verbose scribe and game designer's talents being in very high demand indeed.

When Black Isle Studios folded along with the rest of Interplay -- or more specifically when head honcho Feargus Urquhart left -- Avellone followed suit. He made computer games in the late '70s before they had graphics. The game built upon the idea of Adventure, but expanded the limited vocabulary into a database of hundreds of words.

Player's weren't limited to simple verb-noun commands — the game could interpret entire sentences. Blank and some of his team formed the development studio Edetic and developed a few more Zork titles. For a while Blank and his team developed software for the Apple Newton, one of the first personal digital assistants on the market. After the Newton's sales dropped the company went back to videogames. Eidetic had a bit of a rough patch in the mid '90s, with the infamously bad Bubsy 3D, widely regarded as one of the worst games of all time.

But Blank and his team didn't stop there and came back with a vengeance in the late '90s, developing a highly-regarded third-person shooter for the original PlayStation that followed an anti-terrorist unit, Syphon Filter. Among the most reputable games released on the PSone, Syphon Filter became a huge hit, prompting Sony to buy Edetic to develop two more Syphon Filter titles before Blank's departure in The duo were always developers of hardcore games, even during their run on a number of Disney titles Did you play The Lion King for the Genesis?

It will kick your ass! Adapting its formula from Dune II considered the blueprint of the modern RTS , Westwood made a complex and addictive strategy opus set in an alternate Earth where factions fight over the precious mineral Tiberium. The game's huge success and numerous awards raised the bar for PC strategy ventures with concepts that still have a foothold today. When Westwood was purchased by Electronic Arts in , Castle came along for the ride and continued to improve on the popular strategy series.

World-renowned artist Yoshitaka Amano has been making the Final Fantasy series beautiful for over two decades. His career began at the early age of 16, when he landed a job at Tatsunoku Productions where he was involved in the early anime movement. While working on anime character designs, Amano studied several different styles of illustration, ranging from early 20th century European art to the style seen in Western comic books.

He left Tatsunoku Productions in and was hired to illustrate Vampire Hunter D the following year. In , Amano ventured into game design when he joined the struggling company SquareSoft to work on what was thought to be its last game, an RPG aptly titled Final Fantasy.

The game achieved unprecedented success, and Amano returned as the character designer and illustrator for the next five games in the franchise. Beginning with Final Fantasy VII, the younger, more contemporary Tetsuya Nomura took over the character designs for the landmark series, while Amano continued in his role as illustrator, providing promotional artwork as well as his own impressions of Nomura's characters. He returned once more to design the cast of Final Fantasy IX. Amano's immediately recognizable style continued to gain worldwide attention and inspire a new generation of artists.

Yoshitaka Amano will continue to act as the title logo designer and image illustrator of the Final Fantasy series, and has been approached by Hironobu Sakaguchi to provide artwork for various titles for his company, Mistwalker. Bikini-covered double-D breasts and ninja fighting ancient bone dragons are about as far-removed from a bit football game as one could get, but such is the career path for Tomonobu Itagaki and his time spent at Japanese developer Tecmo. Born in , Itagaki was originally brought on to handle the graphics for Tecmo Super Bowl. Itagaki's brash nature wasn't fully seen until he started on his own Dead or Alive series in , which featured female characters with strategically-placed "bounce" physics and more than a passing resemblance to SEGA's Virtua Fighter, a series he has mentioned being a fan of.

When Dead or Alive 2 arrived for the Dreamcast, the graphical leap gave Itagaki and Team Ninja plenty of attention, which in turn fueled the opinionated Itagaki to spout off on a number of topics -- a trend that hasn't seen any ebb since. After reviving Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden franchise and expanding the Dead or Alive games beyond just fighting games to include a mini-game-style adventure, the developer became somewhat synonymous with generously proportioned female characters.

In true fashion, Itagaki-san split from his longterm employer Tecmo in a very heated and very public break on June 2, He resigned from his role and released a public statement alleging unpaid completion bonuses, with a complaint filed in the Tokyo District Court on May 14, citing this and also, "such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards [Mr. Itagaki]," from Yoshimi Yasuda, President of Tecmo. The suit claimed damages in total of million yen. We don't know what's next for Itagaki-san just yet, but with his newfound freedom and a proven well of creativity hiding behind dark sunglasses we're anxious to find out.

While Tom Clancy gets his name on all of the games based on his licenses, people like Mathieu Ferland are the brains behind some of the best interactive action experiences of today. Amazingly, Ferland first made his mark at Ubisoft working on the Donald Duck-licensed platformer "Goin' Quackers" before moving on to multiple Tom Clancy franchises a year later.

Though Mathieu has produced a handful of Rainbow Six titles, it's Splinter Cell that emerged as the perfect vehicle for Ferland's talents. As the producer for every major Splinter Cell game, Ferland has consistently delivered the industry's greatest stealth hero since Metal Gear's Solid Snake. Among the most ingenious action series out there, Splinter Cell has built a dynasty on its equally satisfying single- and multiplayer modes, smart writing and incredible atmosphere and gadgetry.

Thanks to Ferland's guidance, several titles in the series have won multiple awards -- including a few Game of the Year honors -- since its inception seven years ago. It's a great testimony to the quality of the brand. Ferland continued his legacy with Assassin's Creed in , and despite mixed reactions from the gaming press, the slick-looking platformer did huge sales numbers and offered some truly fantastic concepts and ideas that have already influenced other top notch games in multiple genres Prince of Persia anyone?

Best known for his creation of the insanely popular Dragon Ball Manga series, Akira Toriyama's unique illustrative style has powered some of the most important videogame RPG franchises since the s. Following up on the success of his blockbuster comic, Toriyama was hired as the character and monster designer for Enix's now-legendary Dragon Quest line of videogames more than two decades ago. The combination of Toriyama's artistic prowess and Yuji Horii's scenario designs was a winning formula -- producing what has now become one of the best-selling gaming IPs ever in Japan.

In , Toriyama and Horii teamed up with Hironobu Sakaguchi the man behind the wildly successful Final Fantasy franchise for what was hailed as Toriyama's best designs since Dragon Ball. The project? The critically acclaimed Chrono Trigger, which is still considered not only one of the best RPGs of all-time, but also one of the greatest games ever made. Toriyama's work on CT not only gave the game its own distinctive look, but it also introduced gamers to what would be the first of many spiky-haired, sword-wielding protagonists to come.

Following Chrono Trigger, Toriyama oversaw the artistic design of the combatants for the somewhat-obscure Square fighter Tobal No. In , Blue Dragon was released on the Xbox console, and once again, the world took notice of Toriyama's distinct visual approach. Blue Dragon's release reaffirmed Toriyama's position as one of the best videogame artists on the planet, and may have also helped to set a record for Akira-san, who probably has an association with more original franchises with the word "dragon" in it than anyone else.

Indeed the SCUMM engine employed by nearly all of LucasArts' adventure games owed more than a little to Grossman's handiwork, and he was regularly tapped to provide assistance to other LA staffers using the engine for games like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. With a clear grasp of what makes dialogue and game writing fun, Grossman's talents as a scribe have helped him branch out to cover a handful of non-gaming-related projects like his Poem of the Week at his personal web site, Phrenopolis, and a book of collected "Guy Poetry. As the Creative Director for Criterion Games, Alex Ward is uniquely responsible for the company's entire conceptual direction.

