Carmack, Meier, Lara make the Walk of Game

[UPDATE] Revered developers, titillating game characters, and enduring games join second class of inductees into industry-honoring attraction.

SAN FRANCISCO--Gaming makes strange bedfellows. Just ask Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and Sega mascot Sonic the Hedgehog.

At Thursday night's 2006 Walk of Game induction ceremony, the gaming pioneer and the fleet-footed ring-snatcher, both inductees of last year's inaugural Walk of Game class, walked to the podium arm in arm to start the celebration.

"Sonic and I were chatting back before we got on and he was telling me how proud he was to be inducted last year in the Walk of Game," Bushnell said. "The only thing he was a little concerned about was being walked on all the time. I said that's OK; it's par for the course."

Bushnell didn't mince words, quickly getting to the focus of the evening and his purpose for being there: to mark the induction into the Walk of Game of PC strategy game devloper Sid Meier, id Software tech guru John Carmack, Sony Online Entertainment's massively multiplayer EverQuest series, Blizzard's enduring sci-fi real-time strategy game Starcraft, and Square Enix's long-running console role-playing Final Fantasy series.

"I'm here to pass the baton, so to speak, to some of these new inductees, many of which are guys that I respect in the business as being truly revolutionary," Bushnell said.

Bushnell then introduced the show's host, G4 TV's Adam Sessler, who spoke glowingly of the evening's honored developers and franchises.

"What's nice is that the inductees tonight really show both the endurance of good gameplay and the ability of the greatest people who make games to adapt to the new technology without losing the essence of what makes games good, which is that they are fun and involving," Sessler said.

With that, Sessler moved on to honor the individual inductees, starting with Starcraft. Blizzard producer Shane Dabiri and lead software engineer Bob Fitch appeared on behalf of the game. Fitch declined to hand out individual accolades but made sure to thank everyone who worked on the game, caffeinated beverages, and the game's fans. As Fitch said, "The fans are really who made Starcraft as good as it is; otherwise it would just be some box on the wall if you didn't like it."

Sid Meier was next up to be honored, as Sessler gushed praise on the Civilization developer's ability to put his own unique spin on any subject he tackles.

"I think he's the only game maker to have his name denote a genre because they don't really fall into anything else. ... He's been called 'father of computer gaming,' and I think that really sells him a little bit short. His games are still vibrant, his games are still exciting."

A five-minute restrospective video (the same one shown at Meier's induction in the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame seven years ago) was then shown, with plenty of kind words of admiration for the developer from his peers, including Sims creator Will Wright and Ultima's "Lord British," Richard Garriott.

When Meier took the microphone, he called the induction "a wonderful honor," noting that the Walk of Game was voted on by gamers and fans and thanking them for being willing to let him explore new types of games throughout his career.

As Meier left the stage, Sessler began his introduction for Final Fantasy, noting specifically how special the game's stories made players feel.

"Nothing makes you feel more important than when you save the world from ultimate destruction, and that, in every single Final Fantasy, is made possible."

Square Enix PR manager Sonia Im accepted the induction on behalf of the series along with a pair of costumed representatives from the series. Im thanked the fans of the series, saying, "Without you, the first Final Fantasy would have been the last."

The venerable console role-playing series yielded the stage to a venerable PC role-playing series, as Sessler moved on to induct EverQuest, praising the scope of the game, the sense of exploration it provides players, and the social aspect of the game.

"'Groundbreaking' is too easy a word," Sessler said of the pioneering massively multiplayer online role-playing game. "It really changed so much [about gaming]."

Sony Online Entertainment producer Chris Lena took the stage accompanied by models portraying EverQuest characters Firiona Vie and Antonia Bayle, noting that the game was being inducted on the day of its seventh anniversary.

"After seven years, it's not about me standing in front of a microphone, or some people in the audience who were part of the original team," Lena said. "This is truly a game that was simply powered by the players. ... Without them, there really is no EverQuest and there really isn't this entire genre."

Next up was the man Sessler said "allowed the words 'badass' and 'video game' to be said in the same sentence," id Software technical director and father of the first-person shooter John Carmack. After an introductory video recapping the scope of his career from Commander Keen to Quake 4 (the video had been previously shown at Carmack's Hall of Fame induction in 2001), Carmack took the stage by first noting that the award has forced him to do something he doesn't often do: look back at his career.

"I'm usually so focused on the here and now and the soon to be that thinking about what I've done in the past just doesn't occupy much time," Carmack said. "But when I do look back over everything, I am quietly proud of all that I've been able to accomplish and all the enjoyment I've been able to let people have with the games that we've created."

While he might have indulged in a bit of retrospection for the Walk of Game ceremony's acknowledgement of his body of work, Carmack reminded the audience as he left the stage that he's not likely to make a habit of it.

"I'd thank you all for the award, and I'm still at it," Carmack said.

