237: In Memoriam

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In Memoriam

Videogames are over 30 years old, which means everyone who was there in the early days is now over 50. And with an aging population of game developers comes the possibility that many of their stories will be lost when they pass on. John Szczepaniak discusses why we shouldn't forget their contributions to our hobby.

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the problem is nobody takes the good things from other games. I never ever seen game that took the best of all competitors there was. and boy,would it be any genre, it would own the word!

Great article. As an industry professional, even we have a hard time knowing when our fellow developers are lost, and many times we find out via one to three line comments on game sites. It's refreshing to see someone giving recognition to those we have lost.

When Shiggy dies, I won't need you to tell me... I'll feel it.

Really thought provoking article. And its true as well which shakes even more. If someone like James Cameron, or Joss Wheedon was to die we would be hearing about it (Maybe not front news, but definetly be aware)

However, to think when people who create the content me love so much pass on, we might never know of the death...it, makes me somewhat sad.

Well, in memory of all those who have passed on, there rest me well and to those who will...I hope that we can at least hear the mention of there name, and preserve it forever in our minds and memories.

I was waiting half the article for Gunpei Yokoi to be mentioned. Game boy and metroid. Genius died too young. It used to be a face was at least in front of the company, Sid Meier, the guy from Sims, Miyamoto, and a couple I forget like the sonic and final fantasy guys, and the person behind Castlevania but now it's just, "Activision, EA, Bethseda, etc..." I tink it's because the industry has surpassed quite a while(in respect to its age) ago the billion dollar mark. As in the old days people tanned leather, now they have a huge company with maybe only so much as the one tanner's family name that made it biggest. No one's face is in front of Levi, Walmart(that we care about), or other companies. No one gets recognition for their work as it has become much more team oriented as well. No man can program a game like Fallout alone. No one can draw in the same way they did in Ocarina of Time as they did in Twilight princess(though admittadly there were a bunch of guys who did both games). The industry is also widely spread out. 100's of games are coming out yearly. No one plays them all. I would doubt if anyone in mainstream society, or on the fence betwen hard and softcore gaming have played even half of hte major titles released this year. A lot of names are still out there, but people are looking at the games themselves more and with all the huge business going on, the mergers, the acquisitions, the constant transference of IP's, and the dissolution of developers like Pandemic as one of the more recent examples, it's just really hard to follow.

maybe there should be a game database/wiki that shows every game and everyone who worked on said games and what patents they used so credit is given where credit is due if one is inclined to search.

Well, I'd say a great many of us were too young when the industry started, and know little of the developers in japan, even now, outside the bigshots like Kojima and Shiggy.

That being said, Gary Gygax's death was a big deal, all over.

I'll be sad if Fumito Ueda dies young, the guy made two of my favourite games ever and the prospect of no more games from him and team ico would be a depressing one

A great through article. Perhaps a good tribute to those who created video games and their names won't be forgotten. It would be depressing to see Shigesato Itoi gone especially his legacy of Mother series.

i knew about the death of Gunpei Yokoi
but gamers everywhere will morn when Shigeru Miyamoto passes on.
gaming is still young the old guard is still around, as the credits get lounger they'll seam less like people and more like names.

Mmm, if Zelda comes to my funeral dressed in black lace, perhaps it'd be worth the trouble of dying.

Ahem.

That said, I've never particularly obsessed over celebrities perishing. All that has form is transient. To hear the fans, they'd like to have their celebrities stuffed and kept going with hidden motors.

Man, what a depressing read... True nonetheless.

Lack of media coverage sure help us not to know how they are and such. However, I don't think they'll be simply forgotten.
You see, they left a mark on this world. Games who make history, sometimes becoming timeless.
Once our beloved creators are gone, we might not know at all about their unavoidable fate but their work shall remain. And as long as those works are remembered, they will never be forgotten.

Blessed be them.

I really appreciate this article, and yes, "media" coverage of prominent developers is sparse indeed, but I am hopeful. Wikipedia remains unmentioned in this article, and yet, it's become a primary source of information on the game industry titans and the niche-diggers of yore. If you know of a developer, living or dead, who should be mentioned, make a Wiki entry for them. Even if it's just 3 lines. It's the first and hardest step; once the page is up, it will grow.

geldonyetich:
Mmm, if Zelda comes to my funeral dressed in black lace, perhaps it'd be worth the trouble of dying.

