The 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has revealed its first two Special Award winners for this year - honoring Veteran Brenda Romero With Ambassador Award, Elite Co-Creator David Braben With Pioneer Award
The Ambassador Award, honoring someone who is helping video games "advance to a better place" through advocacy or action, is going to game designer and academic Brenda Romero, who has been a key figure in video games throughout more than 3 decades of standout game design, teaching, and advocacy. The Pioneer Award, honoring breakthrough tech and game design milestones, is being awarded to David Braben, the co-creator of seminal 3D space exploration title Elite - now in resurgence with Elite: Dangerous - and co-founder of the Foundation for the popular 'hobbyist computer revival' Raspberry Pi device.
Pioneer Award winner David Braben co-developed the seminal 'open world' 3D space trading game Elite with Ian Bell while at university in the early 1980s. The best-selling, startlingly expansive title had revolutionary 3D graphics and let the player make all kinds of intriguing moral decisions as they flew the known universe. Elite saw a number of sequels, including the crowdfunded, currently much buzzed-about Elite: Dangerous, and went on to be a big influence on games in the genre it helped create - from Wing Commander to No Man's Sky and beyond.
In addition to his work on Elite and his more than 30 years as a game developer - latterly at his major UK studio Frontier Developments - Braben was also involved in the genesis of the Raspberry Pi, a 'hobbyist computer' which enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to program in languages like Scratch and Python. Braben helped to found the Raspberry Pi Foundation and guide the program through to mass production - with more than 4 million of the devices now manufactured.
Elite: Dangerous also picked up the Audience Award for Best Game.