5 Most Famous Game Designers In The World


Over the years, we"ve certainly done our fair share of Top 100 Games lists. One thing we haven"t done as grandly, though, is recognize the people who made it possible for us to play all those great games in the first place. But there"s a first time for everything isn"t there?

Yes, dear readers, in an effort to celebrate the genius of the entertainment masterminds of our industry, your pals at yome.vn com have assembled the ultimatelist of creative game wizards. It"s our way of saying "thanks" to the people whose vision and drive have brought us some of the most engrossing, amusing and artistic experiences we"ve ever had with our TVs and monitors

Plus, we love to watch people argue.

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"How do you determine who goes on your list," you ask? It"s simple, really. Here"s how we paired down who could and could not appear on our list of...

The Top 100 Game Creators of All Time

The list is comprised of individual game developers. In some cases, two creators have been listed together because of how closely the pair worked collectively in their contributions to our industry.We define a game creator as anyone who contributes to the creative or technical development process of a game. This can include (but is not limited to) artists, sound engineers, composers, programmers, planners, desyome.vners, and producers.People who have served primarily as executives are not included, but people who started off in development and eventually became executives can qualify if their pre-executive contributions were important enough to get them on our list. For Sony fans, that means you can"t complain if Kaz Hirai isn"t on the list (spoilers: He isn"t)!Only game developers have been listed here. Hardware or peripheral creators were not included. In some cases, if the hardware/software were all-in-one units like Pong or most other early videogame platforms primarily from the 1970s or before, then we count the people who worked on them as "game creators."

So who made the list and who didn"t? To find out, simply click the numbers of your choice listed above or cheat and glance down at our alphabetical call-outs below. After you"ve had a chance to check out the list, tell us what you think about it on the yome.vn Boards, and share your own favorite games with everyone. Enjoy!


In the heyday of arcade fighters, there were two kinds of people: those who played Street Fighter and those who played Mortal Kombat. If you considered yourself the latter, then you have Ed Boon to thank for it.

It all started when Midway decided to capitalize on the success of eventual rival Capcom and its blockbuster slugger, Street Fighter II, by creating a unique fighting game of its own. John Tobias and Ed Boon were tapped as the men who could pull it off -- with Tobias handling much of the desyome.vn and Boon wielding his programmer"s wand to create the overnight success, Mortal Kombat.

The explanation behind the MK sensation? It was an entirely different experience from Street Fighter altogether. Sporting a dissimilar combat engine, block button and the innovative "Fatality" match-enders, the violent puncher created or seriously influenced many gaming trends that still stand today -- not just in the genre, but the industry as a whole. In fact, it was the heavily-criticized emphasis on blood and gore that spawned the first real debate on violence in videogames that also led to the eventual creation of a rating system to help inform parents about which games may be suitable for their kids. At its height, Mortal Kombat was such a popular and influential fighter that even Midway itself started ripping its own game off, joining the already-sizeable number of clones that tried to capitalize on the MK formula (War Gods anyone?).

Though John Tobias left the Midway team in 2000, Boon has continued to create and oversee each new Mortal Kombat project. He has reinvented the series from its simplistic roots into a deep, well-rounded fighter that"s seen upgrades that include everything from the use of weapons and fully-realized quest modes to online head-to-head match-ups and fighters with dynamically-switching fighting styles -- and audiences continue to eat it up.

"When comes together well, there is very little that is more gratifying," Boon told Edge Magazine in 2006. "It makes all the hard work worth it."


Toru Iwatani is a god among men in the gaming industry. It was Iwatani-sama"s innovation that helped videogames achieve their current level of popularity... and it was all because of Shakeys Pizza (and girls). That"s right, folks -- Toru Iwatani is the creative genius behind the phenomenon known as Pac-Man.

And we have a pizza pie to thank for it.

In 1977, a young Iwatani began as a programmer for a computer software company called Namco, and desyome.vned the 1978 and 79 arcade releases Gee Bee, Bomb Bee, and Cutie-Q. After working on these three titles, Iwatani wished to create a game that would target women and couples; his goal was for game centers to shed their somewhat sinister image for a lighter atmosphere, and he believed that the key to doing that was to get girls to come in.

