It becomes all too easy in daily life to succumb to the distractions contained therein and often lose sight of the more important points of our existence. As you gather with family and friends to eat, drink, and perhaps play a few games, carve out a moment or two in remembrance of just a few of those across the gaming industry that have passed on. Here are some obituary excerpts:
Mark Haigh-Hutchinson(January 2008) Industry veteran Mark Haigh-Hutchinson died at the age of 43, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. A veteran of LucasArts and Retro Studios, Haigh-Hutchinson worked on franchises including Metroid Prime and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.
The British born programmer was senior engineer on Metroid Prime and worked on all three titles in the series, including the recently released Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
Haigh-Hutchinson is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Alan Kotok(June 2005) Alan Kotok, a computer pioneer who worked on the development of early Digital Equipment Corp. computers and the first video game, died last week.
Kotok, 64, worked with a group of Digital employees, and MIT students in the early 1960s as they first developed Digital’s PDP-1 minicomputer, which in turn was used to develop Spacewars, considered to be the first video game.
Although his pioneering work in Digital’s computers and in Spacewars was not considered particularly important at the time of their development, in retrospect the work eventually spawned great businesses.
Gary Gygax(March 2008) Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his Wisconsin home. He was 69.
He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.
Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.
Gunpei Yokoi(October 1997) Gunpei Yokoi, a brilliant tinkerer who designed the Game Boy and other products that helped transform Nintendo from a sleepy manufacturer of playing cards to a worldwide colossus in video games, was killed in a traffic accident in Japan Saturday, the company said.
He was a long-time Nintendo employee, creator of the Game Boy and Game and Watch, and producer of the long-running Metroid series. Yokoi’s games have been seen on every Nintendo video game console, with his earliest work appearing on arcade machines. His games have received critical praise from many reviewers, and he has been the recipient of various awards. Yokoi was married.
[Via Wikipedia, Encyclopedia.com]
After reading and remembering a bit more, no doubt resides in the fact that each of these individuals(no matter how different the approach) left the gaming industry in a better place than when they had entered into it. Cheers to them and the many others no longer with us that have and will continue to shape our most cherished hobby.