GDC Awards honor Missile Command creator, violent game law ousters

Dave Theurer being given 2012 Pioneer Award for work on Atari arcade games; Brown v. EMA lawyers presented with Ambassador Award for this summer's Supreme Court victory.

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The 2012 Game Developers Choice Awards don't kick off until March, but the event's organizers have started doling out its accolades, today announcing its Pioneer and Ambassador award honorees.

Missile Command was important not only for Atari, but also the industry at large.
Missile Command was important not only for Atari, but also the industry at large.

GDCA event organizers today said Dave Theurer will receive its 2012 Pioneer Award, presented each year to a person who "creates breakthrough video game genres or concepts." Theurer is most famous for creating Atari arcade games Missile Command, Tempest, and I, Robot.

"It's very difficult to find a game developer who doesn't have a single memory of Missile Command or his other classic, Tempest," said Game Developers Conference general manager Meggan Scavio. "We're delighted to honor Dave Theurer for his work as a designer, which resulted in shaping so many developers' creative drive in the genre."

As for the Ambassador award, this accolade is presented to a person or persons who "helped the game industry advance to a better place." This year's award is being given to Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the lawyers who fought on behalf of the game industry in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association Supreme Court case concerning the sale of violent video games. The case ended this summer with the court siding with the gaming industry.

Doroshow is senior vice president and general counsel of the Entertainment Software Association. Smith, the lead external lawyer in the Supreme Court case, currently works at US law firm Jenner & Block LLC. Smith has worked Supreme Court cases for nearly 30 years, delivering oral arguments in 13 Supreme Court cases.

Doroshow and Smith helped the gaming industry win its recent Supreme Court battle.
Doroshow and Smith helped the gaming industry win its recent Supreme Court battle.

"The dedication that both Doroshow and Smith brought to the Brown v. EMA case will forever make them heroes to anyone who understands the value of this industry," added Scavio of the two winners. "With their legal teams, these two lawyers advanced the games industry in such a way that developers' livelihoods and intellectual properties are protected."

The 2012 Game Developers Choice Awards will be held on March 7 beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT. Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski will present the awards at this year's show, to be held at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Those who can't make it to the awards show in person can see a live stream of the event at GameSpot.com. For the full list of 2012 GDCA nominated games, see GameSpot's preview coverage.

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