Considering Criterion's games division was born as much out of a desire to sell its own in-house RenderWare Engine as it was to actually make games, we'd say he's done rather well for himself in a relatively short period of time. Not bad for a guy who graduated from college with a Psychology degree, but then the games industry is nothing if not filled with people who have decidedly un-game-related majors. Even with a degree, Ward's start in the industry wasn't particularly glamorous: QA for UK-based developer US Gold which later was folded into Eidos Interactive , and helpdesk call jockey for Acclaim Entertainment eventually notching public relations and product research titles in the company's UK office.

Acclaim would go on to publish the first and second Burnout games before ultimately collapsing, at which point Ward jumped over to Criterion proper. Burnout's blend of daredevil racing and twitchy arcade tendencies lent itself to Ward's first non-racing game for Criterion, Black. The game, dubbed "gun porn" by Criterion, had its story and screenplay penned by Ward among others , and he served as one of the game's executive producers.

He's continued to guide the company's future releases, including Burnout's move to an open world racer in Burnout Paradise, and often serves as the company spokesman when dealing with the press. From rising up the ranks from the bottom of the industry totem pole to heading up creative duties at one of the most consistently bankable developers, Alex Ward definitely deserves a spot on our list.

A veteran in the gaming industry, the outspoken David Jaffe first got his start as a tester for Sony Imagesoft before earning his design chops with the platformer Mickey Mania. After completing the well-received side-scroller, Jaffe's involvement with the fledgling Utah-based development studio SingleTrac paid off when he helped produce the original Twisted Metal on PlayStation -- one of the most influential and beloved games of the bit era and the model for all future car combat games to come. It was Twisted Metal 2, however, that catapulted Jaffe into the limelight.

The game was not only met with great success by consumers, but also by critics and fellow game developers. It had done what all sequels are supposed to do -- take an already-engrossing formula and expand upon it in nearly every possible way. After multiple buyouts and parent company changes, SingleTrac ceased to exist but was eventually reformed by many of its employees, including Jaffe, as Incognito Entertainment.

With the support of his friends and colleagues, David took the reins of a number of high profile PlayStation 2 projects and hits. Twisted Metal: Black, considered by many as the best car combat game ever made was overseen by Jaffe himself, while his concepts for the innovative giant creature fighter, War of the Monsters cemented his status as a creative powerhouse. But it was the voyages of the fallen Spartan warrior Kratos in God of War that made Jaffe a household name with game dorks. Though Dave passed off the design duties for God of War II a few years later, he still served as creative director before turning his attention back to the driving genre where he helmed the PSN favorite, Calling All Cars.

These days Jaffe works on upcoming projects behind closed doors at Eat, Sleep, Play -- a development studio formed in conjunction with his longtime friend and ex-Incog'r, Scott Campbell. In his spare time, David regularly updates his blog "David Jaffe.

Peter Lantz: Using his Asperger's for a career in Video Games | The Art of Autism

Howard began his professional life in gaming at Bethesda Softworks in , a time when games still shipped on floppy disks and first-person shooters were controlled with arrow keys. But as the technical possibilities for graphics and gameplay have expanded greatly since , Howard's games have always pushed the limits of what is possible in each era. From the mouse swipe melee combat and massive randomly-generated environments of Elder Scrolls: Arena to the narrative of Fallout 3, which begins the minute the player is born, Howard has an impressive track record of pushing gaming into territory that few other designers would dare to go.

Where most designers tend to think in terms of simplicity and economy, Howard's games have been defined by a staggering sense of scale and immersion that few others can match. We go on a crusade to make the best game we can. We make the game we would run to the store and buy, we argue, we debate, we scream, we stay up all night, we clap and cheer the highs and curse the lows.

Need we say more? When Tajiri was a little kid he loved collecting insects. As the years went by and urbanization spread through even the most rural areas of Japan, Tajiri wanted to create something that would capture the excitement and fun of bug hunting. Though the game came out late in the Game Boy's life and wasn't expected to be much of a success, it quickly became one of Nintendo's biggest hits ever and spawned an entirely new universe.

The series won over parents with its lack of graphic violence, and became popular with everyone else because of its addictive RPG-lite game design. A fan of Shigeru Miyamoto, Tajiri has said that his developmental style bears similarities and for good reason -- he sees Miyamoto as a mentor and in the anime, the main rival characters are named Satoshi and Shigeru as homage to his point of view.

The score to Halo 2 was the first videogame soundtrack to ever reach the Billboard charts. It made a statement about the validity of music in our medium and proved that Marty O'Donnell knows how to craft a memorable tune or two or Halo 2's mix of ancient-sounding chants effectively complemented Bungie's grand science fiction universe -- not only in the second Halo but in those that have come before and since as well. After all, O'Donnell has been composing videogame music for years, after he switched to that from doing the jingle for Flintstones vitamins.

Marty earned his chops as the sound designer for Riven, the sequel to Myst, and he also worked some of Bungie's earlier games, like Myth. O'Donnell joined Bungie while composing the score for Oni, and after its completion earned his role as Director of Sound Design and Voice Talent for Bungie's then-unannounced project that ultimately became Halo. Ask anyone on the team -- O'Donnell's audio was instrumental in bringing out the themes and emotions of the games he handled.

This connection came from more than just musical composition, as O'Donnell is also skilled in using sound effects and ambient sound to enhance the gameplay experience. As any fan can tell you, O'Donnell favors the piano in his pieces, as exemplified by the popular original theme for Halo 3. His scores have been commended for their fluidity, and the soundtracks are so continuous that it's often hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. O'Donnell's work has been used in the popular Video Games Live concert tours, and he made a special arrangement of his scores to be played during the festivities.

That sounds good to us. Akira Yasuda's contribution to the videogame industry can't be denied. The prolific artist began his year software stint when he dropped out of college and took a job at Capcom in , working under the pen name "Akiman.

Best known for his illustrative work on Street Fighter II, Akiman worked primarily as the character designer and illustrator for Capcom over the decades, but has also served as a planner or designer on many of the company's other hit franchises. He has played a role in the development of many titles Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers, Final Fight, and Captain Commando, just to name a few and is responsible for designing some of the most well-known and beloved characters in popular gaming culture -- including the Street Fighter series' own Blanka, Guile, and Chun Li.

One of Akiman's first projects was the package illustration for the NES shooter Of course, history was made when that project, appropriately named Street Fighter II, hit arcades worldwide in SF2 redefined the fighting genre and has since spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and clones from competitors and even Capcom itself. In Akiman left Capcom and went freelance, dabbling in manga and anime while still doing illustration work in games.

Nick and Julian Gollop were indie devs and pubs before it was officially a movement. Through a series of self-written and -published early strategy games in their native England, the brothers built for themselves quite a following. Julian Gollop begin making games in the early '80s on a Sinclair ZX81 a favorite jumping-off point of many of the folks on our list, actually before eventually graduating to the Sinclair spectrum.

