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List of gaming pioneers

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The following is a list of significant men and women known for being the pioneer, father, mother or founder of something in gaming, including video games (and the various video game genres) and board games.

Video games

Subject(s) Pioneer/Father/Mother Reason(s)
3D gaming Yu Suzuki Created pseudo-3D franchises Hang-On, Space HarrierOutRun and AfterBurner, and 3D franchises Virtua Racing, Virtua FighterDaytona, Virtua Cop and Shenmue.
Arcade golden age Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Space Invaders, the shmup franchise that launched the arcade golden age in 1978.
Arcade video game
Video game industry
Nolan Bushnell Creator of Computer Space and Pong, and founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's.
Computer game Dietrich Prinz
Christopher Strachey
Wrote a limited program of Chess for the Ferranti Mark I computer in 1951.[1]
Developed a simulation of Draughts for Pilot ACE computer in 1951 at NPL.
Handheld gaming Gunpei Yokoi


Creator of the Game Boy handheld console, released in 1989.
Japanese video game industry Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Japan's first video game, Soccer, released in 1973.[3]
Modern video game Shigeru Miyamoto


Creator of many successful Nintendo franchises, such as Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Wii
Modern video game console Gerald Lawson


Creator of Fairchild Channel F, the first console with a microprocessor and interchangeable game cartridges, released in 1976.
Video game Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr.
William Higinbotham
Inventor of first video game, the cathode ray tube amusement device, in 1947.
Developed Tennis for Two, using analog computer with vector display of oscilloscope.[6][7]
Video game console Ralph H. Baer


Inventor of the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972.


Concept(s) Pioneer/Father/Mother Reason(s)
2D scrolling
Vertical scrolling
Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Speed Race, the first video game to use scrolling, specifically vertical scrolling, in 1974.
2D sprite Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Speed Race, which introduced the use of scrolling 2D sprites in 1974.
3D anti-aliasing Yu Suzuki Introduced this graphical technique with Virtua Racing on the Sega Model 1 arcade system in 1992.
3D cover system Takashi Sano Creator of Time Crisis, first 3D shooter with cover system, released in 1995.
3D polygon graphics Katsunori Yoshimura
Dave Theurer
Creator of Plazma Line, first computer game with 3D polygons in 1984.
Creator of I, Robot, first arcade game with 3D polygons in 1984.
3D quick-time event (QTE) Makoto Uchida
Yu Suzuki
Creator of Die Hard Arcade, the first 3D game with QTE mechanic.
Creator of the Shenmue franchise, which coined the QTE term.
3D texture filtering Yu Suzuki Introduced this graphical technique with Daytona USA on the Sega Model 2 arcade system in 1993.
Active time battle (ATB) Hiroyuki Ito
Hironobu Sakagachi
Creators of ATB system for Final Fantasy IV, V'' and VI.[9]
Autostereoscopic 3D Seijiro Tomita


Patented technology for developing 3D images without the need for 3D glasses.
Bloom lighting
Depth-of-field (DOF) effect
Takashi Tokita
Hisahiko Takeuchi
Developed bloom lighting and depth-of-field effects for The Bouncer, released in 2000.
Combo Yoshihisa Kishimoto
Noritaka Funamizu
Introduced with Kunio-kun and Renegade 1987, and Double Dragon in 1987.
Introduced to versus fighters with Street Fighter II in 1991.
Cover mechanic
Destructible cover
Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Gun Fight and Space Invaders, the first games with destructible cover mechanics.
Cutscene Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Space Invaders Part II, the first game to use cutscenes, released in 1979.
Deathmatch John Romero


