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Obituary: Joel Hochberg, ex-Rare president, has passed away

Hochberg was the president of Rare's Florida studio in 1986, and was responsible for the developer's business operations prior to its acquisition by Microsoft.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 20, 2023

1 Min Read
Photograph of business man and former Rare president Joel Hochberg.

Joel Hochberg, a former president of Banjo-Kazooie developer Rare Ltd., has passed away at the age of 87. Per the Miami Herald, he passed away earlier in the week on April 18. Tim Stamper, a co-founder of the studio, confirmed the news on Twitter. 

"Joel changed the course of history," wrote Stamper. "He bought us our first Nintendo Famicom system on one of his many trips to Japan."

Born December 30, 1935, Hochberg was brought on by Stamper and his brother Chris in 1986 to head up Rare's US studio in Miami, Florida. The Miami office would come to be known as Rare Coin-It and release four coin-operated games, including Vs. Slalom and RC Pro-Am Racing

While president, Hochberg was responsible for Rare's business affairs as the Stamper brothers designed the studio's games. He's included in the "Special Thanks" section of several Rare games such as Perfect Dark, GoldenEye 007, and Killer Instinct 2 

Prior to Rare, he'd operated as VP for the arcade manufacturer Centuri from 1976-1982. 

The Miami Herald notes that outside of video games, Hochberg was a proponent of education. He'd go on to found the Hochberg Lower and Middle Schools in Florida. He's survived by his wife Marcia, their grandchildren, and his children Eileen and Scott. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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