Both bits of early hardware helped form the lessons that would allow them to enter the industry in while still attending school. The time spent at RedShift was instrumental in building a strategy foundation for the Gollop's future endeavors, but it was while attending the London School of Economics in the study of economics naturally and sociology that Julian birthed Chaos for Games Workshop yes, the Warhammer folks and Rebelstar for Firebird, a budget label of larger Mirrorsoft who were embroiled in all the Tetris licensing hoopla in the late '80s.

Music rhythm games are so complicated these days, what with their fake instruments and their downloadable content. Back in the day all we needed for a good rhythm game was a rapping puppy in an orange hat, and a talking onion that could teach him kung fu. And boy did Masaya Matsuura give us that! Matsuura took a concept not yet seen in videogames, combined it with the crude, yet lovable art of Rodney Greenblat, and made PaRappa the Rapper, a memorable game about hip-hopping your way through life.

The game has seen a sequel, and a spiritual successor with Um Jammer Lammy. Sure, Matsuura's PaRappa didn't invent the rhythm game, but it is largely responsible for making it popular. The style was unique, the songs were hilarious and catchy, and the ability for players to freestyle to earn more points gave it a more open gameplay experience than other rhythm efforts.

The Parappa series is incredibly fun, bursting with personality and great characters. And then there were the songs -- which were all over the place across the three games. Players rapped about making noodles, rocked out with lumberjacks, helped a giant caterpillar care for dozens of babies, and helped land a crashing plane, all through the power of music. Matsuura has gone on to do other unique classics like Vib-Ribbon and Tamagotchi Connection, and will be throwing his hat back into the music rhythm game ring once again with the upcoming Major Minor's Majestic March rather soon.

Jonty Barnes has been a name that was generally tacked on after Peter Molyneux, but his credentials certainly speak to more than that. In other words, you have Barnes to thank in part for the accidental death of millions of digital lives in the early-to-mid '90s. In the later '90s he migrated over to Lionhead Studios with Molyneux and assisted in the production of the ambitious Black and White titles. That's a pretty big deal, as Black and White did things nobody had ever seen before. It was a game that was literally overwhelming with its possibilities.

While playing a god was an idea that technology couldn't accurately portray at the time, the game still offered some fantastic gameplay options -- changing the way we looked at "God Sims" forever. The ambition and enthusiasm for the title is a skill Barnes used later when he joined the Bungie team to head up production for Halo 3.

One of the major advances in Xbox exclusive installment was the increase in scale. There were more enemies, bigger environments, and sometimes up to a dozen AI Marines working with the player on screen to simulate a more realistic futuristic war. And it became a smarter game too, with the AI doing things with a focus on gameplay, instead of just looking cool -- all things Barnes had shown a penchant for in his other games over the years. As a producer Barnes has taken his skills from working on games that offer huge worlds, and hundreds of people, and channeled that into expanding the Halo franchise in a similar direction.

We have a feeling that Jonty's time in the spotlight is far from over. Eugene Jarvis is clearly in love with arcade games, and rightly so -- he was instrumental in helping the burgeoning arcade industry effectively give birth to the modern videogame. As the producer for every major Splinter Cell game, Ferland has consistently delivered the industry's greatest stealth hero since Metal Gear's Solid Snake. Among the most ingenious action series out there, Splinter Cell has built a dynasty on its equally satisfying single- and multiplayer modes, smart writing and incredible atmosphere and gadgetry.

Thanks to Ferland's guidance, several titles in the series have won multiple awards -- including a few Game of the Year honors -- since its inception seven years ago. It's a great testimony to the quality of the brand. Ferland continued his legacy with Assassin's Creed in , and despite mixed reactions from the gaming press, the slick-looking platformer did huge sales numbers and offered some truly fantastic concepts and ideas that have already influenced other top notch games in multiple genres Prince of Persia anyone? Best known for his creation of the insanely popular Dragon Ball Manga series, Akira Toriyama's unique illustrative style has powered some of the most important videogame RPG franchises since the s.

Following up on the success of his blockbuster comic, Toriyama was hired as the character and monster designer for Enix's now-legendary Dragon Quest line of videogames more than two decades ago. The combination of Toriyama's artistic prowess and Yuji Horii's scenario designs was a winning formula -- producing what has now become one of the best-selling gaming IPs ever in Japan. In , Toriyama and Horii teamed up with Hironobu Sakaguchi the man behind the wildly successful Final Fantasy franchise for what was hailed as Toriyama's best designs since Dragon Ball.

The project? The critically acclaimed Chrono Trigger, which is still considered not only one of the best RPGs of all-time, but also one of the greatest games ever made. Toriyama's work on CT not only gave the game its own distinctive look, but it also introduced gamers to what would be the first of many spiky-haired, sword-wielding protagonists to come. Following Chrono Trigger, Toriyama oversaw the artistic design of the combatants for the somewhat-obscure Square fighter Tobal No.

In , Blue Dragon was released on the Xbox console, and once again, the world took notice of Toriyama's distinct visual approach. Blue Dragon's release reaffirmed Toriyama's position as one of the best videogame artists on the planet, and may have also helped to set a record for Akira-san, who probably has an association with more original franchises with the word "dragon" in it than anyone else. Indeed the SCUMM engine employed by nearly all of LucasArts' adventure games owed more than a little to Grossman's handiwork, and he was regularly tapped to provide assistance to other LA staffers using the engine for games like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

With a clear grasp of what makes dialogue and game writing fun, Grossman's talents as a scribe have helped him branch out to cover a handful of non-gaming-related projects like his Poem of the Week at his personal web site, Phrenopolis, and a book of collected "Guy Poetry. As the Creative Director for Criterion Games, Alex Ward is uniquely responsible for the company's entire conceptual direction. Considering Criterion's games division was born as much out of a desire to sell its own in-house RenderWare Engine as it was to actually make games, we'd say he's done rather well for himself in a relatively short period of time.

Not bad for a guy who graduated from college with a Psychology degree, but then the games industry is nothing if not filled with people who have decidedly un-game-related majors. Even with a degree, Ward's start in the industry wasn't particularly glamorous: QA for UK-based developer US Gold which later was folded into Eidos Interactive , and helpdesk call jockey for Acclaim Entertainment eventually notching public relations and product research titles in the company's UK office. Acclaim would go on to publish the first and second Burnout games before ultimately collapsing, at which point Ward jumped over to Criterion proper.

Burnout's blend of daredevil racing and twitchy arcade tendencies lent itself to Ward's first non-racing game for Criterion, Black. The game, dubbed "gun porn" by Criterion, had its story and screenplay penned by Ward among others , and he served as one of the game's executive producers. He's continued to guide the company's future releases, including Burnout's move to an open world racer in Burnout Paradise, and often serves as the company spokesman when dealing with the press. From rising up the ranks from the bottom of the industry totem pole to heading up creative duties at one of the most consistently bankable developers, Alex Ward definitely deserves a spot on our list.