Creator of the Doom franchise and coined the "deathmatch" term.
Headshot Yu Suzuki
Martin Hollis
Introduced with the Virtua Cop series, debuted in 1994.
Introduced to first-person shooters with GoldenEye in 1997.
Life meter
Health regeneration
Genyo Takeda
Shigeru Miyamoto
Creators of Punch-Out, the first game to feature life meters with regenerating health.
Microprocessor use Dave Nutting
Gerald Lawson
Ported Western Gun as microprocessor-based Gun Fight in 1975.
Planned for Demolition Derby in 1975 and used for Fairchild Channel F in 1976.
Parallax scrolling Takashi Nishiyama Creator of Moon Patrol, the first side-scroller to use parallax scrolling, released in 1982.
Power-up Toru Iwatani Creator of the Pac-Man franchise.
Yu Suzuki Creator of the Hang-On, Space HarrierOutRun and After Burner franchises.
Quick-time event (QTE) Don Bluth Creator of the Dragon's Lair franchise and Space Ace.
Ray casting John Carmack Programmer of Hovertank, Catacomb 3-D, Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.
ROM cartridge Gerald Lawson Creator of Fairchild Channel F, the first console with interchangeable game cartridges, released in 1976.
Third-person cover system Hideo Kojima
Chris Esaki
Developed third-person cover with Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2.
Creator of Kill Switch and design director of Gears of War and Mass Effect.


Control(s) Pioneer/Father/Mother Reason(s)
Analog flightstick Yu Suzuki 1985 arcade shooter Space Harrier introduced true analog flight stick for movement, moving in any direction and measuring degree of push.[12]
Analog thumbstick Shigeru Miyamoto Designed modern analog thumbstick design for Nintendo 64.
D-pad Gunpei Yokoi Designed and patented for Donkey Kong Game & Watch handheld game in 1982. It later earned a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award.[13][14]
Dual analog stick controls Martin Hollis Introduced with GoldenEye 007 as an option, using two Nintendo 64 Controllers, in 1997.
Dual joystick controls Tomohiro Nishikado Introduced with Gun Fight, released for arcades in 1975.
Full-body motion-sensing Assaf Gurner The Sega Activator, based on the Light Harp invented by Assaf Gurner,[15] was the first controller with full-body motion sensing.[16]
Motion control Yu Suzuki Creator of Hang-On, which introduced the idea of physically moving to control the player character in the game.
Strafing Katsunori Yoshimura Introduced with Star Cruiser, released in 1988.


Genre(s) Pioneer/Father/Mother Reason(s)
3D fighter Yu Suzuki Creator of the Virtua Fighter franchise, debuted in 1993.
3D hack & slash Hideki Kamiya Creator of the Devil May Cry and Bayonetta franchises.
3D open world
3D adventure
Yu Suzuki Creator of the Shenmue franchise, debuted in 1999.
3D platformer Shigeru Miyamoto Creator of Super Mario 64, released in 1996, and subsequent 3D Super Mario games.
3D rail shooter
3D light-gun shooter
Yu Suzuki Creator of pseudo-3D rail shooters Space Harrier and After Burner, and 3D light-gun shooter franchise Virtua Cop.
3D survival horror Frédérick Raynal
Kenichiro Hayashi
Director of Alone in the Dark, the first 3D survival horror game.
Created Doctor Hauzer and OverBlood, the first fully 3D survival horror games.[17]
Action game
Vehicular combat
Martin Graetz
Steve Russell
Creators of Spacewar! in 1961.
Action-adventure Warren Robinett Creator of Adventure, released for the Atari 2600 in 1980.
Action role-playing game (ARPG) Yoshio Kiya Creator of Panorama Tou, the Dragon Slayer, Ys and Brandish franchises, and Popful Mail.
Adventure game
Graphic adventure
Roberta Williams


Creator of the Hi-Res Adventures and King's Quest franchises.
Beat 'em up Takashi Nishiyama
Yoshihisa Kishimoto
Creator of Kung-Fu Master, the first side-scrolling beat 'em up, released in 1984.
Creator of the Kunio-kun, Renegade and Double Dragon franchises.
Console first-person shooter (Console FPS) Martin Hollis Creator of GoldenEye and Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64.
Computer role-playing game (CRPG)
Dungeon crawl
Rusty Rutherford Creator of Pedit5, the first computer role-playing game, in Winter 1975.
Console role-playing game
(Console RPG)
Yuji Horii Creator of the Dragon Quest franchise, debuted in 1986.
Fighting game
Versus fighter
Takashi Nishiyama Creator of the Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting and King of Fighters franchises.
First-person shooter (FPS) Katsunori Yoshimura
John Romero
Creator of the Star Cruiser series.
Creator of Wolfenstein 3D, the Doom and Quake franchises, and Daikatana.
Hack & Slash Makoto Uchida Creator of the Golden Axe franchise, debuted in 1989.
Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Kou Shibusawa Creator of The Dragon & Princess, the first Japanese role-playing game, released in 1982.
Kart racer Yu Suzuki Creator of Power Drift, the first kart-based arcade racer, released in 1988.
Massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) Richard Garriott Creator of Ultima Online, coined MMORPG term, and executive producer of Lineage and Tabula Rasa.
Maze game Toru Iwatani Creator of the Pac-Man franchise.
Modern survival horror Shinji Mikami


