For those of you who fell asleep during the classical mythology portion of your higher education, the stories all go like this: Some guy decides he no longer needs the gods, sets off to prove as much and promptly gets smacked down.
Prometheus, Sisyphus, Icarus, Odysseus, the stories are full of men who, for whatever reason, believed that they were not bound by the normal constraints of mortality. Men who dreamed impossible dreams, set out to make them realities and failed. Often miserably. Prometheus was chained to the side of a mountain to feed the crows. Icarus flew as high as the sun, then plummeted to his death. Odysseus was cursed by Poseidon to spend 10 years fighting his way home only then to find that a gaggle of suitors had besieged his faithful wife. And Sisyphus? Well, his story is better left for another time.
What's the moral of these stories? That no man is an island, for sure, but also that the gods aren't to be trifled with. Gods are gods, men are men and that's just the way it is. Do what they say, stay in line and everything will be just fine. Which, frankly, is about how many of us think to this day. With the exception of a very brave few.
In this issue of The Escapist, we take a look at the stories of a few, brave souls in the game industry who, for better or worse, decided that they, too, were destined to make their dreams a reality. Some actually succeeded, while others crashed and burned. We in the game industry may not have jealous, angry gods against which to struggle, but oftentimes the rabid fans, power-hungry distributors and cynical reviewers can be just as irascible.
In The Escapist Issue 55, "Against the Gods," Allen Varney talks with legendary MMOG developer Raph Koster; Lara Crigger tackles the story of storied Infocom; Bruce Neilsen gives us a first-hand look at the demise of a wargame company; Shannon Drake deals with the hubris of EA's The Sims Online and John Romero discusses both his successes and failures in his interview with The Escapist.
- Russ Pitts