A veteran in the gaming industry, the outspoken David Jaffe first got his start as a tester for Sony Imagesoft before earning his design chops with the platformer Mickey Mania. After completing the well-received side-scroller, Jaffe's involvement with the fledgling Utah-based development studio SingleTrac paid off when he helped produce the original Twisted Metal on PlayStation -- one of the most influential and beloved games of the bit era and the model for all future car combat games to come.

It was Twisted Metal 2, however, that catapulted Jaffe into the limelight. The game was not only met with great success by consumers, but also by critics and fellow game developers. It had done what all sequels are supposed to do -- take an already-engrossing formula and expand upon it in nearly every possible way. After multiple buyouts and parent company changes, SingleTrac ceased to exist but was eventually reformed by many of its employees, including Jaffe, as Incognito Entertainment.

With the support of his friends and colleagues, David took the reins of a number of high profile PlayStation 2 projects and hits. Twisted Metal: Black, considered by many as the best car combat game ever made was overseen by Jaffe himself, while his concepts for the innovative giant creature fighter, War of the Monsters cemented his status as a creative powerhouse. But it was the voyages of the fallen Spartan warrior Kratos in God of War that made Jaffe a household name with game dorks. Though Dave passed off the design duties for God of War II a few years later, he still served as creative director before turning his attention back to the driving genre where he helmed the PSN favorite, Calling All Cars.

These days Jaffe works on upcoming projects behind closed doors at Eat, Sleep, Play -- a development studio formed in conjunction with his longtime friend and ex-Incog'r, Scott Campbell. In his spare time, David regularly updates his blog "David Jaffe. Howard began his professional life in gaming at Bethesda Softworks in , a time when games still shipped on floppy disks and first-person shooters were controlled with arrow keys.

But as the technical possibilities for graphics and gameplay have expanded greatly since , Howard's games have always pushed the limits of what is possible in each era. From the mouse swipe melee combat and massive randomly-generated environments of Elder Scrolls: Arena to the narrative of Fallout 3, which begins the minute the player is born, Howard has an impressive track record of pushing gaming into territory that few other designers would dare to go.

Where most designers tend to think in terms of simplicity and economy, Howard's games have been defined by a staggering sense of scale and immersion that few others can match. We go on a crusade to make the best game we can. We make the game we would run to the store and buy, we argue, we debate, we scream, we stay up all night, we clap and cheer the highs and curse the lows.

Need we say more? When Tajiri was a little kid he loved collecting insects. As the years went by and urbanization spread through even the most rural areas of Japan, Tajiri wanted to create something that would capture the excitement and fun of bug hunting. Though the game came out late in the Game Boy's life and wasn't expected to be much of a success, it quickly became one of Nintendo's biggest hits ever and spawned an entirely new universe. The series won over parents with its lack of graphic violence, and became popular with everyone else because of its addictive RPG-lite game design.

A fan of Shigeru Miyamoto, Tajiri has said that his developmental style bears similarities and for good reason -- he sees Miyamoto as a mentor and in the anime, the main rival characters are named Satoshi and Shigeru as homage to his point of view. The score to Halo 2 was the first videogame soundtrack to ever reach the Billboard charts.

It made a statement about the validity of music in our medium and proved that Marty O'Donnell knows how to craft a memorable tune or two or Halo 2's mix of ancient-sounding chants effectively complemented Bungie's grand science fiction universe -- not only in the second Halo but in those that have come before and since as well. After all, O'Donnell has been composing videogame music for years, after he switched to that from doing the jingle for Flintstones vitamins.

Marty earned his chops as the sound designer for Riven, the sequel to Myst, and he also worked some of Bungie's earlier games, like Myth. O'Donnell joined Bungie while composing the score for Oni, and after its completion earned his role as Director of Sound Design and Voice Talent for Bungie's then-unannounced project that ultimately became Halo. Ask anyone on the team -- O'Donnell's audio was instrumental in bringing out the themes and emotions of the games he handled. This connection came from more than just musical composition, as O'Donnell is also skilled in using sound effects and ambient sound to enhance the gameplay experience.

As any fan can tell you, O'Donnell favors the piano in his pieces, as exemplified by the popular original theme for Halo 3. His scores have been commended for their fluidity, and the soundtracks are so continuous that it's often hard to tell where one song ends and another begins.

O'Donnell's work has been used in the popular Video Games Live concert tours, and he made a special arrangement of his scores to be played during the festivities. That sounds good to us. Akira Yasuda's contribution to the videogame industry can't be denied. The prolific artist began his year software stint when he dropped out of college and took a job at Capcom in , working under the pen name "Akiman. Best known for his illustrative work on Street Fighter II, Akiman worked primarily as the character designer and illustrator for Capcom over the decades, but has also served as a planner or designer on many of the company's other hit franchises.

He has played a role in the development of many titles Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers, Final Fight, and Captain Commando, just to name a few and is responsible for designing some of the most well-known and beloved characters in popular gaming culture -- including the Street Fighter series' own Blanka, Guile, and Chun Li.

One of Akiman's first projects was the package illustration for the NES shooter Of course, history was made when that project, appropriately named Street Fighter II, hit arcades worldwide in SF2 redefined the fighting genre and has since spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and clones from competitors and even Capcom itself. In Akiman left Capcom and went freelance, dabbling in manga and anime while still doing illustration work in games.

Nick and Julian Gollop were indie devs and pubs before it was officially a movement. Through a series of self-written and -published early strategy games in their native England, the brothers built for themselves quite a following. Julian Gollop begin making games in the early '80s on a Sinclair ZX81 a favorite jumping-off point of many of the folks on our list, actually before eventually graduating to the Sinclair spectrum.

Both bits of early hardware helped form the lessons that would allow them to enter the industry in while still attending school. The time spent at RedShift was instrumental in building a strategy foundation for the Gollop's future endeavors, but it was while attending the London School of Economics in the study of economics naturally and sociology that Julian birthed Chaos for Games Workshop yes, the Warhammer folks and Rebelstar for Firebird, a budget label of larger Mirrorsoft who were embroiled in all the Tetris licensing hoopla in the late '80s.

Art from 40 Video Games and Interviews with Their Creators

Music rhythm games are so complicated these days, what with their fake instruments and their downloadable content. Back in the day all we needed for a good rhythm game was a rapping puppy in an orange hat, and a talking onion that could teach him kung fu. And boy did Masaya Matsuura give us that! Matsuura took a concept not yet seen in videogames, combined it with the crude, yet lovable art of Rodney Greenblat, and made PaRappa the Rapper, a memorable game about hip-hopping your way through life. The game has seen a sequel, and a spiritual successor with Um Jammer Lammy.

Sure, Matsuura's PaRappa didn't invent the rhythm game, but it is largely responsible for making it popular. The style was unique, the songs were hilarious and catchy, and the ability for players to freestyle to earn more points gave it a more open gameplay experience than other rhythm efforts. The Parappa series is incredibly fun, bursting with personality and great characters. And then there were the songs -- which were all over the place across the three games. Players rapped about making noodles, rocked out with lumberjacks, helped a giant caterpillar care for dozens of babies, and helped land a crashing plane, all through the power of music.

