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.
Screen Play is on Twitter: @screenplayblog