Creator of the Resident Evil and Dino Crisis franchises, and coined the "survival horror" term.
Modern third-person shooter (TPS) Chris Esaki
Shinji Mikami
Creator of Kill Switch and design director of Gears of War and Mass Effect.
Creator of Resident Evil 4 and Vanquish.
Open world Yoshio Kiya Creator of Panorama Tou and the Dragon Slayer franchise.
Otome game
Games for girls
Kairi Yura Creator of the Angelique franchise and Neo Angelique.
PC real-time strategy (PC RTS) Brett Sperry
Joseph Bostic
Creators of Dune II, the first PC RTS game, released in 1992.
PC role-playing game (PC RPG)
Western role-playing game (WRPG)
Richard Garriott Creator of Akalabeth: World of Doom and the Ultima franchise.
Side-scrolling platformer
Shigeru Miyamoto Creator of the Donkey Kong and Mario franchises.
Platform-adventure (Metroidvania) Yoshio Kiya Developed platform-adventure format with Xanadu, followed by later Dragon Slayer games and Popful Mail.
Racing game
Arcade racer
Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of the Speed Race and Chase H.Q. franchises.
Real-time strategy (RTS)
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
Osamu Tsujikawa
Takashi Iwanaga
Creators of Herzog Zwei, the first RTS and precursor to MOBA, released in 1989.
Roguelike Michael Toy
Glenn Wichman
Creators of Rogue, the template for Roguelike games.
Role-playing shooter (RPS) Katsunori Yoshimura Creator of Wibarm and the Star Cruiser series.
Run & gun shooter Genyo Takeda
Shigeru Miyamoto
Creators of Sheriff, released in 1979.
Shoot 'em up (Shmup)
Tomohiro Nishikado Creator of Gun Fight, Interceptor, and Space Invaders franchise.
Side-scrolling shooter Eugene Jarvis Creator of Defender, one of the first side-scrolling shmups, released in 1981.
Simulation racer Omar Khudari
David Kaemmer
Creators of Indianapolis 500: The Simulation and the IndyCar Racing series.
Sports game William Higinbotham
Ralph Baer
Creator of Tennis for Two in 1958.
Creator of Tennis for Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972.
Stealth game Hideo Kojima


Creator of the Metal Gear franchise of stealth-action games, debuted in 1987.
Strategy RPG (SRPG)
Tactical RPG (TRPG)
Kou Shibusawa Creator of The Dragon & Princess and the Nobunaga's Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchises.
Street racer Yu Suzuki Creator of OutRun, the first pseudo-3D arcade racer taking place in a street environment.
Survival horror Katsuya Iwamoto
Juzo Itami
Creator of War of the Dead, considered the first survival horror game.[21]
Producer of Sweet Home,[22] the survival horror game that inspired Resident Evil.
Visual novel (VN) Yuji Horii Creator of the Yuji Horii Mysteries franchise, debuted in 1983.

Board games

Subject(s) Pioneer/Father/Mother Reason(s)
Backgammon Buzarjumihr/Bozorgmehr Backgammon first mentioned in 6th century text Wızarisnı Catrang ud Nihisnı New Ardaxsır, which credits Buzarjumihr/Bozorgmehr with invention in 5th century.[23]
Strategy game
Queen Hatasu Ancient Egyptian checkerboards, found with their pieces in burial chambers, were played by Queen Hatasu in the 15th century BC.[24][25]
Chess Ardashir I Chess first mentioned in Karnamak-i Ardeshir-i Papakan, which mentions it as an accomplishment of Ardashir I in the 3rd century.[26]
Draughts / Checkers Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani Draughts first mentioned in his Kitab al-Aghani in the 10th century.[27]
Go Zuo Qiuming Go first mentioned in his Zuo Zhuan,[28][29] published in the early 4th century BC.
Miniature wargaming H.G. Wells


