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Ensemble's Bruce Shelley to be Inducted Into AIAS Hall of Fame

by Rainier on Dec. 5, 2008 @ 12:46 a.m. PST

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences has announced that Bruce Shelley will be the 12th inductee into the Academy’s Hall of Fame. Shelley is the preeminent game designer, who assisted Sid Meier in bringing the award winning Civilization and Railroad Tycoon to the world, and later the Age of Empires strategy games with Ensemble Studios.

Shelley is the preeminent game designer, who assisted Sid Meier in bringing the award winning Civilization and Railroad Tycoon to the world, and later the Age of Empires strategy games with Ensemble Studios. These games are long considered some of the greatest games of all time.

PC Gamer named Shelley one of the 25 Game Gods in 1999, and in 2002, GameSpy named him the 8th most influential person in gaming.

The Hall of Fame Award will be presented by Tony Goodman, founder of Ensemble Studios, at the 12th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards®, hosted by actor, comedian and avid video game player, Jay Mohr, and will take place during the 2009 D.I.C.E. Summit on Thursday, February 18, 2009 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.

As one of the organization’s highest honors, candidates are annually voted on by the Academy’s prominent Board of Directors, of which Bruce Shelley served from 2000-2006. Induction into the Hall of Fame is bestowed upon individuals who’ve contributed a significant advancement within the industry while demonstrating proven success and leadership.

Bruce Shelly has been collecting board games his whole life, and estimates he has over 500. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry simultaneously, and then studied economics in graduate school at the University of Virginia. But his interest in games won out over academics.

In 1980, he joined friends from the UVA game club to form a role-playing game company called Iron Crown Enterprises, acquiring the license to make games based on The Lord of the Rings. After a brief period at Simulations Publications in New York, Avalon Hill became his next stop, designing a variety of games including 1830 and Titan.

In 1988, Shelley made the transition to computer games, joining Microprose. After working on a variety of projects, including F-19 Stealth Fighter, he was assigned to work with Sid Meier as his producer/assistant designer. They collaborated on Railroad Tycoon, Covert Action and Civilization. Civilization was one of the most important marks in the videogame industry when it was released in 1991.

In 1995, while freelance writing, having five strategy guides published, Shelley joined another friend from the UVA game club, Tony Goodman who had just started Ensemble Studios. Shelley helped the new studio establish its development processes and principles, and created the hugely successful Age of Empires series, which to date has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. He has traveled the world acting as a spokesman for Ensemble Studios and its games, and as a guest speaker at numerous conferences.

Tony Goodman states, “Bruce has always been at the center of the gaming universe. He sprang onto the scene at Avalon Hill and SPI designing board games that would become the models for modern videogames. He was a central figure at Microprose working on one of the most defining products of the industry’s early years, and he was the Godfather of Ensemble Studios presiding over Age of Empires, which is one of the most influential franchises of today’s mature videogame industry.

Ensemble Studios, is a Microsoft owned development studio, and has Halo Wars coming out in 2009.

Shelley will join an elite group of 11 other interactive entertainment industry luminaries in the AIAS Hall of Fame: Trip Hawkins (Electronic Arts), Peter Molyneux (Lionhead Studios), Yu Suzuki (Sega), Will Wright (Maxis), John Carmack (id Software), Hironobu Sakaguchi (Square Enix), Sid Meier (Firaxis Games), Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo), Richard Garriott (origin Systems), Dan/Danielle Bunten Berry (Ozark Landscape), and Michael Morhaime (Blizzard Entertainment).

Mr. Shelley humbly states “I am deeply honored to receive this award. I believe it also honors my colleagues over the years at Microprose and especially Ensemble Studios, from whom I have learned so much. I am very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and hope that in return I have given something back to this great industry.”

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