Iwatani"s eureka moment came when he removed a slice of pizza from a pie, creating the visual inspiration for his next big thing. It was in this moment that, according to Iwatani, Pac-Man was officially born. Now that he had the look, he needed that special something to attract his target audience. After listening to girls talk to one another, Iwatani determined that food and eating would be the way to get the fairer sex interested in arcade games.

In 1980, Pac-Man (renamed from "Puck Man" for fear that the arcade cabinet would be defaced by smart-ass kids) was released in the US under Midway, and the face of gaming was irrevocably altered.

On the technical side of things, Pac-Man"s AI was revolutionary; the ghosts did not move at random -- instead, they moved around the maps in four distinct behavioral patterns. However, the real brilliance behind Pac-Man was its unprecedented sense of life. The act of eating and the terrified expressions of the ghosts as they fled a ravenous yellow disc tapped into gamers" affinity for living things.

Life after Pac-Man saw Iwatani work his way up within Namco"s ranks, creating games such as Libble Rabble and eventually becoming the company"s leading producer on arcade titles like Time Crisis and Ridge Racer. In April of 2005, he began teaching Character Desyome.vn Studies at the Osaka University of Arts as a visiting professor. In early 2007, after working on Pac-Man: Championship Edition, Iwatani left Namco and became a full-time professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University, saying, "I thought it more important to pass on the know-how that I"ve accumulated over the last 30 years to the next generation."


Even if his name isn"t instantly recognizable, his work is unforgettable. Yoji Shinkawa, a Konami illustrator since 1994, is responsible for some of the most indelible character desyome.vns this side of the PlayStation era, and while his early work on Konami"s Policenauts won"t have had much Western impact, Shinkawa"s pairing with director Hideo Kojima has birthed one of the most beloved franchises of our time.

Metal Gear Solid is among Japan"s few enduring relevancies, much credit due to Shinkawa"s striking artistic influence and character desyome.vn. Few who"ve played the first Metal Gear Solid will forget the tortured, pitiful figure of Psycho Mantis whose gripping personality is as evident in his visual desyome.vn as in the lauded scripting. The maturity evident in Metal Gear Solid"s visual desyome.vn demonstrates the artistic chops of Yoji Shinkawa, his modern-classical styling a stark contrast—and great influence—against the typically youth-targeted art of videogames past and present. Even the videogames with genuine artistic merit often resorted to super-deformed, childish game characters before Metal Gear Solid proved that highly stylized, mature art could impact the mainstream market.

Since the first Metal Gear Solid over a decade ago, Yoji Shinkawa has continued his influence on Kojima"s creations. The cult favorite Zone of the Enders franchise owes its impressive mechanical desyome.vn to Shinkawa, whose early school drawings reportedly transferred to the games quite nearly unchanged. And while Hideo Kojima threatens to abandon the Metal Gear series in pursuit of new efforts more Western in scope, we anticipate that Shinkawa"s artistic brilliance will play a role in not only influencing the game"s artistic direction but in also creating the celebrated game characters of tomorrow.


Koichi Ishii has produced and directed numerous big-name games for Square Enix, including Final Fantasy I through III and SaGa Frontier. His biggest claim to fame, though, is that he is also the man responsible for creating Chocobos and Moogles.

What we remember Ishii most for, however, is the construction of the Mana series. Back in 1987, Square Enix cancelled the original Seiken Densetsu before it ever made it past the planning stages. But Ishii revived the title in the early "90s, originally calling it Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden and desyome.vning it as a supplement to the bigger series. It was one of the best RPGs available for the Game Boy, which allowed the series to really hit its stride with Secret of Mana on the SNES -- successfully distancing itself from Final Fantasy to stand alone as a major series.

