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Game Developers Choice Awards Honor Lifetime Achievement And Ground-Breaking Work In the Game Development Industry

SAN JOSE, CA - March 21, 2001 - The Gama Network (formerly the CMP Game Media Group) and the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) today announced the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the First Penguin Award, which will be presented in a ceremony on Friday, March 23, during the Game Developers Choice Awards in San Jose, Calif. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, presented this year to The Sims creator Will Wright, recognizes a career in game development that has made an indelible impact on the interactive entertainment industry. The First Penguin Award, named by designer Noah Falstein after the behavior of penguins, who push each other into an ice hole to test whether the water below is safe, honors a developer whose work has served as a lesson and an inspiration to the rest of the community. This year's First Penguin Award goes to Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer for their work on Habitat/Club Caribe, an online virtual world, back in 1985.

The contributions that Will Wright, Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer have made to the game development community are invaluable," said Jason Della Rocca, program director, IGDA. "Will's work on sim/god style games has served as a model of success for that entire genre. Similarly, Chip and Randy's work on Habitat acted as the precursor to today's widely popular massively multiplayer online games. These visionaries have shown us what game development can be, and we are honored to present them with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the First Penguin Award.

Will Wright is most well known for his role in developing SimCity - The City Simulator. As Maxis' chief designer and co-founder, he began working on SimCity in 1985 using a complex technique to bring realistic simulations to desktop PCs. SimCity was released in 1989 and has since won 24 domestic and international awards. Wright has also co-developed many other simulation games including SimEarth - The Living Planet (1990), SimAnt - The Electronic Ant Colony (1991), SimCity 2000 and SimCopter. His most recent creation, The Sims, has sold over three million copies worldwide and has become a genuine cultural phenomenon.

Determined by a select developer committee, the First Penguin Award was given to Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer. Morningstar and Farmer jumped right into the uncharted ocean of building online communities and communication networks in 1985 - when many others hadn't even dreamed of the idea. Morningstar, a cyberspace-design and development consultant, was one of the founders of Electric Communities ( where he led the development of communications protocols and object technology. The schematics he created facilitated commercial and social interaction via computer networks. Farmer served as chief world builder, creating and managing online communities. He was developing MUDs (multi user domains), MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games), P2P (peer to peer) apps, BBSs (bulletin board systems) and avatar based chat long before those Internet categories had names or acronyms. Together, Morningstar and Former worked on the Habitat virtual world prototype (later to become Club Caribe for LucasFilm). Habitat/Club Caribe was the world's first large-scale, multi-person, graphical, avatar based online virtual world. The game was played on the pre-AOL Q-Link network at a time long before today's mainstream Internet. Morningstar and Farmer truly represent "first penguins" in the development of online communities, having paved the way for the rest of the industry.


Criterion Software and RealNetworks are proud sponsors of this year's Game Developers Choice Awards.

About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA)

The International Game Developers Association is a non-profit membership organization that advocates globally on issues related to digital game creation. The IGDA's mission is to strengthen the international game development community and effect change to benefit that community. For more information on the IGDA, please visit or e-mail [email protected].

About the CMP Game Group

A core provider of essential information and community to the professional game industry, the CMP Game Group includes the Game Developers Conference, Game Developer magazine,, the Independent Games Festival, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. For more information, please visit


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