The gaming industry has always been a prime target for a few good therapy sessions, and it only takes one look at the case history to see why that is. Born in the '50s, gaming was abandoned at an early age by its abusive father, the scientist, leaving it to its misfit mother, the geek. At school it was bullied relentlessly by bigger industries, like music and film, the ones who already had chest hair and who would brag in the lunchroom about their public acceptance.
In response, gaming became a recluse. It stayed in its bedroom most nights, and like every sulking teenager it hung posters of its idols on the walls. A ferociously bearded Richard Garriott. A godlike silhouette of Will Wright. A revealing portrait of Peter Molyneux wearing only a coy smile. Lying in bed at night, gaming would whisper to itself that one day - one day - it would be revered by all.
You were most likely there. After all, you think those great men of gaming are genii as much as the next gamer, and that poster of Peter Molyneux really was quite flattering. And what's wrong with having someone to look up to? You deserve it, after all of those long years of bedroom shame, sweaty stereotypes and pop culture's fierce mocking. Our heroes were going to cure to all of that. Someone to stand tall, to rally the troops and raise the profile of the nobler side of the art. They had to. And to help these heroes ascend, the journalists came forth.
The media weren't the only ones to promote these heroes, but nothing says "gaming legend" like a double-page spread and a glossy front cover. People that had once been merely considered interesting were suddenly catapulted onto spotlit columns, asked for pearls of wisdom and revered as kings. Electronic Arts famously began a crusade to make "rock stars" of their developers, and the legends began to inscribe themselves on the big, neon-lit slate of gaming history.
Let's begin our story back in your fictional past. Welcome to 1990 - Super Mario Bros. 3 is your life. It aesthetically pleasing and plays like a dream, and it's come to be physical manifestation of everything games can represent. Shigeru Miyamoto is no longer an unknown designer to you - he's an artist, a creator - and his latest work is what makes you read the credits at the end of a game.
We're going forward a little. It's 1993 and you're knee deep in the dead. Doom found its way onto your PC, and you're in a hushed awe at what you're seeing. This man, John Carmack, is going to transform videogames. The new technology astounds you as much as the core gameplay; something that's so visceral and exciting that you want more and more. Combining fresh technology with fresh ideas and designs, Carmack is one of your gods. In less than a decade, he'll be named one of Time's 10 most digitally influential, but right now all that matters is the mythic image he projects. He looks like a king among gamers. He represents the community in a very direct way.