Othello Goro Hasegawa Created by Goro Hasegawa in 1971, inspired by Go[31] and Reversi,[32] as well as Shakespeare's Othello.
Reversi Lewis Waterman
John W. Mollett
Created by Lewis Waterman and John W. Mollett in 1882,[32] inspired by Go and Gomoku.[33]
Role-playing game (RPG) Gary Gygax


Creator of Dungeons & Dragons.
Wargaming Charles S. Roberts


See also


  1. History of Computer Chess and Programmer Dietrich Prinz. (1903-03-29). Retrieved on 2013-04-04.
  2. Nintendo Visionaries: Gunpei Yokoi, the father of Handheld Gaming, Metroid, Wario and more!, Super Smash Blogggers, January 25, 2014
  3. Tomohiro Nishikado's biography at his company's web site. Dreams, Inc.. Archived from the original on 2009-04-01 Retrieved on 2011-03-27. (Translation)
  5. News That Should Not be Forgotten: The Father of the Modern Video Game Console, Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, Has Died at the Age of 70 in a California Hospital, Baltimore Gamer
  6. Brookhaven History: The First Video Game
  7. Rabin, Steve. Introduction to Game Development. Massachusetts: Charles River Media, 2005.
  9. List of patent family members for US Patent No. 5390937. espacenet. Retrieved on 17 November 2011.
  10. Nintendo loses 3DS patent lawsuit
  11. eGameFame: John Romero — The Father Of Deathmatch
  12. Space Harrier Retrospective, IGN
  13. Nintendo Wins Emmy For DS And Wii Engineering | Technology | Sky News. (2008-01-09). Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
  14. Magrino, Tom (2008-01-08). CES '08: Nintendo wins second Emmy - News at GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
  15. Light Harp at CES 1993. YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  16. Horowitz, Ken (2004-08-03). Top 10 Tuesday: Worst Game Controllers. Sega-16. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06 Retrieved on 2010-12-04.
  17. Adam Romano (March 8, 2008). Doctor Hauzer. Defunct Games. Retrieved on 2011-05-12.
  18. Thinkdigit Magazine, 2003-01 (January 2003)
  19. Father of survival horror Shinji Mikami promises fresh terror with The Evil Within, Edge
  20. Hideo Kojima 'GDC 2009 Keynote' video Part 2 of 4. (March 26, 2009). Retrieved on 2010-04-01.
  21. John Szczepaniak, War of the Dead, Hardcore Gaming 101, 15 January 2011
  22. Sweet Home: Credits, GameFAQs
  23. Daryaee, Touraj (2006) in "Backgammon" in Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia ed. Meri, Josef W. & Bacharach, Jere L, pp. 88-89. Taylor & Francis.
  24. Strutt, Joseph (1801). The sports and pastimes of the people of England. London. pp. 255. 
  25. "Lure of checkers". The Ellensburgh Capital: pp. 1. 17 February 1916. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  26. Bell, Robert Charles (1979). Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. Courier Dover Publications. p. 57. ISBN 0-486-23855-5. 
  27. Oxland, Kevin (2004). Gameplay and design (Illustrated ed.). Pearson Education. pp. 333. ISBN 978-0-321-20467-7. 
  28. Potter, Donald L. (1985). "Go in the Classics (ii): the Tso-chuan". Go World (Tokyo: Ishi Press) (42): pp. 19–21. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  29. Fairbairn, John (1995). Go in Ancient China. Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  30. The Miniatures Page. The World of Miniatures - An Overview.
  31. "Othello: The World's Best Selling Licensed Strategy Game Lands in MDI Entertainment's Portfolio of Lottery Game Properties", 4 December 2002.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Brief history of Othello
  33. "FINE NEW GAMES AND TOYS; Now Ready for Distribution by the Agents of Santa Claus. IN THE MODERN WONDERLAND Millions Spent for the Amusement and Instruction of Children – Minds Active and Hands Busy All the Time", New York Times, 1 December 1895: "Reversi is something like Go Bang, and is played with 64 pieces."
  34. Rausch, Allen (August 15, 2004). Gary Gygax Interview - Part I. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2005-01-03.
  35. "Charles S. Roberts: The Founding Father"

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