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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.

Will Wright

Now: Wright created the Spore franchise and sits on the Board of Directors for Linden Lab, creators of Second Life.

Will Wright

Then: Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris in 1985, one of the best games ever made.

Alexei Pajitnov

Now: Pajitnov is still designing puzzle games for systems like the Xbox 360, but has yet to top his greatest creation.

Alexey Pajitnov

Then: Ken and Roberta Williams co-founded Sierra On-Line and helped create the King’s Quest series of adventure games.

Roberta Williams

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.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Now: Miyamoto still cranks out the hits for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS like Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi U.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Then: Eugene Jarvis created Defender and Robotron: 2084 which became huge hits in ’80s arcades.

Eugene Jarvis

Now: Jarvis continues to create games for his company Raw Thrills Inc. Their latest game from 2012, Snocross, is a big hit in arcades.

Eugene Jarvis

Then: Steve Ritchie helped pioneer the pinball industry, with numerous design innovations still being used in today’s pins.

Steve Ritchie

Now: Ritchie still creates blockbuster pinball machines, like AC/DC for Stern.

Steve Ritchie

Then: Al Lowe unleashes the hilarious Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards in 1987.

Al Lowe

Now: Lowe still loves Larry, and a remake of the first Leisure Suit game is coming out in the Spring of 2013.

Al Lowe

Then: Nolan Bushnell co-counded Atari in 1972, helped create Pong, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Nolan Bushnell

Now: In 2006 Bushnell opened a failed chain of restaurants. In 2013, he released a new book called Finding the Next Steve Jobs.

Nolan Bushnell

Then: Toru Iwatani created Pac-Man in 1980, the most popular arcade game of all time, spawning sequels, TV shows and even songs.

Toru Iwatani

Now: In 2007, Iwatani designed Pac-Man Championship Edition. He is now a full-time lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University.

Toru Iwatani

Then: Jordan Mechner made Karateka in 1984 and Prince of Persia in 1989.

Jordan Mechner

Now: Mechner releases an updated Karateka on iOS and his first graphic novel, Templar, will hit comic shelves in July of 2013.

Jordan Mechner

Then: Tim Schafer helped design some of the greatest LucasArts games ever made, like The Secret of Monkey Island in 1990.

Tim Schafer

Now: In 2012, Schafer launched a Kickstarter project for his first adventure game in years called Broken Age.

Tim Schafer

Then: John Carmack co-founded iD Software, creating the enormously popular Doom and Quake series of games in the early ’90s.

John Carmack

Now: Get ready for more Carmack carnage when Doom 4 blasts consoles in 2014.

John Carmack

next: 10 forgotten '80s video games

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