Is A Developer Hall Of Fame a good idea?

  • Personally I would say not. I've never really liked the idea of this in any form so that does colour my perception somewhat. I always find it reflects more popular stances and certain cultural ideas whilst locking out other things.

    Also, I'd say gamers are more active in their medium than perhaps all others. Since the start, gamers have had to hold onto their medium when society as a whole didn't think it was worth much. And I think it's great if it's more of a team effort the world over rather than having a centralised place. I worked in a computer museum in Cambridge in the UK, so there were was obviously a section for UK games and developers. But the Computerspiele Museum in Berlin has it's own take on things due to what was popular there, but also things like computers from East Germany during the period of the Berlin Wall.

    If there was a developer Hall of Fame though, I think it'd be good to have slots for particular countries. Often things come from a Japanese or American slant and it's often doesn't reveal the whole picture. I remember when the Allies were discussing the Gaming Hall of Fame nominees and didn't know about Elite. It's not their fault as it was from a UK based developer, but that game was miles ahead in terms of open world gaming and other aspects. And then there are probably developers that we're all not aware of that deserve some of the spotlight too. So I'd probably prefer that the game and computer museums just get bigger.

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but it's the way I see it!

  • @Churchy We get our own (first) game museum in Finland in two months. Yey!

    Really great that there'll be an actual place now that preserves old games and all the hardware.

  • @Sentinel-Beach That sounds awesome. Thanks for the link! It's the type of place I'd travel to visit. Like in the UK, there were huge groups of people who were bedroom coders across the globe. It'd be good to learn more about Finnish developers as the only ones I really know are Remedy, Frozenbyte and RedLynx - I should know more!

  • @Churchy I'm definitely in the same camp as you. Just in general, I've felt that similar efforts to "legitimize" gaming have actually had the opposite effect. If you're so visibly trying to be something, then you only draw attention to the fact that you're something else. I personally do believe games and developers are treated terribly, and it maddens me to no end how so few people view games as an art form. Yet continuous efforts to be recognized as art, often from the gaming community itself, do nothing to sway popular opinion. I think what you have to have faith that over time, more people will come around. You have to remember that this is still an incredibly young medium. Television only reached its new form of legitimacy a few years ago, and it's taken ages for people to start to recognize graphic novels/comics as a viable art form. Even within the broader classification of comics, you have things like webcomics and manga that are often neglected in the larger conversations.

    I don't think a Developer Hall of Fame would do much, other than perhaps to highlight further people that are already respected in the industry. As Churchy mentioned, the global nature of the development landscape would make selection quite difficult. Annual "selections" would, in my opinion, add unnecessary pomp and circumstance to the proceedings, and I've already discussed the potential harm that can come from that above.

    I do think that developers deserve greater recognition, though, and I think a lot of that could actually come in two ways. The first is more systemic: games media should cover games not just from the standpoint of the product, but also the work that goes into the product. Great behind-the-scenes features for games is few and far between, especially compared to film and television. Highlighting the developers throughout the marketing process would go a large way towards giving them the respect they deserve. The other big thing I think games should do, though, is change the way in which they present their credits. I know very few people that actually read the credits when they finish a game, but everyone I know can list off a few prominent movie directors and television creators off the top of their head. I think that's largely because in both film and television, the main creative directors are always given a big credit right at the end. Why can't games do the same? I'm sure some do (I think Naughty Dog games do but I'm not sure), but I definitely have much more trouble listing off game developers than I do film directors, and I think a lot of that comes down to the fact that I just don't see their names as much as I should.

    Anyway, that was a long rant. TL;DR: I don't think we need a Hall of Fame, but I do think we should recognize developers more.

  • @naltmank Hey it's a fair point. I don't wish to demean the OP or anything, but it's the way I see it too.

    I think you're right though. Why do games need to try and legitimise themselves in the same way as other mediums? They're a new medium so they should find their own distinct identity. It's the same as e-sports, gaming has the chance to establish its leagues in the way it wants. It can do things differently and that's okay.

    And you're right. With hall of fames, it's the usual suspects. Occasionally you might get people like Ralph Baer in there, but then there are so many other people who've contributed huge things. And everything in these kinds of institutions is whittled down and not in deep focus. At museums and the like you can get a greater sense of wealth on these things.

    On the issue of behind the scenes developers, I actually work as a freelancer who writes those types of features for gaming magazines and websites. I recently did a feature on Spyro the Dragon, and it was interesting just knowing what went into that game and the complex processes they went through on what many would see as a simple platforming game. And I learned about the contributions of people who I hadn't heard of before like Kirsten van Schreven, who designed the themes for the worlds and made them more interesting outside the usual fireworld, iceworld etc. But then with the famous people who were attached like Stewart Copeland (who wrote the score), he told me that it was pretty much all samples and digital aspects he used.

    To be honest, I think museums are the best way to go. And depending on the location, it means each country or area can tell its own story with the medium. And who knows, it might be nice to one day have some partnerships, so there are resources where you can look up things from all different countries and see the medium of gaming on a global scale.

  • How long until You see games that are like movies having the actors or certain designers plastered on the top of the case

  • @FF7Cloud Sid Meier has a pretty long track record of that, and there are a number of other directors/designers that have a pretty heavy auteurist identity.

    The thing is, not a lot of games have notable actors in them, and if they do, they aren't playing someone in their own image. Beyond Two Souls had Page and Dafoe's names on the cover, because their recognizability was part of the selling point---which is usually the case when it comes to movies.

    But I agree that a good case/cover/poster should be solely about the work itself, and not who has worked on it.

  • Ok, so I don't know if I went too far, but these are the names I came up with:

    John Carmack
    John Romero
    Tod Howard
    Ken Levine
    Warren Spector
    Cliffy B
    Andy Gavin
    Jason Rubin
    Ted Price
    Fumitu Ueda
    Roberta Williams
    Ken Williams
    Kazanori Yamauchi
    Johnathan Blow
    Eiji Aonuma
    Amy Hennig
    Mark Cerny
    Ed Boon
    Koji Igarashi
    David Jaffe
    Lorne Lanning
    Tim Schafer

  • @Alex840 That is a kick-ass list.

  • @FF7Cloud I would low key love that. Obviously not on the front, but if they did it like they do on movie posters, with a shitton of the bigger/most important people listed on the back in tiny font, I actually think that could go a long way towards giving the people who worked on the game the respect they deserved. Back when I was just starting to learn which movie directors/writers I liked, I used to go browsing in best buy just staring at the backs of DVD cases, looking at who was involved in what movies. I could just be a weirdo, but it really did make a difference for me.