Officials from the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) have announced that that association will give special recognition to three different industry contributors during the 5th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards this March.
Dr Richard Bartle, co-creator of the world’s first multi-user dungeon (MUD), will be given the First Penguin award; Sheri Graner Ray, an advocate of women’s interests in game development, will be given the Community Contribution award; and Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj of interactive media artists’ group Blast Theory will receive the Maverick award.
The new First Penguin award has been created to celebrate the “courage and bravery” of developers who are first to test new gaming concepts in the face of uncertainty of success or failure. UK-based Bartle seems a particularly apt recipient given the long and bizarre history of the MUD, some of which is summarized at Bartle’s own website
Sheri Graner Ray is a leading expert on the topic of gender equality in the games industry and has dedicated herself to propagating women's issues in the game industry. She was recognized by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Women in the Computer Game Industry.
Finally, the founders of Blast Theory lead a team of UK based interactive media artists, creating interactive and socially engaging cultural performances, and particularly noted for real-world 'interactive espionage game Uncle Roy All Around You
. According to the group, its work "confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules. They use video computers, performance, installation, mobile and online technologies to ask questions about the ideologies presented in the information that envelops us."