Ahem.

That said, I've never particularly obsessed over celebrities perishing. All that has form is transient. To hear the fans, they'd like to have their celebrities stuffed and kept going with hidden motors.

If these people were celebrities, I would agree, but many of these people are completely unknown (The only one I was familiar with, sad to say, was Gunpei). It's not necessary to glorify or memorialize, but they at least need to be acknowledged.

OH, and Gygax. But he is rather a bit of a celebrity.

A wonderful article and really does resonate how people make this world and not corporations.

Also there is a typo. It is zombies ate my neighbors. Not zombies at my neighbors.

This was a great article, and something I haven't really thought of. Sure makes me think about it now though.

I agree that people, as a whole, don't notice when a game creator has passed on, and there's a good reason. It's because video game visionaries are hidden behind the game itself.

There's other reasons too, but I'm not feeling too wordy.

Good article.

I whole-heartedly concur with this article. I took a history of gaming class, and many of these names stand out...breaks my heart to think that the majority of the gaming world has not even heard of the games they made, let alone who they were.

When Shigeru Miyamoto passes (which will never happen, as I'm sure he's got a fairy or two kicking around), the gaming nation shall hold a moment of silence. Even rabid FPS gamers online will temporarily cease their fragging and ethnic slurrs in honour of, quite frankly, one of the gods of gaming. And that's nothing compared to how badly the Jedi will feel it.

I personally will also mourn the loss of Nolan Bushnell (God forbid). While the founder of Atari may not be a household name, he has left a legacy. Not only has he shown me all new underhanded ways to develop and create (he is a sneaky bugger and I love him for that), but he also helped take gaming and make it mainstream. Without Bushnell, video games would have been the fleeting passtimes of Ivey League computer students. With Bushnell, video games were initially so successful that the first Asteroids machines needed to have expanded coin buckets. When he passes, I suggest we all go out and enjoy a slice of pizza at Chuck E. Cheese (another of his creations).

Well, games are the creation of many, not few, and more and more so. We give a face to companies we hate (Bobby Kotick is Activision, and Activision is EVIL!) but not to those we love. A sad state of affairs.

I'm usually of the opinion that a man's work should speak more loudly than their own selves, and I don't care if Gabriel Garcia Marquez wondered if women could really be raped or if Jorge Luis Borges thought the US should be more imperialist. But in this particular case, we're witnessing the birth of a new media, and not caring. What will history books say?

I think part of the reason that game designers arnt celebrated as much is the same kinda reason that scientists arnt, because its not as much of a singular activity as acting or even being in a band. To make great games or do good science requires a team, usualy a pretty large team and companies are reluctant to make rock stars out of thier employees for fear of the demanding more money or more control and so on and so on.

Richard Joseph's dead? When'd that happen? (Looks.) THREE YEARS AGO? Oh, man, I've been humming the theme to Cauldron II every now and then (particularly in October) and never realized.

If videogaming were still a "true" nerd's hobby, I would think that it would have never come to this. Since our hobby also became the hobby of the mouth-breathers however, the hobby itself has lost much of its sheen and attractiveness, to say nothing of the fame of its creators.

This article was very good. I think it's very true that many may be forgotten for what they've done, all because they aren't well known, and yet they make the most respected and loved games in the world. The only thing I know something like this is, back in october, I found out that Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors, had died earlier in the year, but me being away since april and having a bad internet connection, I didn't learn about it until I watched a rerun of E.R. Media and the like should really start paying attention to the big people in the gaming industry, so we can see the faces behind the names and see the creations that they gave to us.

I go on record stating the same thing i always do. People die everyday. 1 life is not worth more then one others.

i was born in 1988 the prime of gaming. i realize this now as i look around that my fellow games about my age. they seem to only look for the best graphics now in days. and i find this quite unracking.

when i got my first tony hawk game in awhile. i went straight for the credits option. my friend next to me asked me "what are you doing?" as i read the credits aloud to my self. i said "reading the credits, oh course." and to my suprise he said "only queers read game credits!" being the self proclaimed gamer he is i thought less of him after that. cause it damn near felt like i died hearing those words.

being a gamer means more then getting the high score, being the man to beat on multiplayer, even knowing every detail of every square game inch of your favorite game. it means honoring the men and women that that spend endless hours of endless weeks even years of there time to create something greater then them selves. people think i am crazy because i have all my calender's dates scribbled on. like march 4, april 7, january 15, or even january 17 to name a few. but those are dates i will honor until i die before christmas or presidents day.

on a side note: Long live Heihachi King of iron fist!.