Ishii worked hard to make Mana unique by creating a real-time battle system at a time when being turn-based was the modus operandi. Fans and critics felt that it played a lot like a deeper Zelda game with a faster pace since players switched between battle screens and overworld maps every dozen steps or so. It was a gorgeous accomplishment during the 16-bit era, utilizing things like the Super Nintendo"s Mode 7 to create pseudo 3D maps, which is something few games on the platform ever did without resulting to gimmicks.

Ishii has directed every game in the Mana series, and has evolved it into a string of multiplayer dungeon crawlers and tactical RPGs. Though the later games haven’t quite had the notoriety of the original, Ishii"s dedication to his franchise has helped push JRPGs beyond the old idea that only one basic formula and presentation can be successful.


When it comes to platforming on the Sony consoles, Naughty Dog has always been a front runner, and Jason Rubin has been behind it all. Rubin, along with his friend Andy Gavin, started Naughty Dog when they were 15 years-old developing games in their basement.

In the mid-"90s, Rubin and Gavin got their big break with Crash Bandicoot. The 3D platformer was a big hit and became a flagship title for the original PlayStation. Crash himself was the unofficial mascot for the system and a benchmark was set for other developers. Naughty Dog continued the tradition with three more Crash games over the next several years and the third title in the series, Crash: Warped, became the only foreyome.vn-made game to sell over a million copies in Japan.

In 2001, Sony Computer Entertainment of America bought Naughty Dog and its next project, Jak and Daxter. A PlayStation 2 exclusive, Jake was a big success, pushing the boundaries of the PS2"s technology. Naughty Dog, with Rubin at the helm, was credited with revitalizing the platformer genre and once again set a benchmark for other developers. The early 2000s saw a surge of high quality platforming titles, and Jak and Daxter became mascots that were just as recognizable as Crash years earlier.

Over the generations, Rubin has been an outspoken supporter of developer rights and has encouraged them to speak out if they"re treated unfairly to demand what they think is deserved. In 2004 Rubin left Naughty Dog to pursue other endeavors, but his influence is still seen in the games made since.

There can be no greater honor in any field than to be recognized for doing something first, for painting the way for generations to come. Allan Alcorn has that honor, and though most may not recall the name as readily as a John Carmack or Shigeru Miyamoto, Alcorn did something before anyone else: he created the modern videogame (though certainly not the original video game). More specifically, he created Pong. Yeah, thatPong.

The idea -- which sprung out of just trying to test reflexes while enjoying his position as Atari"s second employee in 1972 -- clearly resonated with just about everyone, bridging the gap between more male-dominated forms of coin-op entertainment like pinball machines and offering simple, universal, accessible appeal long before Nintendo would distill those ideas down into the Wii. When Atari took what was formerly an arcade cabinet-driven concept and put it in the hands of home players, the home console was born.

Interestingly enough, despite effectively helping Atari create the console market single-handedly, he left in 1981 -- long before the eventual bust that would tarnish the Atari name and give the aforementioned Nintendo its shot at effectively saving videogames from the crash of 1984. Alcorn eventually joined Apple, helping to nurture the then-emerging MPEG compression codec and QuickTime before forming his own company, Silicon Gaming, then branching out into the analysis of broadcast sources to divine what commercials are successful. Though he helped birth the concept of a home console, none of his future endeavors have quite risen to that level of success, but then that"s the problem with being the first at something: you can only do it once.

The industry is filled with developers that got their start as kids, but the bulk of them broke into the limelight when programming techniques were almost archaic by today"s standards. Somewhere between all the shader models and 7.1 positional audio of today and the 16 color visuals and PC speaker bleeps and bloops of yesteryear lies Chris Sawyer"s big break: Transport Tycoon.

Though he"d honed his craft by porting Amiga games to the PC, it wasn"t until he inked a deal with MicroProse to publish what was then dubbed I.T.S. (Interactive Transport Simulation) that things broke big -- or when the game was re-christened Transport Tycoon to piggyback off the success of Sid Meier"s Railroad Tycoon. It worked, and Transport Tycoon went on to sell more than enough copies to justify a follow-up, Roller Coaster Tycoon (which also had a name change from White Knuckle). A TC World Editor and Deluxe re-release, plus a RCT sequel and several expansion packs followed, and in 2004, the first proper follow-up to TC, Locomotion, was released.

