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'Who are your game dev heroes?'
'Who are your game dev heroes?'
July 25, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Those of us who truly love games -- enough to want to make them a career -- are often in thrall to the classics. But as developers grow older, they can become inspired by the work of their peers, too -- and not just their games, but their collaboration, mentorship, writing, and speech.

What game developers -- the individuals behind the games -- inspire people?

That's the question Gamasutra posed to its Twitter followers on Friday morning, and the below responses (while far from exhaustive) read as a veritable who's-who of game development.

Remember, if you're interested in participating in these conversations in the future, make sure to follow @Gamasutra on Twitter. The questions usually go out on Fridays in the late morning, Pacific time, alongside Tweets of our regular news, blogs, and original writing.

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Christian Nutt
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Rieko Kodama is definitely my hero, too. The Phantasy Star games (I love PSO, but specifically here talking about the originals for the Master System and Genesis) really stick with me, particularly 1, 2, and 4, thee ones Kodama worked on. There's just something about them.

I got to meet her in Tokyo years ago and I was just completely unable to process the experience. It was super cool.

Thomas Happ
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I really wish they'd make another single-player entry in the vein of 1,2, and 4. 2 was my favorite.

Derick Ballard
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The old Phantasy Star games were something special. 2 will always be my favorite. That was one hell of an adventure. The memorable music from Tokuhiko "BO" Uwabo was also a HUGE part of that.

Jeanne Burch
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I played video games from the time my parents set up the "extra" T.V. to be the "Pong" T.V., but it was playing Phantasy Star on Genesis that made video games the main form of entertainment/expression/what-have-you in my life.

ken wong
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Jason Rohrer will always have my utmost gratitude for creating Passage, which changed my perception of what a game could be, in five minutes.

Adriaan de Jongh
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Bernie DeKoven, because playfulness.

Lihim Sidhe
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James Silvia. He made 'The Dishwasher' while he was a dishwasher through pure determination and achieved his dreams.

Also Jason Rubin and Hideaki Kamiya.

George Menhal III
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Shinji Mikami

Chris Book
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It might be cliche, but John Carmack is my spirit animal. Not only did he teach me that the power of code allows you to create almost anything, his work is directly or indirectly responsible for basically every one of my favorite games.

Mike Higbee
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His keynotes at Quakecon were always my favorite thing of the whole event. It was missed this year.

Desmond Edem
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"Story in a video game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but It's not that important". Funny to know that I've not played any of his game.

Thomas Happ
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Miyamoto is my hero for game design, Amy Hennig for writing, Pixel for proving what one person can accomplish.

Eric Bailey
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Warren Spector and Cliff Bleszinski. The former for teaching people what a game should be, and the latter for teaching people who a game developer should be. But more than any individual, everyone who gives up so much of themselves to make games is inspiring.

Brian Bartram
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Mad respect for: Vander Caballero and the team at Minority Media for creating Papa & Yo. Cellar Door Games for their tenacity that led to Rogue Legacy. Brendon Chung / Blendo Games for Thirty Flights of Loving.

On a personal note, my mentors: Stone Librande, Wright Bagwell, Tom French, and Nick Marks.

Ordani Briton
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Fumito Ueda Team Ico
Richard Garriot
Gabe Newell
Warren Spector
Cryptic Team for CoX
Hironobu Sakaguchi for Final Fantasy
Naoki Yoshida for an incredible come back.
and many more.

Kevin Fishburne
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Richard Garriott and Chris Roberts (among innumerable other designers, programmers and musicians).

David Konkol
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I agree with this 110%

These two truly showed us what a game could be not only in pushing the bounds of technology, but also in making a world that was just 1's and 0's feel like it was alive.

Luis Guimaraes
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Everyone from Looking Glass Studios.

TC Weidner
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Ken Smith, and his early and only work for Aph/Intellivison. His games are what got me to fall in love with gaming, and to this day his games are among my favorites.

Michael O'Hair
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Is Greg Costikyan still alive? Oh, that's good.

Jonathan Murphy
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I really don't have a favorite. But I hear, Jonathan Murphy is the sexist game dev alive! ... Ok I'm kidding. 2nd best.

Eric Chahi has inspired me many times. I hope I can one day make a game as good as, Out Of This World AKA Another World.

