The 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) awarded two Special Awards to living legends in the gaming industry at their ceremony last night. The Pioneer Award was handed out to Dave Thuerer, designer of classic games from the 80’s and founder of core concepts used in the modern era. Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith were the recipients of the Ambassador Award for their work on the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. EMA, which ruled that video games were protected as free speech under the first amendment.
The Pioneer Award – Dave Theurer
The Pioneer award was given to Dave Theurer, creator of the classic 80’s titles Missile Command, Tempest and I, Robot. Theurer is widely recognized as a groundbreaking designer that helped create modern game genres.
Pioneer Award winner, Dave Theurer, began his career in 1980 with tthe release of Missile Command. The trackball based shooter was a milestone in early computer games and is still being emulated and recreated in game apps and web based retro games today.
Theurer followed up in 1981, with the psychedelic, vector-based tube shooter release Tempest, which inspired a slew of other innovations in arcade video games and was an early title to use 3D perspective in gameplay.
In 1983, Theurer designed the cult arcade title I, Robot. Though not commercially successful at the time, it is now legendary for being the first commercial video game with filled 3D polygon graphics and the first to feature camera control options.
You don’t have to look far to see Thuerer’s influence on gaming. Above: I,Robot(1983), followed by Star Fox (1993), released 10 years later.
The Ambassador Award – Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith
Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the First Amendment lawyers in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, were recognized with the Ambassador Award for their support of game developers rights.
Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith led the legal team which resulted in the Court ruling that content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional. The ruling established First Amendment rights for those who create, develop, and publish video games.
Here is the full award show courtesy of Gamespot:
Skip to 41:25 to view the Ambassador Award.
Skip to 53:40 to view the Pioneer Award.