Roller Coaster Tycoon almost single-handedly made Sawyer"s career, with estimates that the game sold somewhere around nine million copies and that Sawyer was sitting atop a $30 million mountain of royalties. Apparently after auditing said royalties, he found Infrogrames/Atari owed him even more and he prepped a law suit.

He is currently flying a jet made of solid 24 carat gold around for kicks using only the power of his own ridiculous wealth to counteract gravity. That or he"s continuing to make games. Either way, he"s one of the most successful and enterprising developers on our list.

One of the most memorable names to emerge from the foundry of talent that was Origin Systems in the late "80s, Chris Roberts has also been one of the most active developers in the space simulation genre since he first created the Wing Commander series in 1990. It would prove to be something of Roberts" legacy, spawning a number of sequels that iterated on the space combat/sim genre with each successive game.

It also served as a vehicle for Roberts" directorial aspirations, though as the series went on that title had as much cinematographic relevance as it did programming. By the time Wing Commander IV had arrived, the series was incorporating large chunks of full-motion video and Roberts was directing scenes with Hollywood actors like Mark Hamil, Tom Wilson and Malcolm McDowell. This no doubt helped egg on aspirations at a full-time Hollywood career, which happened -- to an extent -- with the 1999 release of the Wing Commander flick starting Eddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard.

Two years prior, Roberts departed Origin to form his own company, Digital Anvil, with help from Microsoft and chipmaker AMD. DA struck a multi-game publishing deal with (and was subsequently gobbled up by) Microsoft shortly thereafter. Impressively, Digital Anvil expanded beyond just games, supplying the visual effects work for the Wing Commander movie. Space served as a familiar backdrop for games like Starlancer and Freelancer, but by the time of their release, Roberts had begun moving away from games development and into feature film production and Digital Anvil was eventually dissolved. His latest company, Ascendant Pictures, is all but removed from games entirely, instead producing movies like The Punisher, Lord of War and Lucky Number Slevin.

If the only metric for success is selling millions of copies of your games, then Danielle Bunten Berry can"t really be considered successful. If it"s pushing videogames in an entirely new direction -- and multiple times at that -- then it"s an entirely different matter altogether. This is precisely what Bunten did with games like M.U.L.E. (which offered up to four players simultaneously and challenged all of them to carefully manage resources while seeking to control both supply and demand, as players could work to corner the market if need be), The Seven Cities of Gold (which actually managed to be educational in addition to being entertaining) and Modem Wars (which offered a raft of now-standard RTS features but included the then-unheard-of idea of using a phone line or serial modem connection to link two players).

All All three of these titles were developed by Ozark Softscape, Bunten"s development house, and were published by Electronic Arts in a deal inked back in the "80s, and though they weren"t million-sellers (a concept that was all but impossible given the size of the industry back then anyway), they were certainly popular enough that even today they"re cited as some of the pioneering examples of multiplayer or edutainment software.

Bunten passed away in 1997 after a battle with lung cancer, leaving behind a legacy of daring to explore the (then) far-off idea of people playing games together -- both in the same room and countries apart. Those ideals have become absolute mainstays now, which explain precisely why she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Spotlight Award and a Hall of Fame induction from the Computer Game Developers Association and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

Masahiro Sakurai is not just a talented developer, but also a bit of a character. Personable Personable and outspoken, Sakurai has stirred up a bit of controversy, and a lot of fans, for calling it like he sees it with Nintendo. As the creative force behind the Kirby games at the age of 19, Sakurai made a name for himself quicker than most do in a lifetime.

After four successful Kirby games Sakurai and HAL Laboratories started on an ambitious new project, Super Smash Bros. The Nintendo-themed brawler was intended as a special "thank you" for longtime Nintendo fans and wasn"t expected to light the sales charts on fire, but did it ever -- pushing units like crazy to become one of the biggest Nintendo franchises of the last decade. Sakurai returned for the GameCube sequel as well, expanding the game with dozens of characters, more items and more levels, while establishing a proven formula for success (more than seven million copies were sold).

