Donkey Kong, Duke Nukem, Oregon Trail, Grand Theft Auto: The creative geniuses behind the most important video games ever…

Longform.org's guide to the greatest long articles ever written.
June 18 2011 7:54 AM

The Longform.org Guide to Video Game Visionaries

The creative geniuses behind the most important video games ever made, from Donkey Kong to Oregon Trail to Grand Theft Auto.

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Every weekend, Longform.org shares five great stories from its archive with Slate. For a daily selection of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform.org or follow @longformorg on Twitter.

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How Success Killed Duke Nukem Clive Thompson • Wired • December 2009

Duke Nukem 3D made its creators filthy rich. Trying to complete its sequel nearly destroyed them:

"Normally, videogames take two to four years to build; five years is considered worryingly long. But the Duke Nukem Forever team worked for 12 years straight. As one patient fan pointed out, when development on Duke Nukem Forever started, most computers were still using Windows 95, Pixar had made only one movie—Toy Story—and Xbox did not yet exist."

Creating His 'Living World in a Box' David Kushner • GamePro • July 2010

A profile of Dave Jones, the designer of Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto:

"Jones's team spent months toying around with the city, filling the streets with dinosaurs (seriously) and then cars. At first, under the working title Race 'N Chase, gamers actually played the good guy—a cop busting robbers. The cops-and-robbers setup, which would run through the entire GTA franchise as well as Crackdown and APB, appealed to Jones's core aesthetic—hooking players immediately by casting them into a familiar world. "Cops and robbers is a natural rule set that everybody understands," he says."

Have a favorite piece that we missed? Leave the link in the comments or tweet it to @ longformorg. For more great writing about video games, check out Longform.org's complete archive.

Aaron Lammer is the co-founder of Longform.org.