The 6th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards has announced the winners of its special awards, including First Penguin, Community Contribution, and Maverick. The ceremony, which is produced and hosted by the Game Developers Conference (like Gamasutra.com, a product of the CMP Game Group) and presented by the International Game Developers Association, will take place on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.
The First Penguin award acknowledges developers who dive head first into unknown territory and pave the way for the rest of the development community. This year's award will go to Will Crowther and Don Woods, who are credited with pioneering the videogame genre of Role Playing Games (RPGs). In 1976, the two pioneers created the text-interactive fiction game Adventure
. Crowther initially developed the game for his children, but it soon spread to friends, colleagues and even made it onto a computer at Stanford University. Woods was a Stanford PhD student when he expanded the game's reach by opening it up to other players through the early stages of the Internet.
In addition, Chris Hecker, technology researcher for Maxis/Electronic Arts, will receive the Community Contribution award for his research and involvement with technical innovation. Hecker has spent most of his time in the past years formulating solutions to game design and technical problems that raise questions about gameplay, visual arts and engineering. In addition to his research work, Hecker helps organize the annual Indie Game Jam and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop. Both special events test developers' skills in design and explore interactivity within the context of treating games as an art form.
Finally, the founders and executives of the independent developer Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. will receive the Maverick award for their groundbreaking work. The company has developed a number of successful music-based games, including The Axe, Frequency
, and Amplitude
. The company's most recent title, Guitar Hero
, features a guitar-like controller, allowing gamers to play rock anthems they grew up with and still love. The game topped most of 2005's best games lists and received numerous accolades, including Official PlayStation Magazine's description "ridiculously awesome."
These special awards will be handed out at the 6th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, which takes place during the GDC. The Awards will also hand out honors for Best Game, New Studio, Audio, Character Design, Game Design, Technology, Visual Arts, Writing, and Lifetime Achievement.