The Ninth Circle #11: The Best Part III: People


The Best Part III: People

The third and final part of The Best deals with individuals. I?m sure we?ve all come to know individual names over our time playing games, but who are those who stick out most in our minds? Below, I?ll share a few of those who spring immediately to my mind. I?m sure you will have some different names in mind- so again, why not reply and let me know who.

David Braben
The man behind Elite, one of the most amazing games ever created. Purists will tell you it came out for the BBC Micro first, but it was the Spectrum version that really took off. In the UK, that is. In the days of very basic straightforward platform games and shoot-em-ups, Elite was a revelation. It offered truly open ended gameplay, allowing the player to take on whatever role they wanted. Something we may take for granted now, but this was years away in any other game. Elite offered players the freedom of the universe, with dozens of star systems to visit, police to avoid, and goods to trade. All this on less memory than we use today for a sound card driver. Elite was entirely Braben?s creation. I would add that later versions have never managed to capture the spirit of the original, quite why I really don?t know. Maybe sometimes 640k really is enough for anyone.

The Collyer Brothers
If you love football, real football I mean, called “soccer” by some heathens, then you?ll know who the Collyer brothers are. The creative team behind the Championship Manager series, quite possibly the most anal-retentive game ever created in the history of computing. As you can image, that?s going up against some pretty stiff competition. In news that won?t surprise any of you, I have three separate versions of Championship Manager lying around the house, one of which is currently installed on my machine. The attention to detail in these games is phenomenal, with stats on all the current players across many different nations, principally Europe. You can choose to manage whatever team you like, and the game will last for however long you feel like playing. You essentially become an in-game character, with your own reputation to uphold. Do badly, and your name is mud, do well, and a top club or even country may call you to serve. I?ve never managed more than twelve seasons myself, but others have gone on for far longer than that. Oliver and Paul Collyer, I salute you.

Ken Kuturagi
Proving that you don?t need to have designed a computer game to make a list of best individuals, Ken was the man at Sony who had the vision to came out with the Playstation. Internal executives at Sony were as skeptical as the market initially was. Ken?s first battle was to win Sony itself over to the idea of becoming a player in the console market. At the time, it was a two-horse race, with Atari having been crushed between the giants Sega and Nintendo. Conventional wisdom said that entry into this market was impossible.

As usual, conventional wisdom was wrong. The Playstation was released to cries of “what the..? Sony, making a console? What do they know?” From there, the only way was up, and the Playstation soon became the dominant console. The Nintendo 64 was barely a blip on the radar, essentially playing Apple to Sony?s Microsoft. Sega burned all their cash on the Dreamcast, which failed.

The Playstation came out of nowhere to change an industry, and it?s all thanks to this man.

Minh Le
The creator of Counterstrike showed that the “ordinary” gamer really can join the hallowed ranks of games developers. Okay, so creating a game that is as popular and long-lasting as Counterstrike is hardly the act of the ordinary, but it was achieved with tools available to everyone who had bought Half-Life, plus that vital ingredient of creativity. He has previous form too, having worked on Action Quake 2, and Navy SEALS for the original Quake engine.

If nothing else, Counterstrike has proved that you don?t need a 60+ person team to create a great and popular game- you just need their game engine. More on this in articles to come.

Last Time
There was some confusion over the last article, mainly because while the article was titles “Best Companies” it was introduced on the front page as “Best Developers”. A couple of people wrote in noting the discrepancy, while others thought I didn?t know the difference between a developer and a publisher, because what were EA doing on that list anyway.

There is no table of responses for part 2, not just because I received 20+ replies compared to 100+ for part 1, but also because almost everyone mentioned a different games company! No company received more than two mentions, and only a few were mentioned twice; Looking Glass Studios for the Thief series (don?t forget Flight Unlimited!), Sierra mainly for their Quest games, and Lucasarts for the stuff they did before they became solely a maker of crap Star Wars games. Id Software were also mentioned twice, and I?ll say the reason they don?t appear on my best list, is that for me, Id are a maker of game engines, not games, not since Doom anyway. From Quake onwards, it has been games based on Id?s engines, not Id?s games, that I have enjoyed playing. Still, don?t let that stop you from telling my why John Carmack should have been on the list of individuals.

Disclaimer: The Ninth Circle was written by Lorelorn (David Kay) and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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