Game Developers Choice Awards to Honor Founders of PopCap Games, Game Music Pioneer Masaya Matsuura, BioWare CEOs
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 24, 2004 - The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is honoring six gaming professionals whose contributions have been invaluable to the evolution of interactive entertainment at the 4th annual Game Developers Choice Awards.
The 4th annual Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 , during the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the leading professional development event for the interactive entertainment industry, in San Jose , Calif.
The founders of PopCap Games will receive the IGDA's newest honor, the Maverick Award; game music pioneer Masaya Matsuura will receive the First Penguin Award; and BioWare CEOs Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will be acknowledged for Community Contribution.
New this year, the Maverick Award recognizes the achievements of a developer
who exhibits independence in thought and action while experimenting with
emerging forms of digital games. The first recipients will be the three founders
of PopCap Games, Brian Fiete (engineer), Jason Kapalka (game designer) and
John Vechey (business development). Together, the pioneers successfully launched
casual online games into the mainstream marketplace in 2000, ignoring the
conventional wisdom that "success is on the consoles." Further,
CNNMoney deemed PopCap's risky move toward downloadable deluxe versions of
online titles as the "second coming of shareware."
"Having ventured into the online space during the ill-fated Internet
bust, the founders of PopCap Games have demonstrated true maverick qualities," said
Jason Della Rocca, Program Director, IGDA. "While entrepreneurs' dreams
were being crushed, they persevered and carved out a niche in online gaming,
which has now become a mainstream pastime."
PopCap's games can be found on numerous platforms from the Web to PCs to
Macs, to PDAs and cell phones, even in mid-flight airline entertainment.
Earlier this month, Bookworm won Computer Gaming World's Puzzle
Game of the Year. The company's flagship game, Bejeweled, was the
previous Puzzle Game of the Year and Commercial Game of the Year for Palm
Platforms by Handheld Computing.
First Penguin Award
Acknowledging developers who have taken risks to break new ground, the First
Penguin Award will go to music genius Masaya Matsuura for his trailblazing
work with beat-rhythm and music games. Matsuura was instrumental in the release
of Parappa the Rapper in Japan , one of the first break-through
music games. Parappa the Rapper won the 1996 CECA Award, the Japan
Software Award and was named Japan Game of the Year 1997 by the readers of
18 domestic game magazines. Matsuura's innovative approach is further reflected
in later games such as Vib-Ribbon and mojibribbon.
"I am honored to be recognized for breaking the ice in bringing music
to the gaming world," said Matsuura. "I feel proud that my passion
for blending rhythm and images has made an impact on an industry. The exciting
thing is that games have so much growth potential."
Matsuura started his career in computer entertainment in the early 1980's.
While playing with Apple II computer software Kaleidoscope, he was mesmerized
with the images but felt it was missing the music. Matsuura went on to form
a band called PSY'S, which pushed the frontiers of computer music.
IGDA Award for Community Contribution
The IGDA Award for Community Contribution is presented to a developer who
has made significant efforts in building community and advancing the art
form of interactive entertainment. This year's award will be given to BioWare's
joint CEOs, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, whose contributions have been felt
both within and outside the gaming industry.
Muzyka and Zeschuk serve on a number of boards and committees year after
year -- Muzyka acting as founding co-chair on the IGDA Business Committee,
and Zeschuk acting as an IGDA board member -- exchanging ideas and knowledge
with other gaming veterans as well as those new to the space. The two CEOs
also make the time to speak regularly at GDC and other industry events.
Demonstrating their community spirit outside of the computer and video game
world, the pair also show their philanthropic support in the areas of advanced
education and children's health and welfare. BioWare regularly contributes
to local children's health charities such as the Stollery Children's Hospital
Foundation, and the company has also established the BioWare Kids Fund, dedicated
to raising money to aid children's mental health efforts in the Edmonton,
Alberta area. BioWare has also partnered with the University of Alberta on
a number of advanced education programs.
BioWare has been recognized as one of Canada 's top 100 employers, reflecting
Muzyka and Zeschuk's commitment to creating a quality company that can deliver
award-winning games. Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights,
and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic are among BioWare's successes,
and the company is currently developing Jade Empire, an action-RPG
to be published by Microsoft on the Xbox video game system.
"We can only hope to find more gems like Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk," said
Della Rocca. "As these inspiring CEOs strive to improve our industry,
they will undoubtedly impact and foster more influential leaders."
The 4th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards are sponsored by NVIDIA.
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 www.igda.org or e-mail [email protected].
About the CMP Game Group
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