GDC awards honor Missile Command creator, EMA lawyers

By Steve Watts, Jan 25, 2012 8:30am PST

The 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards has announced the recipients of two special awards. The Pioneer Award, granted to those who innovate, will be given to Dave Theurer, creator of games like Missile Command, Tempest, and I, Robot. The Ambassador Award, given for improving the state of the industry, will honor Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the First Amendment lawyers in the recent Supreme Court case.

Theurer's accomplishments include creating one of the earliest titles to use a 3D perspective, the first game with filled 3D polygon graphics, and the first game to feature camera control options.

"It's very difficult to find a game developer who doesn't have a single memory of Missile Commander or his other classic, Tempest," said GDC general manager Meggan Scavio, in the announcement. "We're delighted to honor Dave Theurer for his work as a designer which resulted in shaping so many developers' creative drive in the genre."

Meanwhile, Doroshow and Smith led the legal team in Brown vs. EMA, the Supreme Court battle that ultimately affirmed the free speech rights of video games as a medium. Doroshow serves as the General Counsel for the Entertainment Software Association, and Smith was brought on from the firm Jenner & Block LLC as lead external lawyer. He brought almost three decades of Supreme Court experience to the proceedings, including oral arguments in 14 cases before the court.

"The dedication that both Doroshow and Smith brought to the Brown v. EMA case will forever make them heroes to anyone who understands the value of this industry," said Scavio. "With their legal teams, these two lawyers advanced the games industry in such a way that developers' livelihoods and intellectual properties are protected."

All three of the honorees will be given their awards as part of the Game Developers Choice Awards at this year's Game Developers Conference. It will be held on March 7 at 6:30 PM, at the San Francisco Moscone Center.

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