But in 2003, Sakurai created quote the buzz when he left HAL, saying that he felt stifled by the demand to constantly produce sequels. Eventually, Masahiro-san moved over to Q Entertainment for a brief stint to desyome.vn the puzzle hit Meteos before being wooed back to direct the go-getting Wii-exclusive fighter, Super Smash Bros Brawl. During the game"s development Sakurai updated the Smash Bros website every day, teasing gamers with new features, characters, and modes. Sakurai was notable in that he wanted the game to be as close to perfection as possible, and as a result, asked for numerous deadline extensions to tune it.

Sakurai"s endgame proved that it was time well spent. We can only hope his next project is just as "perfect."

When CD-ROMs made landfall on PCs, it completely changed the games industry. Gone were the days of shipping games on multiple floppy discs, suddenly developers had an order of magnitude more space to play around with things. One of the first ways developers took advantage of all that extra storage was to pack the disc with full-motion video. Arguably the most memorable implementation of FMV-driven games was Trilobyte"s The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour, co-founded by Scottish impresario Graeme Devine.

Though the increase in space was massive, incorporating large portions of full-screen, full motion video could easily chew up all of it if not carefully managed. It was here that"s Devine"s ability to organize and stream the reams of data off the disc through his custom-built GROOVIE Engine paid off. It worked, and 7th Guest became the example of what all that storage could do to push the medium forward.

Sadly, Trilobyte didn"t survive the 90s, though Devine most certainly did, going on to join id Software, first leading desyome.vn on Quake III Arena and then helping port some of the company"s biggest franchises to the diminutive Game Boy Color/Advance, a remarkable feat given the technological gap on some of the titles. After staying with id through Doom 3 (as well as offering support on third-party games that used id game engine), Devine joined Ensemble Studios and set to work on Age of Empires III before eventually moving to consoles by heading up Ensemble"s effort to build a controller-driven RTS in Halo Wars.

Among the PC RPG crowd, few developers carry the kind of weight (not to mention tongue twisting monikers) of Feargus Urquhart. Then again, presiding over one of the most successful and consistent western RPG dev houses in the industry will do that for a guy, which is probably why Interplay"s Black Isle Studios is still spoken of with the kind of hushed reverence hardly offered to other developers past or present.

Much of it was the perfect storm of timing, talent and momentum, a surge that started with the original Fallout and its sequel, then progressed -- in remarkably rapid-fire succession -- through games like Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale and Baldur"s Gate series (developed by BioWare under the guidance of Black Isle). It was Urquhart"s leadership role (and an actual Black Isle in his native Scotland) that held the entire process together, melding in-house talent with what would become the tireless BioWare hit-making factory.

When Interplay began to hit the skids in the early part of the 21st century, Urquhart, already a bit leaner after some of the Fallout team left a few years earlier to form Troika Games, struck out and formed Obsidian Entertainment in 2003 with some other Black Isle alum. In an interesting flip from the Black Isle days where BioWare was the external developer, Obsidian"s first game was actually a continuation of BioWare"s own Knights of the Old Republic franchise, with Urquhart at the helm of day-to-day operations, a role he continues to this day.

Steve Barcia is a name many would associate with Retro Studios, makers of the Metroid Prime series. While he was president of the company for a while in the early 2000s, Barcia was a legend well before that. Fans of turn-based strategy can tell you that Master of Orion, and Master of Magic are two of the best tactical games ever made. Interestingly, Master of Orion started as "Star Lords," a fun and addictive, but hideous-looking experiment. 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.

In May of 2002, Satoru Iwata became Nintendo Co., Ltd."s fourth president since the company"s founding by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889. 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. He oversaw work on games such as Super Mario Sunshine, Star Fox Adventures, Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness: Sanity"s Requiem, Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker among many others. 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. You can trace these successes all the way back to Iwata"s earliest contributions with Nintendo gaming -- Earthbound, Adventures of Lolo, and Pokémon were all about fun, appeal and simplicity over an abundance of bells and whistles.