Remember when the guy who did the artwork for doom died? It made bug news in the gaming world and most paid tribute over the web.

Meowth is... dead? ;_;

I was born in 1977, so while I wan't at the very beginning of it all, I did witness the evolution from arcade to Atari to Nintendo/Sega and so on. Ashamed to say I probably wouldn't know it if someone in the industry died, unless it was someone like Amano.

That was a very good article. It's true that in movies you always see "In memoriams", but not in gaming.

Donnyp:
I go on record stating the same thing i always do. People die everyday. 1 life is not worth more then one others.

Geesh. How would you feel if you knew that no one would give a hoot about you dying? And don't you think that people who revolutionized an industry that you enjoy should be honored and remembered once they pass away?

Tiroe:
That was a very good article. It's true that in movies you always see "In memoriams", but not in gaming.

Donnyp:
I go on record stating the same thing i always do. People die everyday. 1 life is not worth more then one others.

Geesh. How would you feel if you knew that no one would give a hoot about you dying? And don't you think that people who revolutionized an industry that you enjoy should be honored and remembered once they pass away?

I hope at my Funeral they all Laugh at the funny things i did and Stop crying cause the Pain is finally gone lol. Yes i think that but the problem is middle ground. There is none. Either its Micheal Jackson esq or No one knows. When Anna Nichole Smith died the news was all over it. At roughly The Same Time Richard Jeni Killed himself. More Talented then her but She got all the press.

Great article. It is indeed sad that these great minds who have brought us so much don't get the remembrance they deserve. However, I feel this is true for many facets of our society.

Anyways, this part really struck me:

"...Isao Okawa... personally funded the development of the Dreamcast and used his own money - $695.7 million worth of stocks - to help Sega stay afloat while it moved away from hardware development and toward a software-centric business model."

That's really quite amazing and honorable. People often think of the heads of big game companies as being some money-grubbing maniacs who don't give a rats ass about innovation, only the bottom line, but its great to find out about cases like this that prove this notion completely wrong.

I'm in my 21st year of my life, and I've been playing games since I was 2. I remember beating my first Sonic the Hedgehog game at that age. You're right though, John, in those 19 years of gaming, rarely was I aware that a gaming icon, or influential developer had passed on. The only one I can remember is Gygax, and that was found by accident. This article is really an eye opener, and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Dhatz:
the problem is nobody takes the good things from other games. I never ever seen game that took the best of all competitors there was. and boy,would it be any genre, it would own the word!

All of the best, nope (that would pretty hard however), but I want to believe [at least independant or small] game companies learn from their competitors, and that's how we get jewels like Beyond Good & Evil, Psychonauts or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Yes, a lot of the people who contribute to the games in our pc's and consoles don't get the credits from the public that they deserve, but something else we should ask ourselves: do they actually wnt those credits? They (probably) get some appreciation from their bosses, in money and/or words, and I can imagine that is more than enough for most of them. After all, it's their job to make games, and that means they do their work for money and a some self-satisfaction, if they are happy with their job. Only a very few percent of those people crave for attention from the public: otherwise they would have pursued a different career.

And let's not forget, not every person working in the game industry is an artist: only a few people are lucky enough to have the freedom of being creative in their work. Most of them only do a very small part of the whole gamemaking-process, which could have also been done by someone else. Just think of all those low-paid programmers for whom every detail of their work is decided by their superiors. These people are simply working, and although I'm sure they often work hard and do good work, they are not doing stuff that the public will give them a pat on the back for. If we are going to give them an extra hug, we will also have to hug pretty much everyone else who is part of the production of something that could be classified as a form of art.

So, anyone need a hug?

PlasticTree:
So, anyone need a hug?

Me! boohooz.
Now on to business, This is all very true but its hardly the only instance of this happening. Look at the medical community. So many people who's life's work have saved so many lives. And does ANYONE who's not a doctor or a patient think of doctors beyond Dr. House, MD?

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