Matsuura has gone on to do other unique classics like Vib-Ribbon and Tamagotchi Connection, and will be throwing his hat back into the music rhythm game ring once again with the upcoming Major Minor's Majestic March rather soon. Jonty Barnes has been a name that was generally tacked on after Peter Molyneux, but his credentials certainly speak to more than that. In other words, you have Barnes to thank in part for the accidental death of millions of digital lives in the early-to-mid '90s.

In the later '90s he migrated over to Lionhead Studios with Molyneux and assisted in the production of the ambitious Black and White titles. That's a pretty big deal, as Black and White did things nobody had ever seen before. It was a game that was literally overwhelming with its possibilities. While playing a god was an idea that technology couldn't accurately portray at the time, the game still offered some fantastic gameplay options -- changing the way we looked at "God Sims" forever.

The ambition and enthusiasm for the title is a skill Barnes used later when he joined the Bungie team to head up production for Halo 3. One of the major advances in Xbox exclusive installment was the increase in scale. There were more enemies, bigger environments, and sometimes up to a dozen AI Marines working with the player on screen to simulate a more realistic futuristic war. And it became a smarter game too, with the AI doing things with a focus on gameplay, instead of just looking cool -- all things Barnes had shown a penchant for in his other games over the years.

As a producer Barnes has taken his skills from working on games that offer huge worlds, and hundreds of people, and channeled that into expanding the Halo franchise in a similar direction. We have a feeling that Jonty's time in the spotlight is far from over. Eugene Jarvis is clearly in love with arcade games, and rightly so -- he was instrumental in helping the burgeoning arcade industry effectively give birth to the modern videogame. His tenure during the Golden Age of arcade games development is the stuff of legend, with creation or co-creation credits for classics like Defender and Blaster and Robotron: during the earliest of early days at Atari.

It didn't start that way, of course; like most early pioneers of the industry, Jarvis had another gig. Unlike most early pioneers, the pre-videogames gig with Hewlett-Packard lasted all of couple weeks before he got a call from the folks at Atari. Less than a month later and his Atari superiors had left, leaving Jarvis with the unenviable task of giving The Fuji's pinball division a continuous shot in the coin-op arm. It was not to be, however, but Atari begat a chance to continue the early bit of dabbling he'd done with games when he headed to Williams.

After years of creating arcade games for others, Jarvis eventually formed Raw Thrills the better part of a decade ago, pulling in a handful of his old Midway buddies to continue building original and license-based arcade games, some of which piggyback off more tried-and-true bits of gameplay such as The Fast and the Furious being patterned off the Crusin' titles. The multi-talented Stieg Hedlund is a figure that stands out in the industry for many reasons. Toting over 20 years of experience working on games of nearly every genre, Hedlund is best known as the man behind the best-selling PC game Diablo II.

Hedlund's videogame career began in , when he landed a position at Infinity Software, a small publisher that put out games for the Amiga, Macintosh, and Commodore Three years later, Hedlund left Infinity to work for Japanese publisher Koei, where he was the lead designer for a handful of its titles. However, it wasn't until his move to Blizzard North then named Condor Software that he gained true recognition. When it was released in it was an instant success, earning critical and commercial accolades and went on to become the second best-selling PC game of all time. Perpetual closed its doors in early , and Hedlund founded the independent design firm Turpitude Design.

Now acting as Turpitude's Chief Creative Officer, Stieg's main goal, as stated on the Turpitude web page, is "to create awesome games that are fun, innovative, and 'sticky'. Jason West is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the co-founders of Infinity Ward, the development studio behind one of the pinnacles of war shooters, Call of Duty.

West has been in the industry for years with various high-profile games to his credit. He was part of the lead team at that worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault before they broke off to form the aforementioned Infinity Ward. The ways in which the West-lead Call of Duty made war games more believable and challenging are numerous. Whether it was the smarter allied AI that actually works with the player as a squad in addition to an enemy intelligence that reacts to and flanks your team, or the removal of the standard health bar years before the feature became commonplace, the game's influences reach far and wide -- and it's Jason West that's in large part responsible.

West and Infinity Ward's improvements and innovations often become industry standards for first-person shooters. As project lead for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, West created one of the most critically acclaimed games of this generation, earning numerous awards and accolades, that has already influenced other FPS titles and likely many more for years to come. Then send a thank you letter to Jordan Mechner because the dude pretty much invented the genre. Back in Mechner created Prince of Persia, a platformer that combined unique puzzles, interesting traps, and impressive animations into a single cinematic package.

The premise was simple enough and the game became an instant classic, being ported to nearly every major format available at the time. The influence of the Prince of Persia and its sequels can be seen in numerous platformer and action titles made ever since. It charted new territory for videogames that people hadn't previously thought of. Later, Mechner used his already-established originality to create The Last Express, a mystery-adventure set on the Orient Express that offered unique gameplay elements like a rewind system instead of saving.

It also featured digital rotoscoping technology to convert live action to animation. The game was not a financial sensation, but it did enjoy a cult following and helped popularize techniques later used for films like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. When Ubisoft wanted to revive the Prince of Persia franchise they called on Mechner, who worked tirelessly to write a compelling script for the successful reboot, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.

It was simple and elegant, and was the perfect spiritual successor to his original work, bringing the Prince into the current generation without feeling dated. Even though Mechner's resume isn't as packed as some of the other creators on our list, all of his games are a hell of a lot of fun, and still hold up to this day. There are few who are as dedicated to their craft as Yasunori Mitsuda. He has pulled countless all-nighters, and worked through stomach ulcers and several other physical ailments to bring gamers some truly memorable music compositions.

Initially, Mitsuda was gearing his life towards that of a professional golfer before rekindling his childhood appreciation of music in high school thanks to the scores of such films as Blade Runner and The Pink Panther. After graduating, he attended the Junior College of Music in Tokyo, where he gained valuable experience in and out of the classroom. In April of , after what he has referred to as a "disastrous" interview, Mitsuda was hired by SquareSoft as a sound composer, providing sound effects rather than music.

In , he famously gave Square's vice-president, Hironobu Sakaguchi the man behind Final Fantasy an ultimatum, stating that if he was not allowed to compose music, he would quit. His demand was met; Sakaguchi assigned him to work on the now-legendary Chrono Trigger under the watchful eye of veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu.

Mitsuda composed several more soundtracks for Square, and after completing the score for the RPG Xenogears, left the company to go freelance. He's been working for Rockstar since the late '90s and has helped shape nearly every major title the company has released. Barrera earned his chops on Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, the only skateboarding game to actually hold up against Tony Hawk during the game's heyday, but had plenty of other games under his belt, too -- including Grand Theft Auto 2 and III. Midnight Club took racing games and expanded the track to an entire city, changing the way future racing games were developed.

The Warriors took a retro movie license and revitalized it, managing to stay true to the film and be a lot of fun. And let's not forget Bully, that game that was going to teach our kids to beat up teachers, but instead turned out to be a funny, engaging look into the life of a teenager. Let's not forget about his unflinching envelope -pushing with games like Manhunt 2 which also makes him one of the few people to have seen those unedited death scenes and one of the best overall games of our generation, Grand Theft Auto IV.