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. His work on the Harry Potter series and Star Wars games, as well as children"s franchises like Rugrats and Beauty and the Beast, highlight his versatility and have earned him praise from the likes of BAFTA. 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. In 2006, he won numerous awards for his work on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, arguably his most recognizable score. Soule pours a lot of himself into his pieces, working off real-life events to inject emotion into every soundtrack he composes. His score for Oblivion and Prey were played during the international Play Symphony tour that toured across Europe, North America, and Asia. 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, desyome.vner, and lead programmer of the critically-acclaimed PC game Fallout, Timothy Cain has been programming computer games for over two decades.

Prior to his work on the ground-breaking RPG, Cain graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a Master"s Degree in Computer Science and went on to work for Interplay Productions. It was here that he created Fallout and did work on titles such as The Bard"s Tale Construction Set and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.

In addition to desyome.vning and programming games, Cain desyome.vned 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 desyome.vn of 1998"s Fallout II, but decided that it was time to part ways with Interplay. He left the company, along with Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson to form Troika Games. Over the next few years, Cain had an active hand on Troika"s triad of products; as lead programmer, lead desyome.vner, and/or project leader on each. Although each title was generally well-received, Troika was forced to close its doors in 2005 after running into financial trouble.

Tim did not let Troika"s closure keep him down, however. In 2007 he was appointed as the Desyome.vn 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."

As long as he"s happy making games, we will be happy playing them.

Prior to desyome.vning some of the most recognizable and iconic characters in all of gaming, Tetsuya Nomura started off in vocational school, creating art for magazine advertisements. In 1991 he was hired by SquareSoft to work on the battle graphics for Final Fantasy V"s monsters. 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.

Nomura"s big break came when he was chosen as the character desyome.vner for Final Fantasy VII. However, his involvement in the project was not limited to character desyome.vn; 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. From there he would go on to desyome.vn the characters for Brave Fencer Musashi, Ergheiz, and Parasite Eve while working closely with Yoshinori Kitase on Final Fantasy VIII, where he was not only the character desyome.vner, but also the battle visual director, desyome.vning sequences for Limit Breaks and Guardian Force summons.

In 2000, Nomura desyome.vned characters for Square"s first major releases on the PlayStation 2 platform: the Bouncer and Final Fantasy X. Shortly thereafter, he began work on Kingdom Hearts, not only as the game"s character desyome.vner, but also as its director. The end result was well-received, and Nomura continued on in the same role for the following installments in the KH series -- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II.

Today, Nomura continues working for Square Enix as a director and character desyome.vner, lending his contemporary style to such projects as Final Fantasy XIII and Dissidia Final Fantasy.

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 1990, when he joined SEGA. By desyome.vning the 1995 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 desyome.vn 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 1999 Dreamcast hit Space Channel 5, a music game that required players to memorize dance steps and repeat them back in a Pelmanism-style fashion.

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Following Space Channel 5"s positive reception, Mizuguchi went to work on the music-driven PlayStation 2 shooter Rez. Although the game garnered a positive critical response, commercial attention in the United States was pretty low.

In 2003, Mizuguchi left SEGA, saying that, "Games are a very unique medium. 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." He went on to form Q Entertainment, which is now known for its successful music-oriented puzzler Lumines, the DS puzzler Meteos, the Xbox 360 hack and slash adventure Ninety-Nine Nights, and the psychedelic PSP shooter Every Extend Extra.

Mizuguchi"s most recent console release, Every Extend Extra Extreme (or E4) was released on the Xbox 360 via its Xbox Live service, bringing an enhanced version of the original 2005 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 100 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 Desyome.vn 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. Partnerships that extended PopCap games onto casual gaming portals like Yahoo Games, Station.com and Microsoft GameZone, not to mention heavy porting to devices like cell phones and other non-Windows platforms only fueled the developers" growth and ensured that Kapalka and company would be financially well off for some time to come.

