Jim Henson projects carried with them a distinctive spark of creativity, and each year the company that bears the Muppet creator's name honors the people and products that reflect that spark. This year, for the first time since the awards began in 2005, the Jim Henson Company has found honorees from the world of games.
The most prestigious of this year's awards, the Jim Henson Celebration Honor, has been bestowed upon Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Recognized by The Jim Henson Company as a person who "makes the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life," the Nintendo developer was honored not only for his stable of cherished creations such as Zelda and Donkey Kong, but also for his role in using games to promote greater health and well-being with the successful Wii Fit.
Another gaming entity, Electronic Arts' sprawling PC life sim Spore, received the Jim Henson Technology Honor. Tapped as a product that "demonstrates groundbreaking technology in a creative way," Spore lets gamers create their own species and follow them from their origins in the primordial soup through the advent of civilization and even into intergalactic travel.
This year's other recipients included "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" artist Shepard Fairey and the nonprofit Center for Puppetry Arts Distance Learning Center. Previous honorees have included Al Gore, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Hayao Miyazaki, Wynton Marsalis, the Toyota Prius, The Gorillaz, and Google Earth.