Throughout his career Barrera has shown a passion and excitement for the projects he's working on. He helps promote the games in interviews that show he has an understanding of what makes a game fun, and what Rockstar fans and he as a gamer himself are looking for. Like a few other people on our list, Bruce Shelley hails from the hallowed halls of MicroProse. Like fellow alums Sid Meier, he's since gone on to start his own company, but Shelley's origins couldn't have been more fitting for the career as a strategy games designer that he's made a name for himself in. Originally a co-founder at a traditional pen-and-paper RPG house, Shelley got his feet wet in crafting board games first and took those lessons learned into his starting gigs in the games industry.

In a perfect example of the cyclical nature of relationships in gaming, Shelley eventually left MicroProse, freelanced here and there and decided to hook back up with his pen-and-paper pals to form Ensemble Studios in , which jumped right into all but printing cash with the Age of Empires series for Microsoft.

Given Shelley and Ensemble's enviable track record crafting one successful Age of Empires game and the obvious expansions each spawned after another, plus a turn at building a console RTS in Halo Wars, it was especially surprising to hear Microsoft had shut the dev house down, but with his knack for seemingly being able to build consistently great games, there's little doubt he'll be away from things for long.

Former Capcom employee Hideki Kamiya has brought gamers a collection of truly amazing titles throughout his flourishing career. Inspired by 8- and bit classics like Xevious, Gradius, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Kamiya first gained fame as the planner for Resident Evil 1 before stepping into the role of director for the sequel; a game that is widely considered one of the best if not the best in the entire series thus far.

Due to Resident Evil 2's overwhelming success, it's no surprise that development on the third installment began this time under Capcom's Production Studio 4 , with Kamiya once again directing the project. A year later it was readily apparent that what he was working on had become a radical departure from what had already been established with the first two Resident Evil games. In a surprising move by Capcom, Hideaki Itsuno was appointed director on Devil May Cry 2, a decision that completely blind-sided Kamiya. Paranoid that his job at Capcom was in danger, Kamiya went on to direct the original Viewtiful Joe, which was well-received by critics and gamers alike.

He migrated to Clover Studio and began working on the Japanese folklore-inspired "Game of the Year" winner and frequent example used in the popular "games are art" debate , Okami. Now a member of Platinum Games with other big names like Shinji Mikami, Yuta Kimura, Nao Ueda, and several others, Kamiya continues to develop cutting-edge videogames to this day.

His sexually-charged actioner Bayonetta is the next project in his illustrious career, and with an approach to videogame design that involves treating each new project as though they were one of his own children, we don't expect his passion for creating unique gaming experiences to let up any time soon. Despite being an employee at Konami for almost 20 years, Koji Igarashi's love affair with the hit Castlevania franchise did not begin until he was assigned as the assistant director, scenario writer, and programmer for 's PSX classic Symphony of the Night.

Prior to SoTN, Iga as his fellow chums call him worked as a programmer on an unreleased simulation title. From there he handled programming duties on Gradius II and Detana!! Twin Bee, before moving on to become the scenario writer for the dating sim Tokimeki Memorial. It was after he completed Tokimeki that he asked to be transferred to the Castlevania series, as he didn't have any ideas for a sequel. After completing Symphony of the Night, which to this day is recognized by many as the single best Castlevania game and among the greatest bit games ever made, Iga went on to serve as the producer on Castlevania: Chronicles, and has remained in that position ever since.

In , Igarashi's controversial decision to remove Castlevania Legends, Castlevania 64, Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon from the continuity with the rest of the series was met with some resistance by fans, but he was soon forgiven when he produced a string of fantastic GBA and DS Castlevanias modeled in the vein of Symphony of the Night. Whatever the future may hold for Koji Igarashi is still unknown, but given his history and contributions to the franchise he holds so dear, chances are good that he'll continue to produce fantastic gaming experiences.

Jordan Weisman is an entrepreneurial juggernaut. He's started more companies than most people work for in their life. He's also behind the MechWarrior games, some of the highest selling and most acclaimed PC games of all time, and the franchise that's considered by many as the very definition of mech battling games.

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The combat mechanics and graphics were incredible for their time, and honestly the game still doesn't look bad nearly 15 years later. Oh, and Weisman is also responsible for creating the Crimson Skies series, one of the most entertaining and stylish flight combat games around. Creating the MechWarrior and Crimson Skies series is reason enough to get on this list, but Weisman has done a hell of a lot more for flavor. Weisman has also had a foray into alternate reality games, and is the mind behind the I Love Bees promo for Halo 2.

He's even made an interactive novel, Cathy's Book, which sounds like, but is way cooler than, a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Weisman has had his hand in nearly every cookie jar imaginable, helping to expand the worlds and characters of videogames into unique franchises and ideas. Takashi Tezuka is one of the most revered names in the gaming industry, and with good reason. As one of Nintendo's main designers, Tezuka has co-directed many of the company's iconic titles.

Tezuka's tenure at Nintendo began back in after he graduated from Osaka University of Arts' Design Department, working alongside Shigeru Miyamoto ever since. Their first title together, Devil World, was released for the Famicom at the tail end of Once complete, work on Super Mario Bros. The 8-bit exploit of the portly plumber was an instant success, but Tezuka and Miyamoto did not stop there. Tezuka worked on Miyamoto's next innovation, The Legend of Zelda, not only as assistant director, but also as the game's graphic designer.

Subsequently, he co-directed Super Mario Bros.


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Since then, Tezuka has continued to serve as a director, producer, designer, or supervisor on all major Mario titles, up to and including New Super Mario Bros for Nintendo's handheld DS system, and the innovative Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. He produced Pikmin 2 and, more recently, the Animal Crossing series. Tezuka's creative genius has given gamers just over two decades of incredible software.

Now acting as a general manager of Nintendo's Entertainment and Analysis division along with long-time partner Miyamoto, we can be sure to enjoy more quality games from this visionary chap. The videogame landscape was changed forever when young upstart Yuji Horii joined forces with acclaimed Manga artist Akira Toriyama and music composer Koichi Sugiyama to create the first installment of the pioneering Dragon Quest franchise more than 20 years ago. Originally a freelance writer for several newspapers, magazines, and comics, Horii entered and placed in a programming contest with a tennis computer game that was sponsored by a talent-hungry Enix.

Dragon Quest's release came at a time when console RPGs where close to non-existent. Horii's scenarios, along with Toriyama's vibrant character designs and Sugiyama's striking musical score were a recipe for success that revolutionized the role-playing genre and triggered somewhat of a gaming explosion in Japan. Dragon Quest's debut also gave rise to other well-known role-playing franchises, including SquareSoft's iconic Final Fantasy series. Following Dragon Quest's huge commercial dominance, Horii went on to produce several more scenarios for the franchise's many follow-ups before finally gaining full directorship of Dragon Quest VII in These days, Horii heads his own production company, Armor Project, which has an exclusive contract with Square-Enix where he continues to oversee the line of Dragon Quest DS remakes and upcoming sequels.