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. The Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, better known as SCUMM, made development and porting of adventure games simpler and faster. After Maniac Mansion, Gilbert went on to develop the first two games in the Monkey Island series. The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck"s Revenge both hold up even today as fantastic storytelling examples. 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. Most recently, Gilbert tamed up with Hothead Games to help make Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness for Xbox Live and is currently working on his new original property and episodic adventure, DeathSpank.

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 desyome.vning 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 desyome.vner"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 wasn"t out of work for long; a handful of other BIS mainstays (including Chris Parker, Chris Jones, Darren Monahan and Urquhart) founded Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California (keeping with the Orange County setting of Interplay), and have since worked on Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Knights II and the upcoming spy RPG Alpha Protocol for SEGA.

f we"re talking old school, Marc Blank is about as old school as you can get. He made computer games in the late "70s before they had graphics. Inspired by the text-based classic, Colossal Cave Adventure, Blank and his friends at MIT programmed the huge and ambitious text adventure Zork.

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 2004.

Back in 1985, Louis Castle founded Westwood Studios with his friend Brent Sperry. 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!). But in 1995 Castle put Westwood on the map with one of the RTS godfathers, Command & Conquer.

Although not the first real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer popularized the genre in tandem with Warcraft during a time when most strategy games used turn-based hex grids and medieval fantasy themes. 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 1998, Castle came along for the ride and continued to improve on the popular strategy series. To date, there are more than a dozen Command & Conquer titles in all, spanning nearly every major console and handheld. Don"t forget as well, that Command & Conquer was also one of the first real-time strategy games to offer multifaceted competitive online play -- which, as any fan of the genre can tell you, is where the game (and its spin-off series, Red Alert) truly excels. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is even more satisfying when your opponent is a real person, and without Command & Conquer and Castle"s contributions, it may have taken a lot longer for gamers to accept.

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 desyome.vns, 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 1982 and was hired to illustrate Vampire Hunter D the following year.

In 1987, Amano ventured into game desyome.vn 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 desyome.vner 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 desyome.vns 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 desyome.vn the cast of Final Fantasy IX.

Amano"s immediately recognizable style continued to gain worldwide attention and inspire a new generation of artists. In addition to his contributions outside of videogames, including stints on Gaiman"s The Sandman, a Vampire Hunter D animated feature, and a couple of Marvel Comics projects, Amano continued to plug away at even more gaming ventures -- Final Fantasies X through XII and El Dorado"s Gate among them.

Yoshitaka Amano will continue to act as the title logo desyome.vner 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 16-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 1967, 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 1998, 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, 2008. He resyome.vned from his role and released a public statement alleging unpaid completion bonuses, with a complaint filed in the Tokyo District Court on May 14, 2008 citing this and also, "such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards ," from Yoshimi Yasuda, President of Tecmo. The suit claimed damages in total of 148 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 2007, 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?).

It will certainly be interesting to see how Ferland will wow us next.

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 1980s.

Following up on the success of his blockbuster comic, Toriyama was hired as the character and monster desyome.vner 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 desyome.vns was a winning formula -- producing what has now become one of the best-selling gaming IPs ever in Japan.

In 1994, 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 desyome.vns 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 desyome.vn of the combatants for the somewhat-obscure Square fighter Tobal No. 1, as well as its cult favorite sequel, Tobal 2 (which never saw a US release) while also continuing his work on Dragon Quest. In 2007, Blue Dragon was released on the Xbox 360 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.

One of the key members of the LucasArts staff that helped solidify the developer/publisher as the source for consistently great adventure games (a title it had shared with Sierra On-Line for much of the early "90s), Dave Grossman"s knack for penning intelligent dialogue and helping to code games like Day of the Tentacle and the first two Monkey Island adventures is what he"s best known for. 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.

Grossman left LucasArts to become a sort of pen-and-fingers-for-hire, freelancing for Ron Gilbert"s Humongous Games. Grossman was busy crafting a handful of children"s games including the Pajama Sam series before striking out again as a full-time member of the Telltale Games crew (reuniting again with a handful of old LucasArts co-workers after Sam & Max: Freelance Police had the plug pulled in early 2004). Telltale"s approach to episodic gaming, ranging from picking up old LA properties like Sam & Max, plus adapting new ones like Strong Bad"s Cool Game for Attractive People have helped to give Grossman"s position as Senior Desyome.vner plenty of weight.

