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The Game Masters

Tim Schafer is one of the Game Masters heading down under.

Tim Schafer is one of the Game Masters heading down under.

The average video game today is the product of an enormous team of skilled creatives including designers, artists and programmers. The industry has come a long way from the days of "bedroom coders" creating commercial games by themselves in just a matter of months.

But the best games today are still often driven by a single gifted visionary who has the initial spark of inspiration and then directs their team to help bring their vision to life on the screen.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image has dubbed these talented individuals the Game Masters.

ACMI's latest blockbuster exhibition opens this week and celebrates the contribution of over 30 game designers who have made a significant and ongoing impact to the interactive entertainment industry.

As exclusively revealed on Screen Play back in July 2010, the new exhibition is a follow-up to 2008’s hugely popular Game On, which attracted 120,000 visitors to ACMI in Melbourne’s Federation Square.

It will showcase leading local and international game designers and feature over 125 playable games from the arcade era through to the latest console and mobile technology.

Some of the Game Masters featured in the exhibition include:

Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario Bros, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pilotwings, Super Mario 64, Nintendogs) - Nintendo's design genius has be a constant innovator since the early arcade era and would be a worthy subject for his own exhibition.   

Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims and Spore) - Wright's specialty is endlessly appealing, never-ending playgrounds whose essence is so simple that you cannot believe no one thought of them before.   

Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear) - A true gaming auteur helping to drive the industry forwards using innovation and peerless production values.

Peter Molyneux (Populous, Syndicate, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Black & White, Fable, The Movies) - Often too ambitious for his own good, but is committed to producing original experiences.

Yu Suzuki (Hang-On, Outrun, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, Shenmue) - Sega's master of arcade delights. 

Warren Spector (Wing Commander, Ultima, System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex, Epic Mickey) - Produces consistently original and thoughtful games that blend genres into refreshing new creations.  

Tim Schafer (Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts) - One of the few developers capable of making genuinely laugh-out-loud funny games.

Rob Murray (Flight Control, Real Racing) - An experienced Aussie developer and CEO who has become a world leader in designing games for Apple's iPhone.

Jenova Chen (Spore, Cloud, Flow, Flower) - One of the new guard of gaming auteurs producing novel experiences that widen the audience for video games.

Fumito Ueda (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian) - Produces games that are spellbinding works of art.

Other Game Masters who will be featured in the exhibition include Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders), Ed Logg (Asteroids), Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man), Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Child of Eden), Paulina Bozek (SingStar), Jonathan Blow (Braid), Yuji Naka (Sonic the Hedgehog), Alex Rigopulos (Guitar Hero), Eugene Jarvis (Defender), Masaya Matsuura (Parappa the Rapper) and Marcus Persson (Minecraft).

The exhibition will be divided into three sections: Arcade Heroes, Game Masters and Independents.

Nostalgic gamers will love getting hands on with classic coin-operated machines like Pac-Man, Xevious, Donkey Kong, Defender, Scramble, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Elevator Action and Missile Command. More modern attractions include a custom-built Dance Central 2 arena and a special 3D display of Child of Eden.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of public, film and education programs designed to appeal to people of all ages and interests, including budding game developers.

This week's events include intimate talks by Tim Schafer and Warren Spector. Unfortunately, Peter Molyneux will no longer be attending, citing personal reasons for cancelling his visit.

The Screen Play community had input into some of the choices made by Conrad Bodman, ACMI's Head of Exhibitions, and his team when assembling the Game Masters exhibition. But there is certain to be controversy about some of the omissions.

Developers unlucky to miss out on recognition include John Carmack (Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake), Sid Meier (Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, Civilization), Shinji Mikami (Aladdin, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry), Ken Levine (Thief, System Shock 2, BioShock), David Braben (Elite, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, LostWinds), David Crane (Pitfall, Ghostbusters, Little Computer People), Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG), Tim and Chris Stamper (Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie), Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect), Kazunori Yamauchi (Gran Turismo), Goichi Suda (Flower, Sun and Rain, Killer7, No More Heroes, Super Smash Bros Brawl), Mark Pincus (FarmVille, Mafia Wars), Amy Hennig (Legacy of Kain, Jak 3, Uncharted) and Sam and Dan Houser (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption).

