The Iconoclasts

Gaming's rebels and revolutionaries.

The Iconoclasts

"Magic: The Gathering just celebrated its 15th anniversary. It's awarded millions of dollars on it's Pro Tour. But its greatest accomplishment was also its first: It launched an entirely new type of game, collectible card games (CCGs.) Mash the addictiveness of trading cards with the strategy and competitive spirit of chess and you're certain to find something amazing.

"There are three people who have built their reputations on the franchise. One is the head of its research and development team. The second is its champion, the name every competitive player knows. And the third is our story's 'villain.'"

The Iconoclasts

"More Mark Mothersbaugh than Mick Jagger, Schafer has built a reputation for creating weird, cerebral games that rely more on clever dialogue and witty characterizations than seat-of-your-pants gameplay. Beginning his career at LucasArts with The Secret of Monkey Island, which he helped write and program along with fellow designer Dave Grossman, Schafer has carved out a niche in an industry obsessed with the next Top-40 hit where he and his team can work on something a bit more offbeat."

The Iconoclasts

"On August 6, 2008, after over three years of work, independent game designer Jonathan Blow launched the puzzle platformer Braid on Xbox Live Arcade. Braid marks an inflection point in Blow's career, his first polished product as an indie; before, he had published only a few sketchy prototypes. Some players will eagerly assess how the game embodies the artistic principles Blow advocates. In contrast, a few bloggers, stung by his comments about the shady ethics of World of Warcraft, must secretly hope his game bombs.

"On that count, at least, they're too late. Whether Braid itself succeeds or fails commercially, it had already become famous before launch as a vehicle to highlight Blow's provocative and inspiring ideas."

The Iconoclasts

"As you enter the understated Hunt Valley, MD, studio that houses Firaxis Games, it feels like any other office. Only after you pass the front desk and see the display case overflowing with 30 or so gaming achievement awards does it really hit home: This is one of the pillars of the gaming world.

"The casual feel of the studio mirrors the man responsible for its existence, Director of Creative Development and co-founder Sid Meier. Despite the legendary game designer status and a cult following to every game that bears his name, the man is as down to earth as it gets."

The Iconoclasts

"Steve Meretzky is kind of a crabby guy. Not gloomy or excessively negative, but rather in the world-weary way of someone who's been around the block a time or two not by choice, but because he couldn't find a parking space. He might complain about how expensive the coffee is at Starbucks, or how he doesn't have the time or reflexes to play modern games, yet you can't help but find yourself nodding along in agreement as he makes his grumpy observations. He may be crabby, but talking to him, you also get the impression that he's often right.