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 desyome.vn chops with the 1994 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 32-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. A smash blockbuster hit for Sony, God of War turned the action/adventure genre on its head with fantastic boss battles, incredible graphics and some of the most intuitive and responsive gameplay mechanics seen in years. Though Dave passed off the desyome.vn 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.biz" where he directly updates fans and admirers with his daily observations.

While many gamers will recognize Todd Howard from his more recent works, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, his career has spanned one of the most turbulent eras in the short history of videogames.

Howard began his professional life in gaming at Bethesda Softworks in 1994, 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 1994, 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 desyome.vners would dare to go.

Where most desyome.vners 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.

"I wish I could give you real, true insight into what we put into our games, and this is not me just trying to sell you, or smooth you over, because I’m Okay, really, if you don’t love what we do," said Howard in a post on Bethesda"s forums. "We’re fans; we’re passionate about what we do. 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. One day we’ll find a way to make you a fly on the wall in one of our desyome.vn meetings – they’re pretty damn inspiring."

Satoshi Tajiri is the founder of Game Freak, and the creator of the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokémon. Need we say more?

The inspiration for Pokémon was actually a rather simple one. 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 Pokémon series has grown immensely with each game using the same concept, while expanding upon it with more creatures and gameplay elements. The series won over parents with its lack of graphic violence, and became popular with everyone else because of its addictive RPG-lite game desyome.vn. 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.

Tajiri"s company GameFreak specializes almost entirely on Pokémon titles, spinning the series off into a number of different games and genres. And though Pokémon is more popular in Japan than America, Tajiri credits American audiences with understanding the concept better than his countrymen. Instead of focusing solely on Pikachu, American audiences have realized that Pokémon is a concept about partnership and so too is Tajiri"s philosophy of "Game and Gamer."

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 20).

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 desyome.vner 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 Desyome.vn 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 18-year software stint when he dropped out of college and took a job at Capcom in 1985, working under the pen name "Akiman."

Best known for his illustrative work on Street Fighter II, Akiman worked primarily as the character desyome.vner and illustrator for Capcom over the decades, but has also served as a planner or desyome.vner 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 desyome.vning 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 1986 NES shooter 1942. He went on to provide original artwork for Side Arms Hyper Dyne before working on the 1989 beat "em up Final Fight. Akiman later joined forces with fellow planner/desyome.vner Akira Nishitani (otherwise known as "Nin-Nin") to formulate the sequel to 1987"s Street Fighter. Of course, history was made when that project, appropriately named Street Fighter II, hit arcades worldwide in 1991. SF2 redefined the fighting genre and has since spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and clones from competitors and even Capcom itself.

In 2003 Akiman left Capcom and went freelance, dabbling in manga and anime while still doing illustration work in games. 2004"s Red Dead Revolver and the 2007 PSP release Brave Story are the most recent titles to feature his character desyome.vns, though they"re certainly not the last.

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 1982 while still attending school. Time Lords and Islandia were both birthed for BBC Mirco, then came Nebula and Rebelstar Raiders for publisher RedShift.

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).

The success of his early titles gave Julian the gumption to form Target games with his brother Nick and set to work on Laser Squad and Lords of Chaos, the RPG-tinged sequel to the original Games Workshop title. It would be the sequel to Laser Squad, renamed X-COM: UFO Defense that would put the brothers (and their re-christened Mythos Games dev house) on the map. X-COM was a runaway success for the Gollops and publisher MicroProse.

A series of sequels followed, including a third follow-up to Chaos dubbed Magic & Mayhem and an attempt at reworking the original X-COM as a 3D title for Virgin Interactive, but the publisher was scooped up by France-based Titus and funding was cut. Mythos eventually became Codo Technologies and the Gollops have continued to ply their trade with sequels like Laser Squad Nemesis and Rebelstar: Tactical Command.

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 se

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