Benjy Davo
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No love for Doug Church? he is the quiet guy who actually had the most talent out of the Looking Glass band. Even Warren Spector and Harvey Smith admit this. His rap sheet reads like System shock (actual designer Spector was project manager on this one) Thief, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider legends and Portal 2. He's worked for Looking Glass, Ionstorm Austin, EA and Valve. Hell he even QA tested Braid for Jonathan Blow. He's also according to Harvey smith a crazy talented programmer and artist so a true polymath and no I am not related to him :).

Also Shinji Mikami who is of course most famous for being the creator and designer of Resident evil 1-4 when the series was still some of the best action gaming going. However he also created Dino Crisis, had a big role in Devil May cry, Godhand, Vanquish and now Evil Within which will hopefully be good.

Jeremy Helgevold
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Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer come immediately to mind. Also the guys at Blizzard in my youth (Samwise, Metzen, Morhaime, etc)

Shannon Rowe
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This will show my age, but Andrew Braybrook still holds the crown for inspiring me.

Luis Blondet
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Gary Gygax for creating Dungeons & Dragons and influencing generations of writers and game designers of both physical and digital games.

Satoshi Tajiri for creating Pokemon and making me realize that a regular guy with childish dreams could make great things with games.

Lori and Cori Cole for creating Quest for Glory and making me dare to dream to make games one day.

Michael Chicoris
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John Carmack, Cliff Bleszinski, Ed Boon, & Hideo Kojima had a direct influence on my decision to (want to) make games.

Desmond Edem
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A big shoutout to the crew at Rockstar North. The first time I set my eyes on GTA: San Andreas, I knew exactly how I wanted my life to be. Thanks people.

But my favorite personality is John Carmack.

Amanda Fitch
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Ken and Roberta Williams - King's Quest + many more adventure games from my childhood. Miyamoto is a close second.

Reinhold Hoffmann
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One of my favourite video game developers is Ed Boon, one of the creators of the Mortal Kombat fighting games, I like his humor he often shows via twitter and also the games itself.

Katsuhiro Harada from Namco and one of the guys behind the Tekken game series seems to be a pretty cool dude as well, and his ideas shown in the games are often awesome.

Chris Burris
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Shigeru Miyamoto for his undying dedication to fun and player experience. To me that's what games are about at their core. He's championed those characteristics throughout his career and helped define the game industry in the process.

Sarah Johnson-Bliss
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What? No love for Sid Meier? I've probably spent more hours playing his games than any other... Of course, I have to also give shout outs to Richard Garriott, Chris Roberts, and Will Wright...

Adrian Mro
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Jeff Vogel - Spiderweb Software. The guy's blog is an inspiration and a source of knowledge for all indie devs. Not to mention highly humorous.

Paul Tozour
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I'll second that!

Paul Weber
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Tom Francis is my current hero...

Alex Belzer
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Not a single shout out to Yasumi Matsuno?

Final Fantasy Tactics. Vagrant Story. Ogre Battle. Tactics Ogre. FFXII.

Brilliantly designed systems + thoughtful storytelling. Serious depth going on his games.

Curtiss Murphy
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Will Wright, Jonathan Blow, Jenova Chen.

Ujn Hunter
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Mikami & Kamiya here. Can't forget about Suda & Swery though.

George Menhal III
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Hideki Kamiya is right up there for me as well.

Okami is in my top five of all time.

E Zachary Knight
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My heroes? I would have to say Lars Doucet, Robert Boyd, Christer Kaitila, and Adam Saltsman. These guys are the indie devs I admire most and whose work has most influenced my own. While I have a lot of mad respect for a lot of AAA developers, none of their work or inspiration has impacted me on a personal level like these guys.

Mike Wikan
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It's a toughie. there are a lot of people I respect and have worked with over the years like Miyamoto-san.

The ones I respect the most are the ones who have bit and crawled their way through tough times to success.

Engineers like Akintunde Omitowoju and Paul Tozour. Artists like Stephan Martiniere, Jeremy Cook and the art crew at Retro. Designers Like the design group at Retro (again) and Dave Saunders who I worked with at id.

The guys who buckle down to get the job DONE and not worry about the silly politics or the egos. The ones to admire are not the "look at me' crowd.

The ones to admire are the guys slogging in the trenches to make the game as good as they possibly can.