The final inductee of the evening was neither a series nor a developer, but a specific game character. While Mario, Link, and Sonic made up half of the original Walk of Game class, Lara Croft was the only character to make her way in this year.

"A lot is always made about 'other aspects' of Lara Croft, and I think sometimes that's a little bit distracting from the heart of it. It was very fascinating that it was a female character. There was no outcry for having that back in 1996. ... It really was a breakthrough in the idea of a character-driven game in a 3D space that you're exploring," Sessler said.

Eidos CEO of US publishing Bill Gardner accepted for Lara Croft, and like the other honorees, he thanked the fans for their support and even acknowledged that his starlet had hit on some hard times of late.

"But we know, and some of you would say we learned a hard lesson, that video game characters are only as good as the games you design around them," Gardner said. "Two years ago we went back to the drawing board--and back to Lara's roots--to better understand what make Tomb Raider games so magical in the hearts and minds of our consumers."

With that, Gardner introduced Toby Gard, Lara Croft's original creator, who left the series after the first game and returned to work on next month's series revamp, Tomb Raider Legend. As for seeing his creation inducted into the Walk of Game, Gard said, "I feel like a happy dad now, sort of."

Gardner then brought out Karima Adebibe, the new Lara Croft model, to say a few words about the new game and the various training with guns, motorcycles, and the like that she's had to take on to play the role.

"Whereas most models spend their time getting their hair and nails done, I'm off jumping and doing lots of dynamic things," Adebibe said. "All of this training has been essential in order to get back to Lara's roots and really bring her athletic personality to life, and this new game does just that."

The presentation wrapped up with a final round of applause for all the inductees, and then it was time to hit the Walk of Game and unveil the actual stars. A crowd of honorees, cameramen, writers, and curious onlookers wound their way around the second floor of the Metreon shopping complex, where the Walk of Game currently resides, before hitting after-parties hosted by Sony Online Entertainment and Meier's Firaxis Games.

Looking forward to next year, Walk of Game organizers expect to announce nominations later this year, with a one-month voting period opening up in October. During that span, gamers around the world will narrow down the field of nominees to two people deserving of a lifetime achievement award and four games or characters worthy of induction.

Written By

Want the latest news about Starcraft?

Starcraft

Starcraft

Discussion

100 comments
goddessakasha
goddessakasha

While I am happy to see that they included Lara because she's a female lead, she's not exactly the best example of a strong female in games, especially since she started out as a big-breasted bimbo that guys could live out fantasies with. I agree, Samus would've been a far better example of a positive female lead role in a game.

suprsolider
suprsolider

Carmack and Sid Meier both deserve to be in the Walk of Gaming. But what about Hideo Kojima adn the Metal Gear series. Solid Snake should have been in there long before Lara Croft. Kojima's games blend reality and making gaming an interactive movie. Metal Gear has done more for gaming than Lara Croft's Tomb Raider. Metal Gear invented the stealth genre. Without Metal Gear, there would be no Hitman games, no Splinter Cell, and other countless knock offs ( BTW, I do like both Hitman and Splinter Cell, but they pale in comparison to Metal Gear Solid) Also, What about Ralf Bear, he INVENTED game consoles. It was his idea to have a box to play games on a TV. He invented the first console know as the brown box otherwise known as Magnavox Oddysse. Raplh Bear is certainly more important than Everquest's guys. Without him, and Busnell, there would basiclly be no video games (much to the delight of Jack Thompson)

Gunde
Gunde

Lara Croft? Seriously? What are they smokin'? Oh, right. The Games-Industry is just a wannabe-hollywood pile of BS. Gaming shouldn't take after the crap made by previous mediums and industries, we should use the innate innovation of the medium and change things to make this industry stand out. Gaming doesn't need another Lara Croft, it needs something else entirely.

badboy231
badboy231

hmm not all that imprtant to but lara with toese big melons games to be clebrated- msg,halo2,ssb,nfs,gta,mc,gfather,metroid,socom,fear,doom,toca3,gt,

whiskertugger10
whiskertugger10

John Carmack is the one who deserved this award the most. Doom, Quake, etc. Agreed?

VicMackey
VicMackey

I think all this back-slapping BS is inching the game industry closer to the bloated disgrace that is the film industry. I like to see important people recognized, but I've always liked that outsider status gaming had. The more mainstream it becomes, the more likely something more rebellious is to capture people's hearts. Look at how rap flourished after listening to rock music no longer pissed off your parents. Games are more than just a churlish rebellion for kids or outsiders, but just think about what I'm saying. Even though I think his latest engine is garbage, I like how Carmack accepted his award: humble and more concerned about the future than reveling in past achievements or courting more awards.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

that croft look-alike is much better than angelina.

jonnyjd
jonnyjd

There are others that deserve to be inducted but I'm glad for those that got it this year.

edubuccaneer
edubuccaneer moderator

Tim Shafer needs to be put up there... he's made some of the best games there is like Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion and Psychonauts...