Easily one of the most enterprising folks on our list, Irish developer Dave Perry seemed to have a connection to crossover licenses from the moment he began making games professionally. He broke into the industry in his mid-teens, first pulling from, and then submitting, games to magazines in the UK as nothing but code.

It was his move to the US working for Virgin Games in that helped him understand the facets of working with pre-existing licenses, ranging from Global Gladiators a McDonald's property to Cool Spot 7-Up's mascot to Aladdin yes, the Disney one. The Games Arts track focuses on the techniques and tools needed to use and understand components of drawing, design, 2D and 3D asset creation, storyboarding, and animation.

Students in the Game Engineering track focus on the technical aspects of video game development, such as game engines, artificial intelligence, graphics, and novel input devices. Students in the Technical Art track focus on 3D modeling and motion capture and rigging, as well as proficiency in game programming.

Students at the university can also participate in cutting edge games research. From the development of technologies for the future of games, to the application of games in novel or serious contexts such as medical games and apps, data analytics and crime scene analysis, the University of Utah is becoming a leader in the study of the scientific, engineering, artistic, social, and educational challenges of digital entertainment. Founded in , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute enrolls more than 7, students in more than programs through five schools.

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences offers rigorous and innovative degree programs to provide students with the skills needed to address complex social issues. The Bachelor in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences degree program helps students develop an understanding of interactive digital media and a balance of disciplinary competencies. Students also hone their design, communication, technical, and leadership skills. Designed for students with strong science, math, and technology skills who also aspire to be artists, the Bachelor in Electronic Arts degree combines studio and theory courses in the Fine Arts with Electronic Art disciplines.

RPI also offers a PhD in Electronic Arts, an interdisciplinary arts degree which combines arts practice with historical and theoretical research. Michigan State University, founded in , enrolls about 50, students and offers more than programs across 17 colleges. The College leads federally funded research projects and cross-college collaborations, and hosts international conferences.

It also offers study-abroad and internship opportunities. The MA in HCI with a Games and Meaningful Play Focus includes courses in game design, interaction design, foundations of serious games, and theories of games and interaction for design. Graduate students also can complete a graduate certificate in Serious Games.

Course topics include information and communication technology for development, and new media uses and effects. Students also gain communication and collaboration skills.

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The College is home to the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab, which designs prototypes, techniques, and games, as well as the Media Sandbox, an integrated program which allows students and faculty to collaborate with writers, artists, musicians, and scientists. Both allow student to develop game design skills and knowledge. Renowned professional artists and scholars instruct classes and provide hands-on training.

GAME ART: Art from 40 Video Games and Interviews with Their Creators

Programs prepare graduates for careers as game developers, designers, critics, and entrepreneurs. Students also complete a senior project. Students also complete a thesis and enroll in Play Labs, where they can delve deeper into the play of a particular game genre.

Founded in , Georgia Institute of Technology also known as Georgia Tech enrolls more than 25, students in more than 80 degree programs through 31 schools and colleges. The College of Computing is a national leader in research and the creation of real-world computing breakthroughs. The college allows students to customize their undergraduate degrees. The Bachelor in Computational Media with a Game Studies focus program allows students to gain theoretical and hands-on knowledge of computing and an in-depth understanding of visual design and the history of media.

The Master in Digital Media degree offers arts-and-humanities-based advanced study in media design and critique. The program prepares graduates for leadership positions as critical analysts, producers, and designers in a digital culture. Students develop theoretical and practical skills. The PhD in Digital Media program provides students with a practical and theoretical foundation for careers as digital media researchers. Its interactive design and game development program has won the top prize in the E3 College Game Competition. Founded in , Parsons the New School for Design has an enrollment of nearly 5, students and offers more than two dozen associate, bachelor and master degree programs through five schools.

The degrees prepare graduates for careers in interactive design, motion graphics, game design, and more. It also emphasizes the aesthetic aspect of game design. BFA students learn code and develop a process for researching, designing, and prototyping projects. Students enrolling in the MFA Design and Technology program complete a pre-orientation summer program, Bootcamp, which helps deepen their understanding of the critical design process.

The University of California-Santa Cruz, established in , offers more than degree programs across 10 colleges and enrolls more than 17, students. Programs offer hands-on experiences and prepare graduates for a range of game-related careers. The four-year program provides a rigorous education in computer science, as well as an introduction to art, music, digital media, narrative, and computer engineering. The four-year program focuses on the creation of novel game systems, spaces, and configurations that can produce broad ranges of player experiences.

Both degrees share a year-long game project sequence. With a curriculum rooted in code and design, the program prepares students for careers in professional game development. The MS and PhD programs in Computational Media provide practical training and knowledge for students interested in video games, social media, smartphone apps, interactive narrative, and more. The MS program allows students to deepen their understanding, while the PhD program helps students develop knowledge to change what is possible and how people understand it.

The two-year program emphasizes technological and artistic innovation, social action, and interdisciplinary collaboration. DePaul University, a Catholic university established in , enrolls about 23, students through more than programs across 10 schools and colleges. The program also includes instruction in computer vision, robotics, intelligent systems and gaming, and mobile systems.

Designed for individuals interested in game development programming, the Master in Game Programming degree includes courses in software engineering, computer graphics, animation, artificial intelligence, and software architecture. Courses combine theory and applied practice. The terminal degree also allows graduates to enter an academic tenure-track career.

Students have access to development and research labs, a game play lab, and the augmented reality lab. MIT enrolls 11, students. The labs allow students to study, design, and develop games as a supplement to the degree programs. The BS in Comparative Media Studies with a Games and Interactive Media cluster is an interdisciplinary study of television, game design, digital artworks, interactive writing, and more.

The two-year Master of Science with a Specialization in Games features a core curriculum of media studies. The program combines coursework, a thesis, and research. The program includes the basics of game design mechanics, interactivity, meaningful play, and options for creating and refining game content.

Ringling College of Art and Design features award-winning faculty, a supportive, creative community, and cutting-edge technology. Its rigorous curriculum combines liberal and studio arts. The Game Art major provides students with the professional artistic skills needed to create believable and compelling interactive experiences. Students create visually sophisticated and texture-rich gaming environments which educate, entertain, and inform.

Students have access to eight state-of-the-art computer labs and three open labs. Established in , the University of Central Florida enrolls about 61, students. Among the largest universities in the nation, the University of Central Florida offers degree programs. Video-game experts and experienced teachers comprise its faculty. FIEA features a comprehensive, industry-focused curriculum created in partnership with companies such as Disney, Monster Media, and Microsoft.

The Bachelor in Digital Media with a Specialization in Game Design allows students to integrate technology, art, and storytelling. Students receive a solid foundation in theory and techniques, as well as a broad understanding of humanities, arts, and technology. Students also learn about the culture, history, design, and implementation of video games and video game technologies. A terminal creative and scholarly degree, the MFA in Emerging Media with a Track in Digital Media prepares graduates for careers as creative leaders or professors in higher education.

The cohort-based program includes electives, theory courses, a thesis project, and supervised research. The Digital Media track focuses on the creation of story-driven content and new forms of interactive media. The Master in Digital Media-Visual Language and Interactive Media, a generalist degree, allows students to increase their understanding of digital media as an applied interactive art.

