John D. Carmack II is an American game programmer and the co-founder of id Software. Carmack was the lead programmer of the id computer games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and their sequels. Though Carmack is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics, he is also a rocketry enthusiast and the founder and lead engineer of Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack, son of local television news reporter Stan Carmack, grew up in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area where he became interested in computers at an early age. He attended Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas and Raytown South High School in nearby Raytown, Missouri. As reported in David Kushner’s Masters of Doom, “when Carmack was 14, he broke into a school to help a group of kids steal Apple II computers, but during the attempted break-in one of the kids set off the silent alarm. John was arrested, and sent for psychiatric evaluation (the report mentions “no empathy for other human beings”). Carmack was then sentenced to a year in a juvenile home. … he was asked “if you had not been caught, would you consider doing it again?” he answered “yes, probably” but when the therapist presented this evaluation he neglected to repeat “if you had not been caught” from his statement. He attended the University of Missouri–Kansas City for two semesters before withdrawing to work as a freelance programmer.
Richard William “Wil” Wheaton III is an American actor and writer. He portrayed Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me and Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers. He plays a recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He appeared as himself in several episodes of situation comedy The Big Bang Theory, starting in the fifth episode of the third season “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary” (2009). On The Big Bang Theory, Wheaton behaves in comically petty and manipulative ways towards the regular characters, particularly Sheldon Cooper with whom he is alternately a friend and an enemy. Wheaton appears in twelve episodes in a recurring, guest-starring role on Eureka, playing Dr. Isaac Parrish, the head of the Non-Lethal Weapons Lab at Global Dynamics and a thorn in Fargo’s side.
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time. Polgár was ranked number 36 in the world on the July 2012 FIDE rating list with an Elo rating of 2709, the only woman on FIDE’s Top 100 Players list, and has been ranked as high as eighth (in 2005). She has won or shared first in the chess tournaments of Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, León 1996, U.S. Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Siegman 1999, Japfa 2000, and the Najdorf Memorial 2000. Polgár is the only woman to have won a game from a current world number one player, and has defeated nine current or former world champions in either rapid or classical chess: Anatoli Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov.
Billy L. Mitchell is an eletronic sports player who is best known for recording high scores in classic video games from the Golden Age of Arcade Games. He has been claimed by some as the “greatest arcade-video-game player of all time”. His achievements include the first perfect score in Pac-Man. He owns the “Rickey’s World Famous Restaurant” chain, based in Hollywood, Florida. He uses the same brand to sell a line of hot sauces, “Rickey’s World Famous Sauces”. The 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters tells the story of newcomer Steve Wiebe’s attempt to surpass Billy Mitchell’s high score at the game Donkey Kong, which Mitchell had set in 1982. On July 26, 2007, in celebration of the film’s release and the 25th anniversary of Mitchell’s first record-setting performance, Mitchell again played in public and retook the Donkey Kong record with a score of 1,050,200, though that score was surpassed on February 26, 2010 by Hank Chien, who was temporarily the record holder at Donkey Kong. However, Mitchell reclaimed his title once again on July 24, 2010. On September 20, 2010, Steve Wiebe once again took the title with a score of 1,064,500. As of February 27, 2011, Hank Chien re-took the record with a score of 1,090,400.
Nerd Mouse is a cartoon Internet mouse who is the most famous resident of Nerdville.org where he lives with his pet fish, Nerd Fish. He is the Resource Allocation Information Services Analyst Specialist for the County of Nerdonia.net. His friends (both of them) are nerds. He studied computers as a child by reading manuals and quizzing himself nightly. He had the highest grade point average in the history of Nerd Mouse University (a university Nerd Mouse created for himself). He studied nerd culture in school and created a complex grading system for which Nerd Mouse had the only key. He created NerdMouse.com to celebrate nerds and nerd culture (and because he honestly had nothing better to do).
Bruce Sterling Woodcock is an American computer and video games industry analyst, best known for his work on subscription tracking of massively multiplayer online games via his website MMOGCHART.COM. Woodcock was born in the small farming community of Sullivan, Missouri on June 20, 1970, the youngest of three children to Myron and Mary Woodcock. He graduated from Sullivan Senior High School in 1988, and then went on to Purdue University, studying physics, philosophy, and computer science. In 1989, he became involved in internet gaming on early MUDs, and in 1990, was briefly running two of the largest TinyMUDs of the time, TinyMUD Classic and Islandia. His original online handle was Sir Bruce Sterling, which was later shortened to Sir Bruce when he began posting on message boards. Leaving college early, he moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1991, where he began a career in information technology. In 1993, he moved to San Jose, California, where he subsequently worked as a system administrator at early ISP Netcom (USA), and then Network Appliance, eventually leaving in 1997 with $250,000 in stock options. He started to maintain a presence on the Yahoo! financial message boards as he closely tracked the performance of Network Appliance, helped the company’s fortunes, and built his own portfolio to $3 million. With the advent of the MMOGs, Chron X and Ultima Online in 1997, Woodcock became a player and beta-tester for this genre of game. He invested in and joined the Board of Directors for Playnet and their game World War II Online, and in August 2002, began his research, reporting, and tracking of MMOG subscription numbers, which has become a standard of reference both inside and outside the MMOG industry. In November 2004 his work was moved to its own dedicated website, MMOGCHART.COM. The site has not been updated since May 2008.
Jeff ‘Yak’ Minter is a British video game designer and programmer. He is the founder of software house Llamasoft and his recent works include Neon (2004), a non-game music visualization program that has been built into the Xbox 360 console, and the video games Space Giraffe (Xbox Live Arcade, 2007 and PC, 2008), and Space Invaders Extreme (Xbox Live Arcade, May 2009). Fans of Minter’s games have identified a number of distinctive elements common to his games. They are often arcade style shoot ’em ups. They often contain titular and/or in-game references demonstrating his fondness of ruminants (llamas, sheep, camels, etc.). Many of his programs also feature something of a psychedelic element, as in some of the earliest “light synthesizer” programs including his Trip-a-Tron.