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Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Honors Ed Logg as the 2012 Pioneer Award Recipient

November 17, 2011

Asteroids Co-Developer Tapped for Accomplishments in Game Design and Programming In the Arcade Era

CALABASAS, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) has unveiled its 2012 AIAS Pioneer Award recipient, Ed Logg. As an innovator, game designer and programmer, Ed’s work contributed to the creation of some of the most iconic entertainment properties – including Asteroids, Centipede, and Gauntlet – arcade games that continue to shape the way that modern games are designed today.

The Pioneer Awards is reserved for individuals whose career-spanning work has helped shape and define the interactive entertainment industry with the creation of a technological approach or the birth of a new genre. The 2012 Pioneer Award will be presented by Mark Cerny, president, Cerny Games, at the 15th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards on Thursday, February 9, 2012, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. The Awards will be hosted by actor, comedian and game enthusiast, Jay Mohr.

“Ed’s body of work is brilliant and game-changing,” said Martin Rae, president, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. “His games defined an era, spurred new genres, and influenced new technology that is still utilized today and has inspired generation after generation of game designers with his vision. Without Ed, many of the games that we have today would never have existed.”

Dedicating long hours of programming at Stanford University’s AI Lab, Logg soon realized he could turn his hobby and passion into a career. Joining Atari’s arcade division, Logg was instrumental in the development of a string of wildly successful games – Super Breakout in 1978, Asteroids in 1979, Centipede in 1980, and Millipede in 1982. Further inspired by his son’s love of Dungeons and Dragons, Logg developed a fantasy dungeon-crawler Gauntlet for Atari Games in 1985. There was initial resistance to the cooperative multiplayer aspect, but this format later evolved to became an arcade staple. It was this intuition that helped Logg produce a further string of coin-op successes for Atari Games from the mid-to-late eighties.

“I’d just play the game over and over and over in my head,” shared Logg. “I play a lot of the games in my mind long before I ever write them because you have to get all the interactions down pat before you can start programming. I know what it’s going to look like before I even get there.”

After an eighteen-month stint at Electronic Arts spanning 1993 and 1994, Logg came back to Atari Games where he focused on making consumer games, initially porting coin-op title Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey for the Nintendo 64. Today, Logg continues to program games, currently making elegant games for set-top boxes.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Logg. “It feels a little strange receiving this Pioneer Award. Just think about it, they were paying me to have fun creating games at a time when the industry was just getting started and every game was something new.”

“Ed Logg is a true industry pioneer with that rare mix of a programmer’s sharp, analytical mind combined with a strong sense of what is truly fun to play,” said Bill Hindorff, an executive in charge of production at Atari Games with Logg, currently development director, Pipeworks Software. His games are always founded on the basic tenet of ‘make it quick to learn, much longer to master’ that keep you playing just one more time. Congratulations Ed, well deserved!”

“What I learned from Ed was that creating the fun of a game did not require complex algorithms as much as it required the right approach,” said Mark Cerny, friend and colleague of Logg’s at Atari Games. “Which is to say that it wasn’t virtuoso coding that made Ed’s games a success, as much as it was putting all the proper features in the game in the correct order. Of course, you needed an amazing intuition as to which were the ‘proper’ features, that was the difficulty in replicating Ed’s strategy!”

The Pioneer Award’s first inductee was David Crane, co-founder of Activision and creator of games such as Pitfall and A Boy and his Blob; the second inductee was Bill Budge, creator of Raster Blaster and Pinball Construction Set.

SOURCE Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences

Source: PR Newswire