In my second profile of a conference speaker at FuturePlay 2008 I am going to shine the spotlight on Don Daglow.
Man, where to begin.... Don has been designing games since 1971. Yes, that is not a typo, 1971. He designed the first graphical MMORPG (Neverwinter Nights), he designed the first computer baseball game, he designed what is, to me, the best baseball game ever (Earl Weaver Baseball). What about Utopia for the Intellivision? Yeah, that was him too. This was the first sim game, or god game if you will.
He is also the founder of a little outfit called Stormfront Studios.
Awards? Oh he has awards.. How about an Emmy and an award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (oh he is the only guy to have those two).
I could go on, and on... but I want to mention personally how huge this is for a gamer like myself. I have played four entire Major League baseball seasons (playing every single game myself) using Earl Weaver Baseball. I got interested in baseball stats and the history of the game through the statistical modeling used in Earl Weaver Baseball. I found out about Cool Papa Bell, and Amos "the Hoosier Thunderball" Rusie and Josh Gibson and Honus Wagner because of a great video game. When I was younger I had a copy of Utopia for the Intellivision. While playing that game with my buddy Brent in high school I learned that the military is not the only way to gain power and be prosperous (like it was in most games, and often still is). Running an economy and keeping people happy was NOT just about getting more land in this game. It was about providing service. Oh, I learned that in a video game, imagine that. Adventure Construction Set taught me directly about design. It introduced me to the idea of modding, and to the idea of story in a game. ACS came out in the mid 80s, who was modding in the mid 80s? Well, those of use with ACS were, and we have Don Daglow to thank.
I can't wait for his keynote. I might bring my old Earl Weaver disks and get him to autograph them...