Screen Play today is keen to hear about the Game Masters that have had the biggest impact on your life, and the industry figures you would most like to meet and why.

Which Game Master from Screen Play's list do you think is unluckiest to miss out? Feel free to also nominate other Game Masters who would have been worthy of inclusion in the new exhibition.

Game Masters will be held at ACMI from June 28 until October 28. Ticket details can be found on the ACMI website.


twitter Screen Play is on Twitter: @screenplayblog

24 comments so far

  • just a +1 for John Carmack. Wolf 3D changed everything for me.

    Date and time
    June 26, 2012, 8:01AM
    • Read "Parappa the Rapper" - skul your drink

      Seriously thought this is great and I need to get the family down there over the school holidays.

      In terms of those Games Masters with the CV of games that have influenced my gaming:

      Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger)

      Tim and Chris Stamper (Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie)

      Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk (Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect)

      Sam and Dan Houser (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption).

      Not on the article lists:

      Koichi Ishii and Hiromichi Tanaka (Secret of Mana) Plenty of innovation by the designers as well as being a great game.

      Date and time
      June 26, 2012, 8:55AM
      • I'd add a new one to your list, actually: Richard "Lord British" Garriott. He may be a bit of a tosser, but his influence on computer RPGs is still strong today.

        MCDexX on XBL, PSN, Steam, and iOS GameCentre
        Date and time
        June 26, 2012, 9:05AM
        • Sounds really cool, might have to make a special trip to Melbourne in the holidays.

          Off topic: Who the heck ever mentioned Game Dev Story around here? I am not impressed after downloading the demo, buying the game and then spending over 4 hours last night playing the game and going to bed after 1pm.

          Date and time
          June 26, 2012, 9:20AM
          • It's an evil game, because it has no natural stopping points. You design a game, release it, then you want to see how well it will sell, but you have to get your staff working while you wait on sales, so you start a new game, and then when the previous one goes off the market you have to finish the one you're working on...

            Like I said, evil.

            MCDexX on XBL, PSN, Steam, and iOS GameCentre
            Date and time
            June 26, 2012, 9:53AM
          • Sorry mate, I have mentioned it a few times but it's too late now. The game has you in it's clutches. Another good one from Kairosoft is GP Story. It is essentially the same thing but you run a Grand Prix Racing Team. It's even more addictive.

            Dr Charlesworth
            Date and time
            June 26, 2012, 10:01AM
          • I'll have to keep myself in check with Dungeon Village and GP Story too. Both sound right up my alley. I just need to work on my time management skills so I am not so tired for work.

            Date and time
            June 26, 2012, 11:09AM
          • Game Dev Story had me hooked for days, but after about my 3rd run through I had run out of things to see/do. I figure the others will be the same formula with a few tweaks, so I haven't tried any.

            Lucid Fugue
            Date and time
            June 26, 2012, 3:20PM
        • Garriott is a good one, I'd add him to my list of Carmack, Meier, Kev Levine and Muzyka/Zeschuk. Thrpwing out some love to David Brevik (the original Diablo), and Smedley, McQuaid, Clover & Trost (original Everquest). Even if Brad McQuaid did crap all over his own legacy with his "work" on Vanguard.

          Date and time
          June 26, 2012, 9:39AM
          • Pretty annoyed that Peter Molyneux had to cancel, I was looking forward to seeing him talk tonight. Having said that, I'll definitely be hitting up the Game Masters exhibition. Might try and go early too, so if I feel like another visit, I won't have to rush in the last few weeks (yeah, yeah, I know it runs for months, but I'm bad at attending these sort of events!)

            In terms of developers that have had the biggest influence on my gaming life:
            Recently = the Bioware doctors, Todd Howard (Bethesda)
            Historically = just about anyone who developed on the Amiga... Bitmap Brothers, Jon Hare (Sensible Software)

            @ Joka - sorry, I'd be one of several on Screenplay who has talked up Game Dev Story!

            Date and time
            June 26, 2012, 9:42AM

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