Hideo Kojima is a game developer who has such a cult following that people will buy games simply because his name is on them. The Metal Gear creator’s epic new journey into the weird, Death Stranding, has hit on PS4, but he’s not the only games developer who tends to live somewhere kind of out there. Here are five more of our favourite rock star game creators.
Possibly the most enigmatic cult games programmer ever, English-born, Welsh-dwelling Minter has two great loves – computer games and quadrupeds. Also known simply as Yak, since the early days of his games on Commodore home computers in the 1980s, a twin penchant for psychedelic colours and sharp gameplay has cemented him as a key purveyor of the pure arcade experience. As well as his many original games, usually involving llamas, camels, sheep and suchlike, Minter has given us incredible arcade conversions, such as Atari Jaguar launch title Tempest 2000, which spawned the PS Vita must-have TxK – and lawsuits. If you have PS VR, then you must trip out with Polybius.
Attack of the Mutant Camels (1983)
Space Giraffe (2007)
With all of the childlike wonder that his almost insanely colourful games have inspired, it’s no surprise to learn that this now 40-something game designer is looking to change careers in order to create children’s playgrounds. He’s already done it in on our screens with the sublime Katamari series of games, where players become the Prince and basically have to roll up everything everywhere into increasingly bigger balls of crap in order to save the stars, constellations and moon. We can’t wait for his December-bound magical-looking new experience Wattam, which hopefully won’t be Takahashi’s last.
Katamari Damacy (2004)
Noby Noby Boy (2009)
He’s a man who needs no introduction to most gamers, and one who has likely had more of his games played by more humans than any other game designer ever. Basically making Nintendo what it is today, it can boggle the mind to think that one brain could give us the wild worlds of Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Pikmin and more. It isn’t just the games, it’s the rampant creativity within them, yet this humble, bluegrass-loving 66-year-old man claims to gain inspiration from everyday life. Pikmin, for example? The idea came about while he was gardening. Zelda? He loved exploring caves growing up. While working more in a supervisory role nowadays, his mark will forever be profound.
Donkey Kong (1981)
Super Mario Bros. (1985)
The Legend of Zelda (1986)
Anybody who’s ever been into classic graphic adventure gaming will know this man’s name. The brains behind such ground-breaking interactive treats as The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion sits in rare company with Ken and Roberta Williams of Sierra as adventure gaming royalty. There has been so much more to the bow of this man who originally wished to direct films, however. Through the 1990s Gilbert worked on interactive titles for children, while also being instrumental in the creation of strategy series Total Annihilation. Recent years have seen him return to the adventuring realm, delighting and baffling all comers with such titles as Thimbleweed Park.
Maniac Mansion (1987)
The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
The Cave (2013)
Better known as Suda51, he’s the (aptly, for now) 51-year-old CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture, and has the sort of imagination that many of us can only sit back and boggle at. Kicking off his game development career with adventure titles such as The Silver Case, more action – and humour – gradually began creeping into Suda51’s creations. The tipping point probably came with 2007’s No More Heroes, a slice of bonkers hack and slash mayhem starring the irrepressible Travis Touchdown. The series continues to this day, with No More Heroes III slated for future Switch release. He’s certainly come a long way from his days as an undertaker!
The Silver Case (1999)
No More Heroes (2007)