Video games and big screen blockbusters represent a huge slice of the entertainment market today – so who’s behind the smoke and mirrors that keep us enthralled?

ROMAN KROITOR

IMAX & The Force co-founder

Kroitor was special for a few reasons. He was a Canadian filmmaker, celebrated for being a pioneer exponent of cinéma verite and co-founder of IMAX. He also created the Sandde hand-drawn stereoscopic animation system and also inspired the “Force” that was central to in the Star Wars series. IMAX stands for IMage MAXimum, a cinema projection standard Kroitor co-developed with Graeme Ferguson, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw. Since 2002, some feature films have been upgraded to IMAX and even partially shot in the format for display in IMAX theatres because IMAX can produce images that are much larger than conventional systems and display them at much higher resolution. Still going strong today, as is the Force. He died in 2012 at the age of 85.

 

ERNEST ADAMS

Interactive Storyteller

The authority on gaming,  Adams is a game designer, game author, the founder of the International Game Developers Association, and a regular lecturer at the Game Developers Conference, with a Ph.D. (School of Computing and Mathematics, Teesside University) for his work on interactive storytelling. He gave his first lecture, titled the Challenge of the Interactive Movie, to the conference in 1995 after joining Electronic Arts as a software engineer in 1992. Adams was also a contributor to the Gamasutra game developers’ webzine, with a regular column called the Designer’s Notebook.  He is also a frequent speaker at Animex Festival and a member of the International Hobo game design and narrative consultancy. Let’s just call this man the Doctor.

 

DAVID JONES

GTA made me do it

Jones is a bit of a gaming rock star with both major game series Lemmings and the highly acclaimed, albeit controversial, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), attributed to him. He founded DMA Design in 1988 (now known as Rockstar North as of 2002) and Realtime Worlds in 2002. GTA spawned many successful sequels. Most recently Jones created the original franchise Crackdown for the Xbox 360 console and the open-ended massively multiplayer online game, APB: All Points Bulletin. With many awards to his credit, including winning the European Game of the Year twice, in 2004 he was keynote speaker for the World Cyber Games where he proclaimed that mainstream multiplatform gaming would be the next big thing. Practising what he preached, in 2012 he and Stieg Hedlund working as part of San Francisco-based development team nWay began developing ChronoBlade, a Facebook action-RPG game.

 

GEORGE A. CARTER III

Laser Master

The Star Wars franchise has much to answer for, like devising all those props that spurred a generation of innovators to actually create all the cool make-believe stuff for real. In 1982, George Carter III began designing laser skirmish/laser tag, after watching one of the films. In 1984 in a little place called Dallas, Texas on March 28, the first ever Photon opened. In the late 1970s, the US defence agencies jumped on board and deployed MILES system functions like laser tag which are now used by various armed forces around the world. Today there are laser tag arenas all over the world operating beneath an array of names and brands – not to mention the arsenals of consumer gear available for home play and professional outdoor laser tag and skirmish pursuits. In 2005 the International Laser Tag Association honoured him with an award that recognised him as “the inventor and founder” of the industry.

 

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