The program follows an apprenticeship model and students receive guidance from a faculty member on research and creative projects. Students can pursue a thesis or non-thesis option. In the Master in Interactive Entertainment with tracks in Programming, Art, and Production program, all students work on a final, large-scale game with fellow producers, programmers, and artists.

Students develop skills in project management, problem-solving, and teamwork, as well as the techniques and tools needed for successful careers in the gaming industry. Northeastern University, founded in , offers a range of degree programs from undergraduate to doctorate. The university enrolls more than 20, students across nine schools and colleges, including two that offer programs for aspiring game designers. Through the College of Computer and Information Sciences students take part in rigorous academic study and real-world co-op experiences, which allow students to gain up to 18 months of hands-on professional experience.

The college features renowned faculty and an interdisciplinary and innovative curriculum. Students also complete a two-semester senior capstone project. The Bachelor in Fine Arts in Games program allows students to develop the skills needed to create innovative, high-quality and expressive games and playful experiences. The degree emphasizes the creative side of game development and includes fine art, critical practice, and game design courses. The two-year Master of Science in Game Science and Design program provides students with comprehensive understanding of the creation of successful game products in a player-centric environment.

The curriculum focuses on design and technological skills, the science of game development, and an understanding of playability and analytics. Students in the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program build and develop games and playable media experiences, while receiving a foundation in computer science and specialized game design and technology. Coursework includes algorithms, game AI, game programming, theory, and program design. Students develop portfolio game pieces. Full Sail University, established in , enrolls approximately 15, students from around the world.

Students can pursue a range of entertainment, media, and arts degrees and certificates. Full Sail University delivers instruction through immersive teaching methodsin real-world production studios, classrooms, and online. The university operates on a hour-a-day basis. To mimic entertainment industry schedules, labs may be scheduled at any time of the night or day. The Bachelor of Science in Game Art degree program provides students with a foundation in interactive graphics development, including environment and prop creation, character creation, in-game effects, animation, and the game production pipeline.

Students apply traditional art and animation principles to models that move, look, and articulate realistically. The Bachelor of Science in Game Design degree program provides students with knowledge of production processes, as well as the building blocks of narrative design. Course topics include game economics, storytelling, usability, and character development. Students in the BS in Game Development program master the tools and technology to develop and program multi-player and single-player video games for personal computers, networks, and gaming consoles.

Students hone their ability to program code for artificially intelligent opponents, 3D graphic display, real-time virtual environments, and multiplayer gaming. The Master of Science in Game Design program focuses on leadership, teamwork, project design, development and prototyping, and marketing, as well as a grounding in software. Students complete a game capstone project. Students also can choose a track which meets their goals, such as working as a producer, game designer, or user-experience researcher.

The MS in Mobile Gaming degree program allows students to explore the production processes used to produce content for mobile gaming platforms, including level design, character sketches, and story development. Students explore emerging technologies, conduct mobile gaming research, and apply theoretical concepts to game development and design.

As their thesis project, students create a fully playable mobile game. Champlain College, founded in , offers a host of programs, including more than 40 undergraduate degrees and two dozen graduate degrees and certificates, through several academic divisions and the Robert P. Stiller School of Business. The non-for-profit, private college enrolls about 2, students from around the world.

The college also has campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. The college emphasizes innovation, creativity, professionalism, technological expertise, and hands-on learning opportunities. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Media degree with Specializations in Game Media helps students develop the skills needed to combine technology and aesthetics with courses in 2D and 3D images, digital sculpture, and user interface design. The Interactive Design specialization introduces students to the sensory side of interfacimages, sounds, and how pages moveas well as interactivity as a design element.

The Bachelor in Game Design degree with an optional Specialization in Sonic Arts allows students to develop extensive game-design skills in system design, narrative design, and level design. Students learn to map out, develop and create gameplay, and develop a portfolio. The specialization focuses on immersion in technical aspects of music and sound production. The curriculum includes courses in creating 2D and 3D game environments, animation, and characters. Students create a portfolio.

The program combines technical theory and classroom instruction on topics ranging from the lightest wireless applications to complex software systems. Students create operating systems, develop advanced mobile programming, and design back-end database support. The Mobile Application Development specialization allows students to develop the skills needed to build and program effective websites and evaluate the role mobile systems play in the technology field, while the Software Engineering specialization allows students to design programs for specialized domains and build software systems.

The Division of Information Technology also offers a Bachelor in Game Programming degree, which combines games with the challenge of software creation. Students develop cutting-edge skills and gain real-world experience. Students develop the skills needed to organize, motivate, and oversee groups of game designers, artists, and programmers. Students also evaluate trends in game technology. Founded in , Drexel University is among the largest private universities with about 26, students enrolled. The university is recognized as a model of best practices in translational, use-inspired research.

The university is home to Drexel Co-op, which provides professional employment experiences for students before they enter the workforce. The concentration includes courses in the fundamentals of game development and design, large-scale game development, and experimental and educational game design. The BS in Game Design and Production degree program combines interactivity and animation with an understanding of programming and design. The curriculum includes courses in digital media, as well as a six-month co-op. The school also allows Computer Science majors to complete a concentration in Game Programming and Development.

The MS in Digital Media, a two-year program, features comprehensive studies in gaming and digital media theory, history and methods, 3D modeling, animation, and interactivity. Students complete a number of projects, including grant-funded research opportunities, student-generated projects, and industry-sponsored projects. The PhD in Digital Media program focuses on translational research in digital media in an experiential learning environment. The program emphasizes a design-based research philosophy.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout, a four-year college founded in , enrolls more than 9, students. Part of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Stout offers more than 70 majors at the undergraduate to doctoral levels. The university boasts an alumni network of nearly 72, students. Both allow students to gain hands-on experience through co-ops and internships.

Students develop the skills to design and develop software programs which use physics and digital imagery to create games and simulations. Students complete a capstone project. BFA and BS students take the following courses together, allowing them to work together in teams:.

The BFA in Game Design and Development provides student with foundational skills in drawing, animation, and 3D modeling, as well as the ability to create characters, level design, and concept art. BFA students also choose an emphasis allowing them to specialize in areas such as game design, 2D art, 3D art, UX Design or pursue a generalist role. Offered through the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the Bachelor of Science program focuses on the programming aspects of game design and development.

Students enrolled in the BS in Computer Science also complete a mathematics minor along with the concentration in Game Design and Development. Columbia College, founded in , enrolls more than 10, students across more than academic programs. The college is home to a number of student organizations, including the Columbia College Chicago Animation Association and the Illustration Student Group. The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program allows students to create fun, engaging game experiences while collaborating with a team. Courses emphasize the fundamentals and application of game design theory, as well as the cultural and theoretical roles of game design.

Students choose from concentrations in Game Development, which includes courses in game design theory and analysis, narrative, and user engagement; and Game Sound Design, which includes courses in aesthetics of sound, acoustics and digital audio, and studio production technology. Students in the BA in Game Programming degree program develop simulations, games, and game-like interactive experiences.

Students work collaboratively and develop a portfolio.