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For the third consecutive year, Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards will feature a segment dedicated to important “industry icons” who revolutionized gaming in one form or another. In 2014 the award went to Ken and Roberta Williams for their remarkable achievements in developing highly influential point-and-click adventure games such as King’s Quest and Space Quest. Last year, Brett Sperry and Louis Castle of Westwood Games (Command and Conquer) were honored for their role in developing the real-time strategy genre.
While they were on stage, one Hideo Kojima was being instructed by Konami’s lawyers not to attend. Keighley did the right thing announcing this on live TV, provoking a chorus of boos from the crowd directed at Konami. One year later, almost as if to make up for last year, Hideo Kojima will stand tall and proud on the stage of the Game Awards as this years “Industry Icon” recipient. Make no mistake: he is every bit deserving.
After working on some penguin games, Kojima was put in charge of a new game you might have heard of called Metal Gear. Inspired by The Great Escape, he decided to change the gameplay to focus on escaping as opposed to open combat like, say, Contra. This and his expansion of these evasive techniques in the sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, were some of the earliest concepts that would come to be the stealth genre we know today. He will certainly be commended for his contributions in the birth of the stealth genre, but he will also likely be complimented for bringing narrative to games in a big way.
Aside from the story-heavy Metal Gear series which has had some amazing moments such as post-defeat boss monologues in Metal Gear Solid and the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3, he also developed Policenauts and Snatcher. These were not only well received games and stories in their own right, but being some of the earliest visual novels to be localized helped bring the concept to the west.
Kojima seems almost like too easy a choice for this award, but if this is going to be a yearly celebration then it’s definitely worth giving him the credit he deserves. Another obvious choice, perhaps for next year, is Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo. Beyond that, it would be good to go further back in time and showcase some of the fathers of video games, such as Nolan Bushnell, who co-founded Atari.
He finally gets his trophy! [Geoff Keighley on Twitter]