Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mark Cerny's AIAS Hall of Fame Award

I wanted to take a minute or three to congratulate good friend and often co-worker Mark Cerny on his AIAS Hall of Fame award. Mark truly deserves the award, he is an incredibly talent and has had great influence on multiple projects over decades.

One of my favorite games growing up was Marble Madness, a game that was truly innovative and fun. Many people don't realize the challenges that game developers faced making games in those days, but the struggle to get anything to work, let alone such an unprecedented masterpiece.

I was lucky enough to work with Mark between 1994 and 2004 on the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series. Mark had a huge impact on both the design and technology in both franchises. Andy Gavin and I, two inexperienced but aggressive young developers, relied heavily on Mark's experience when we were working on the first Crash game. Crash might not have been successful were it not for the knowledge that Mark brought with him from Sonic 2.

I have always said that Mark is the only game designer that I have ever met that can turn the "art" of game design into a "science." Mark wouldn't comment that a Crash or Jak level "felt too hard," but rather he would tell us that "there was a difficulty problem stemmed from too few continue points", and usually specifically how we could fix it.

I certainly hope I get a chance to work again with Mark in the future.

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