Jordan Mechner created Karateka as a student at Yale in 1984. The bestselling game was further refined into a title that became a landmark franchise beginning in 1986, Prince of Persia. It started a career that has carried through to today, and will earn Mechner the Pioneer Award at this year's Game Developer's Choice Awards at GDC on March 1.
Mechner also created The Last Express in 1997, an adventure game that was incredibly ambitious for its time as well as an artisitc achievement. He later wrote The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time for Ubisoft, then was instrumental in getting it onto the big screen as a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal. he has written several books and is currently working on an announced project.
Also being honored is Mark DeLoura, who started his career in the 1990s resarching VR, and now is a leader in video game education. He was the Senior Advisor for Digital Media in the Obama administration. His lifetime of work has earned him the Ambassador Award from GDC.
DeLoura has been editor of Game Developer magazine, VP of Technology at THQ, and Manager of Developer Relations at Sony. he also worked at Google for a time as a game developer advocate. But by 2013, his experience was recognized in his appointemtn to the Offic of Science and Techology Policy staff, where he worked to educate people on "how video games and media can be applied to improve education and engagement around civics, healthcare, education and citizen science." he also brought the first Game jam to the White House.
GDC 2017 will be held February 27 - March 3 in San Francisco.