Director’s Cut: Meet Your Creator

Hello! While I had been saving this particular announcement for Christmas Day, the team convinced me to open this package a few days early.


Ralph Baer, who created the world’s first video game console, will be giving a postmortem on the device and its first game, PING PONG. During the same session, Allan Alcorn, who later designed Atari’s PONG for the arcades, will also present a postmortem of that device and game. Talking and working with these gentlemen on developing this session has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life, and I can only imagine the impact this session will have on everyone attending. The session is titled, appropriately enough, How to Create an Industry: The Making of the Brown Box and PONG.
Of course, GDC also features the Game Developers Choice Awards. Granted there are many awards shows out there, but this one, like the GDC itself, is built on the input of professional game developers. It’s this open, peer-based structure that lead developers to truly appreciate these awards. This year, the Choice Awards are going through a couple of changes. We are consolidating the First Penguin and Maverick awards into a single Pioneer award, celebrating an individual responsible for a breakthrough in the game industry. Inventing that industry certainly qualifies, and so we are honored to give out our first Pioneer Award to Mr. Baer while he’s at GDC.
Another new category is the Ambassador Award, which honors an individual who advances the game industry from within, or reaches outside as an advocate. As games take a more prominent role on the global stage in popular culture, politics, and the media, it became more important for us to recognize our unsung heroes who fight the good fight. Again, we are proud to announce a winner who defines the category by example, the executive director of the IGDA, Jason Della Rocca. Jason tirelessly fights for quality of life, accessibility, and creative freedoms, and we are pleased to give him the thanks he deserves.
The timing here is perfect. Not only are we creating this award now for an emerging area of recognition, but this is the first time Jason has been eligible to win a Choice Award. Our colleagues at Gamasutra.com are stepping up to handle general voting management and special awards committee management. They’re replacing our friends at the IGDA, who are now free to focus on their advocacy and training activities at GDC, which also opens IGDA staff for recognition. While I’m on this point, I would like to thank our in-house Renaissance man Simon Carless and the Choice Awards Advisory Committee for their objective deliberations in managing the voting process.
A press release detailing these announcements should follow this morning. Now just wait until you hear who’s getting our Lifetime Achievement Award!
Happy Holidays,
Jamil Moledina
Executive Director
Game Developers Conference
p.s. Please remember to vote in the Game Developers Choice Awards. We’ll be back with a new update on Wednesday January 2.