A guide to the top ten game designers
- Ewen Hosie
- 12 November 2014
Including Nolan Bushnell, Shigeru Miyamoto, Shigeru Miyamoto, Rob Pardo, Markus 'Notch' Persson and Will Wright
For kickstarting a beloved industry
A certifiable gaming godfather, Nolan Bushnell is a co-founder of once-giant gaming company Atari, and was also instrumental in the development of the game Pong, the first video game to truly capture the imagination of the public.
For bringing character to gaming
Arguably the most respected game designer in the world to this day, Shigeru Miyamoto is the creative behind some of Nintendo's biggest hits. He is the inventor of franchises such as Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, and The Legend of Zelda, and was also a key proponent in the success of the Nintendo Wii.
For making games a storytelling medium
Roberta Williams is considered a pioneer in the graphic adventure genre of games, particularly with her popular series King's Quest, which started in 1984. Her ambition led to a focus on narrative and storytelling in video games that had never been seen before, and paved the way for future luminaries such as Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer, the creators of Monkey Island.
For striving towards realistic 3D gaming
Yu Suzuki is very much Sega's answer to Shigeru Miyamoto, coming to prominence in the 1980s with arcade hits such as Outrun and Hang-On. A known perfectionist, he is considered a driving force in pushing 3D graphics with his Virtua series of games, as well as the Dreamcast title Shenmue, one of the most expensive games ever made.
For making the console cool
The poster child for Sega's golden age, Naka is famous as the lead designer of Sonic the Hedgehog. Although he didn't design the look of the characters (that credit goes to co-worker Naoto Ohshima), he was in charge of its overall direction.
For a world viewed through the eyes of the Doom Guy
John Carmack popularised the now-common first-person shooter genre of game. A chief designer on games from the company Id Software, his credits include Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He is now working on the highly anticipated Oculus Rift VR project.
For allowing us to play God
If you've ever played some kind of strategy management game on Facebook or your phone, chances are it owes a debt to Will Wright. With his SimCity series, he showed that games weren't necessarily all about winning, and with spin-off The Sims, he gave birth to an industry phenomenon.
For giving us the power of conquerors and kings
The creator of several classics, Meier is primarily known for his addictive Civilization series, where players select from a list of famous world leaders, then build their nation from the age of the cave to the race for the stars.
For pushing connectivity in a vast online world
Pardo was the lead designer of cultural phenomenon World of Warcraft. Others did online role-playing first (Ultima Online, Everquest), but World of Warcraft perfected the moreish, hamster wheel 'reward through repetition' formula which even now keeps over seven million players hooked as the game celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Markus 'Notch' Persson
For taking indie gaming into the stratosphere
Swedish indie king Markus Persson, of the hugely successful games company Mojang, is the inventive designer behind Minecraft. A modest, independently produced title that started out small, Minecraft's combination of limitless building options and survival gameplay has propelled it into a worldwide hit.