13 Iconic Game Designers – Then and Now
We put together a list of 13 iconic game designers who were the some of the most influential in video game history. These pioneers helped define and shape the industry we know and love today. From creating genre blockbusters to pioneering new and exciting game innovations, take a look at where they were then and where they are now.
Then: Will Wright co-founded Maxis and created SimCity in 1989. He also created The Sims, which to date has sold over 150 million copies.
Now: Wright created the Spore franchise and sits on the Board of Directors for Linden Lab, creators of Second Life.
Then: Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris in 1985, one of the best games ever made.
Now: Pajitnov is still designing puzzle games for systems like the Xbox 360, but has yet to top his greatest creation.
Then: Ken and Roberta Williams co-founded Sierra On-Line and helped create the King’s Quest series of adventure games.
Now: Ken and Roberta are enjoying retirement, blogging about their adventures as they travel the globe.
Then: Shigeru Miyamoto created Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, F-Zero and Starfox for Nintendo. He is arguably the greatest icon in gaming.
Now: Miyamoto still cranks out the hits for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS like Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi U.
Then: Eugene Jarvis created Defender and Robotron: 2084 which became huge hits in ’80s arcades.
Now: Jarvis continues to create games for his company Raw Thrills Inc. Their latest game from 2012, Snocross, is a big hit in arcades.
Then: Steve Ritchie helped pioneer the pinball industry, with numerous design innovations still being used in today’s pins.
Now: Ritchie still creates blockbuster pinball machines, like AC/DC for Stern.
Then: Al Lowe unleashes the hilarious Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards in 1987.
Now: Lowe still loves Larry, and a remake of the first Leisure Suit game is coming out in the Spring of 2013.
Then: Nolan Bushnell co-counded Atari in 1972, helped create Pong, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now: In 2006 Bushnell opened a failed chain of restaurants. In 2013, he released a new book called Finding the Next Steve Jobs.
Then: Toru Iwatani created Pac-Man in 1980, the most popular arcade game of all time, spawning sequels, TV shows and even songs.
Now: In 2007, Iwatani designed Pac-Man Championship Edition. He is now a full-time lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University.
Then: Jordan Mechner made Karateka in 1984 and Prince of Persia in 1989.
Now: Mechner releases an updated Karateka on iOS and his first graphic novel, Templar, will hit comic shelves in July of 2013.
Then: Tim Schafer helped design some of the greatest LucasArts games ever made, like The Secret of Monkey Island in 1990.
Now: In 2012, Schafer launched a Kickstarter project for his first adventure game in years called Broken Age.
Then: John Carmack co-founded iD Software, creating the enormously popular Doom and Quake series of games in the early ’90s.
Now: Get ready for more Carmack carnage when Doom 4 blasts consoles in 2014.