Reetesh
Reetesh

WOW honouring the Game Industry People Is such a Good thing :D

telesyn
telesyn

What about John Romero co-creator of doom? but yes hojo your totally wrong. These guys rule

ZippyDSMLee
ZippyDSMLee

Half of them need to retire and the other half need brains......

Khraven
Khraven

heh heh you know most of you only looked at this because it said "Lara".

Wulfei
Wulfei

I'm glad for everyone who won, but I wish I knew about it, I would've gone to the event T.T Oh well, I'll go check out the new stars next week. :)

Solarsonic7
Solarsonic7

"Great! Now when do we get our Video Game Oscars show sans the bad political spews?" And have Jon Stewart host it!

jasond1983
jasond1983

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jasond1983
jasond1983

John Carmack is one of the great creative developers of games. He single handily created a new genre, FPS. Weather some like or dislike the direction or lack thereof he took with Doom 3, John has been a leader of innovation in the gaming industry and to overlook his achivements would be a enourmous in justice. With more great developers like John more great games would be hitting the shelves!!!!

WeeWeeJumbo
WeeWeeJumbo

Lara Croft, what a joke. All the Tomb Raider games were awful, and the character itself is just another pathetic teenage fantasy. Terrible decision, folks.

revelations
revelations

Wow just lara croft, I wonder who they will put next year.

DalQuin
DalQuin

Carmack deserves it. He invented 3D first person shooters, practically forced 3D acceleration on the industry, created online first person shooters, and wrote the marvelous DOOM3 engine. I'd say he's the greatest pprogrammer EVER.

darth-revan
darth-revan

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

darth-revan
darth-revan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

buildar
buildar

The gaming industry would be very different without Sid Meier and John Carmack. I've played their games since they started making them and can say its amazing that they're stilla round making high quality games. It really shows that some of the legends of gaming are still going strong.

Sonicgod
Sonicgod

Lara a character with one decent game to date! I don't think she got in there for her great wonderful games. I voted for Samus that is a true Video game chick. very sad a character with a track record of every game she was in went above and beyond the call to be drop dead good.

deepdreamer256
deepdreamer256

John Carmack was truly the brightest star there, an inspirational designer.

Jimbones0
Jimbones0

Congrats on all the guys that got it, but I'd rather see Samus getting this honor more than Lara Croft.

madcapper248
madcapper248

Long live Ralph Baer! He's responsible for bringing videogames into the household.

Searing_Blade
Searing_Blade

Sid Meier and John Carmack. They deserve it more than almost anyone else.

Dugray
Dugray

Well deserved honors. Congrats.

DirkVDV01
DirkVDV01

It's a good thing to see the key designers get awarded for what they did for the entire industry. Those who got awarded did more then what such a price could ever repay, but it's nice to see that it goes further then just getting a pat on the back from your boss just because you designed the best selling game of the year or a nes programming concept that makes game design easier or graphics display better. I just hope this wasn't a sort of forced award. You start to see more and more of these events for all sorts of activities which didn't get much appreciation before. Because it's new, it sometimes looks and feels more like it is an event that "they should do" just for the sake of it, instead of organising such an event because they have a real honest intention to show their appreciation. Luckily, you can distinguish the forced shows from the real ones quite fast. Don't forget that most people don't want these award because of the concept of 'flow": they just like what they are doing, don't look back at what they did and generally don't expect to get rewarded much from external sources either. They get instant rewards while doing what they love to do, which is a key element in the concept of flow. Now, gotta run of and play some Doom1 ;)

wokisan
wokisan

Congrats to all. I'm especially happy for Meier and Carmack. I'll look forward to voting again this upcoming fall/winter.

1oak
1oak

Hey, other person...Nolan Bushnell was inducted last year, too! But I agree, RALPH BAER SHOULD HAVE BEEN INDUCTED LAST YEAR!!!

MrS
MrS

Well Done

wills_b
wills_b

amen to tim schafer. and everquest can suck my balls, only in there through rigged voting. does anyone else think its a bit weird that its all people, characters and games? perhaps just one of the three, or just characters and games? seems a little odd that is all...

caybeirwouleyfe
caybeirwouleyfe

I think they should also inducte snake, Hideo Kojima,and the hole metal gear franshise. It truly changed the way we think about and play games. And since there inducting women they should inducte samus

War_On_Errorism
War_On_Errorism

Its nice to see starcraft still getting praises.... but Adam Sessler as the host?!?!?!?!

azizrulez
azizrulez

these guys truly deserve all the fame

GaaraZanta
GaaraZanta

hojobojo, yeah you really don't know what you are talking about. But yes I hope Nobuo Uematsu gets nominated, such a great composer and without him Final Fantasy would be a much different series.