Why is there no such thing as a game celebrity?
©2010 Alex Baldwin
We all know game development is one of the most overlooked creative industries. While you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t know the names James Cameron or Beyonce Knowles, mention Peter Molyneux or Shigeru Miyamoto to any non-gamer and you’ll be met with blank stares.
E3 is just around the corner, and the halls in LA’s Exhibition Centre will be filled with many of gamings best. But why do they not attain the level of success other mediums do, especially considering that their games can bring in twice as much revenue than some block-buster movies?
Try taking the gaming celebrity quiz at the end of this article, and see how well you know your favourite hobby.
But why is this so?
We all know the games industry is one of the most widely spread forms of media in the world, with Mario, Sonic, Halo and God of War recognisable to even the most technologically illiterate. This is much like films, but with the difference being most people can name Peter Jackson alongside Lord of the Rings or Keanu Reeves with The Matrix.
You’ll more often than not be able to name the stars, director, producers, or more of many films you watch, with the names becoming even more prominent to the point where seeing ‘from Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight’ in the trailer for Inception instantly piques the audience’s interest.
So why not games?
Why don’t you know the creative director of LittleBigPlanet, or the writer of Alan Wake, or the lead programmer of Forza 3? Many of the potential development celebrities will be at E3 giving interviews and showing off their latest games, so it’s about time we learned a bit about them. For someone to dedicate what’s often 3 years or more of their life to creating your favourite game deserves recognition, so next time you view the credits after the final boss have a read, and see who you have to thank who spent years working just to provide mere hours of enjoyment for you.
To test your knowledge, here’s a quiz of some of a few of the modern key figures in the industry who have managed to get their name out there. See how many of the 12 you can name honestly (avoid the temptation to Google it…), and highlight the big blank space at the end for the answers. If you don’t know any of these, best read up on these influential figures in gaming.
QUIZ: How much do you really know?
1) This guy started off programming his own games including Jazz Jackrabbit and is currently working at Epic Games. His joking nickname of Dude Huge may not match his stature, but definitely his personality and his games.
2) The current CEO of EA, he has been attributed with EA’s massive shift in development from yearly sequels to exploring new IPs such as Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space and Spore. He holds a good reputation with gamers and developers alike, although is not seen in the spotlight nearly as much as the rival CEO of Activision.
3) Having been involved with Bungie for over a decade, this man is most famous for composing the Halo series’ award-winning soundtracks and memorable themes. Often seen in the Halo making-of videos roaming the studio with coffee mug in-hand, he currently holds the position of Audio Lead at Bungie. Perhaps the most well-known game soundtrack composer.
4) This guy provides the voice for some of the best characters in gaming, but is perhaps best known as both the voice and motion-capture actor of Uncharted 2 protagonist Nathan Drake. While there has been some complaint due to him being typecast since Uncharted, few can deny he has perfected the easy-going casual banter that makes his characters so likeable.
5) He is an often controversial gaming figure, not just for the boob-tacular games he designs including the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series while at Team Ninja, but his personal life as well. He is rarely seen without his sunglasses and leather jacket, and was the centre of a sexual harassment claim from a female Tecmo employee. More recently he departed Tecmo while suing for unpaid royalties, and now has started a new studio known as Valhalla with other ex-Team Ninja employees.
6) Another Epic guy, this person is one of the founders of the well-named studio and president. He is most often named alongside the Unreal Engine which he is key in creating are are now used for too many games to count, and has been working on the Unreal Engine 4 core design since 2003. He and other founder Mark Rein will next year be celebrating the 20th year since they started Epic together.
7) A journalist’s ideal interviewee and veteran of the industry, this British designer is very passionate about his games which can sometimes get him into trouble when discussing features that haven’t been implemented yet (and can be cut). His credits include Dungeon Keeper, the Black and White series and the Fable series.
8) These two brothers founded Rare (previously Rareware) together in 1982 which rose to be perhaps the most significant developer for Nintendo’s platforms until their contract expired and Microsoft snapped them up last generation. However, these brothers left Rare in late 2006 and it is unknown what they are doing now.
9) This man is is one of the most well-known Japanese designers due to his successes in the Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders series. He often speaks at gaming events and even has his own production company named after him with a fox badge from Metal Gear Solid 3 as the logo.
10) One of the co-founders of id Software, programmer and champion of the PC, this man was the lead programmer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake as well as working on the engines powering such graphical showpieces as Doom 3. Currently listed as the Technical Director at id, he was one of the first well-known gaming personalities in the 90s.
11) Another strong supporter of PC gaming and modding in particular, he is the Managing Director of Valve Software and key figure in developing the Half-Life series and development tools. His negative comments regarding the PlayStation 3 earlier in the current generation have got him in hot water with PS3 supporters.
12) This Japanese man is seen as a gaming visionary, being instrumental in the designing of Nintendo’s consoles including the Wii’s motion sensing. He is most famous for the creation of many of Nintendo’s characters including Mario and Zelda, and ensuring the major games they’re in are consistently of an extremely high quality including the upcoming Mario Galaxy 2.
The scores will tell yoou just how well you do know gaming and its celebrities. So don’t be shy, dig and and see how you can do, without using google of course, that’s just cheating.
10-12: You know your gaming stuff and are mostly likely one of the people who take days off work / school for E3 to watch all the live streams and blogs. You know a lot about the industry itself as well as the games.
6-9: You’re a serious gamer interested in the latest gaming news and the industry, but not obsessive about it.
3-5: You’re a regular gamer who sometimes like reading news or reviews about their favourite games, but it’s perhaps not your biggest interest.
0-2: You either don’t play games much or aren’t very interested in the industry or development of them. Play and read more!
Answers: (highlight space below to reveal)
1) Cliff Bleszinski, aka: Cliffy B
2) John Riccitiello
3) Martin (Marty) O’Donnell
4) Nolan North
5) Tomonobu Itagaki
6) Tim Sweeney
7) Peter Molyneux
8) Chris and Tim Stamper
9) Hideo Kojima
10) John Carmack
11) Gabe Newell
12) Shigeru Miyamoto
©2010 Alex Baldwin
Filed under: Blogbanter, Console gaming, Editorial, GameBanter, Oxcgn Special feature, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 News Tagged: | "Mark Rein, Black and White, bungie, E3 2010, EA, Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010, Epic Games, gaming celebrities, gaming celebrity, gaming quiz, half-life, id software, Metal Gear Solid, nintendo, OXCGN, Peter Molyneux, rare, Shigeru Miyamoto, Uncharted, Valve