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Richard Garriott Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

by Rainier on March 10, 2006 @ 5:54 p.m. PST

NCsoft North America's Richard Allen Garriott will be honored with this year's Game Developers Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement. A respected pioneer of the computer gaming world and best known for his monumental game series Ultima, Garriott will be recognized for fueling the presence of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games in the mass market.

The iconic game maker, known in the industry as Lord British, is credited with being a giant force within the gaming community. Produced and hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and presented by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the 6th annual Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 22 at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

"It is a high honor to be counted among the legends who are previous recipients of this award, such as Will Wright and Eugene Jarvis," said Garriott.

During his 20+ years as a programmer and video game designer, Garriott has received numerous awards including Computer Gaming World's "15 Most Influential Industry Players," Next Generation's "America's Elite," PC Gamer's "Game Gods," and PC Games' "Designer of the Year." Garriott, along with his brother, Robert, was also named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Inc. magazine. Garriott was also recently chosen as the ninth inductee into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.

"Garriott almost single-handedly brought the role-playing game experience to glowing life," remarked Jamil Moledina, director of the Game Developers Conference. "Given his ongoing role in evolving the form to its current massively multiplayer online incarnation, we are proud to honor him for his lifetime achievement."

Son of Skylab and Spacelab astronaut Owen K. Garriott, Richard took an interest in computers at a young age. He began programming games in high school and produced his first published game, Akalabeth, at the age of 19. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, Garriott began developing one of the most successful, longest-running game series of all time: Ultima. Garriott and his brother formed Origin Systems, Inc. to begin publishing their own games, and the company was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1992. By 1999, Garriott resigned and in the following year, he returned to the industry with his new startup Destination Games in partnership with his brother and Starr Long, producer of Ultima Online. In 2001, Destination merged with NCsoft where Garriott currently acts as producer and designer of MMORPGs. His long-awaited current project, Tabula Rasa, is expected to launch sometime this year, and he will share his experiences creating the game at this year's GDC.

"Garriott's creative vision and ability to push questions of morality via his game designs has paved the way for other game creators to explore all aspects of the human condition," Jason Della Rocca, executive director, IGDA, said.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award are selected by the Choice Awards Advisory Board, comprised of a diverse set of developers from across the globe. Past recipients of this award include: Eugene Jarvis, Mark Cerny, Gunpei Yokoi (posthumous), Yuji Naka and Will Wright.

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