Rebecca Ann Heineman (born William Salvador Heineman) is an American video game programmer. A long-time veteran of the computer game industry (originally credited mostly as Bill Heineman), Heineman was a founding member of Interplay Productions, Logicware, Contraband Entertainment. She has also been affiliated at various times with Barking Lizards Technologies, Electronic Arts, Bloomberg, Microsoft, MacPlay and Ubisoft, among other game companies. She is currently working for Sony Computer Entertainment in the Foster City office. She won the National Space Invaders Championship, sponsored by Atari, in November, 1980, making her the first person to ever win a national video game contest. In the mid-1980s, Heineman programmed the cult classic graphic adventure games Tass Times in Tonetown and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate. Heineman also programmed the Macintosh, Super Nintendo and Apple IIGS ports of Another World, as well as some other lesser-known games, such as Mindshadow, Borrowed Time, Battle Chess, and The Tracer Sanction. Due to her love of storing hamburgers in her desk drawers, her friends call her “Burger” (and when they would call for her, she would sometimes respond “Burger”).
Loek van Wely is a chess Grandmaster from the Netherlands. He won the Dutch Chess Championship six times straight from 2000 through 2005. He was rated among the world’s top ten in 2001. In 2002, in Maastricht, Netherlands, van Wely took on the computer program Rebel in a four-game match. The computer won two games and van Wely won two games. In 2005, he led the Dutch team to victory at the European Team Championships in Gothenburg. Van Wely is a frequent participant in the elite Corus chess tournament. As of 2010, he has participated in the tournament 19 years consecutively. In May 2010 he won the 14th Chicago Open. In 2011, came first at Berkeley. On 9 July 2012 Van Wely was denied access to the United States, because he lacked a work visa.
Warren Spector is a role-playing game designer and a video game designer. He is known for having worked to merge elements of role-playing games and first-person shooters. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, fantasy writer Caroline L. Spector. He is best known for the cyberpunk video games System Shock and Deus Ex, and also for the Disney adventure game Epic Mickey. Spector grew up in Manhattan, which he described as a sometimes hostile environment where “short, pudgy, Jewish kids didn’t fare well.” He showed an intense devotion to whatever topic became his obsession at any given time, from dinosaurs and airplanes as a small boy, to an interest in law by the sixth grade. At age 13, Spector had decided he wanted to be a film critic, and by high school, his obsessions expanded to include cars and basketball.
David Lance “Dave” Arneson was an American game designer best known for co-developing the first published role-playing game (RPG), Dungeons & Dragons, with Gary Gygax, in the early 1970s. Arneson’s early work was fundamental to the development of the genre, developing the concept of the RPG using devices now considered to be archetypical, such as adventuring in “dungeons”, using a neutral judge, and having conversations with imaginary characters to develop the storyline. Arneson discovered wargaming as a teenager in the 1960s, and began combining these games with the concept of role-playing. He was a University of Minnesota student when he met Gygax at the Gen Con gaming convention in the late 1960s. In 1970 Arneson created the game and fictional world that became Blackmoor, writing his own rules and basing the setting on medieval fantasy elements. Arneson showed the game to Gygax the following year, and the pair co-developed a set of rules that became Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Gygax subsequently founded TSR, Inc. to publish the game in 1974. Arneson worked briefly for the company. Arneson left TSR in 1976, and filed suit in 1979 to retain credits and royalties on the game. He continued to work as an independent game designer, briefly worked for TSR again in the 1980s, and continued to play games for his entire life. Arneson also did some work in computer programming, and taught computer game design and game rules design at Full Sail University from the 1990s until shortly before his death in 2009.
Matthew “Matt” Harding is an American traveler, video game designer, and Internet celebrity known as Dancing Matt for his viral videos that show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various international locations. Harding has since received widespread coverage of his travel exploits in major print and broadcast media outlets, and was hired by Visa to star in their Travel Happy campaign. He is originally from Westport, Connecticut. He began his game industry career working for a video game specialty store called Cutting Edge Entertainment. Harding later worked as an editor for GameWeek Magazine in Wilton, Connecticut, and then as a software developer for Activision in Santa Monica, California and then Brisbane, Australia. Harding claims that a sarcastic joke about the popularity of shoot ’em up games led Pandemic Studios to develop the game Destroy All Humans!, on which he received a conceptual credit. Saying he “didn’t want to spend two years of my life writing a game about killing everyone”, he quit his job and began traveling, leading to the production of his first video.
Peter Allen David, often abbreviated PAD, is an American writer of comic books, novels, television, movies and video games. His notable comic book work includes an award-winning, 12-year run on The Incredible Hulk, as well as runs on Aquaman, Young Justice, Supergirl, and Fallen Angel. His Star Trek work includes both comic books and novels, such as Imzadi, and co-creating the New Frontier series. His other novels include film adaptations, media tie-ins, and original works, such as the Apropos of Nothing and Knight Life series. His television work includes series such as Babylon 5, Young Justice, Ben 10: Alien Force and Space Cases, the latter of which David co-created. David often jokingly describes his occupation as “Writer of Stuff”, and is noted for his prolific writing, characterized by its mingling of real world issues with humor and references to popular culture, as well as elements of metafiction and self-reference. David has earned multiple awards for his work, including a 1992 Eisner Award, a 1993 Wizard Fan Award, a 1996 Haxtur Award, a 2007 Julie Award and 2011 GLAAD Media Award.
William J. C. “Bill” Amend III is an American cartoonist, best known for his comic strip FoxTrot. Amend attended high school in Burlingame, California where he was a cartoonist on his school newspaper. Amend is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He attended Amherst College, where he drew comics for the college paper. He majored in physics and graduated in 1984. In 1982 Amend took first place among sophomores in a mathematics prize examination at Amherst. After a short time in the animation business, Amend decided to pursue a cartooning career and signed on with Universal Press Syndicate. FoxTrot first appeared on April 10, 1988. Amend made a television appearance on The Screen Savers, which aired October 20, 2003 on the former TechTV. Amend is also an avid World of Warcraft player, but refuses to reveal his character’s name, although he did mention in an interview with Allakhazam (a World of Warcraft fan site) that he played on the server ‘Bronzebeard’ (Jason is often shown or referred to playing “World of Warquest” in the strip). On December 5, 2006, Universal Press Syndicate issued a press release stating that Amend’s strip, FoxTrot, would turn into a Sunday-only strip. Amend stated that he wants to continue doing the strip, but at a less hurried pace. This news was followed by several weeks of the characters discussing a “cartoonist” semi-retiring to Sundays only, and what methods he would use to phase out the daily strips. The last daily Foxtrot cartoon was printed on December 30, 2006.