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Brenda Romero, David Braben honored by GDC

Wizardy designer to receive Ambassador Award next month as Elite co-creator gets Pioneer Award

Brenda Romero and David Braben have joined the list of game industry luminaries honored by the Game Developers Choice Awards. Organizers of the event today announced that the ceremony will see Romero receive the Ambassador Award for helping games "advance to a better place" while Braben accepts the Pioneer Award for producing breakthrough technological and game design milestones.

Romero is credited as "the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry," having been involved in the field since 1981. Her work as a developer spans well-regarded titles including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series, but her participation in and advocacy for games has extended well beyond that. She is the director of UC Santa Cruz's Games and Playable Media program and was awarded a 2014 Fulbright fellowship to work with the Irish game industry. She has also been a strong advocate of women in the industry, serving as a board member and co-chair of the International Game Developers Association's Women in Games special interest group.

Braben is being honored both for his work on the Elite series of open-ended 3D space trading games and on Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized computer designed to make programming classes more affordable for schools. Elite spawned a genre that developers are still expanding to this day in games like Star Citizen and No Man's Sky (not to mention Braben's own Elite: Dangerous), while the Raspberry Pi Foundation (which Braben co-founded) has produced more than 4 million of the Linux-based computer, which sells for about 15.

Braben and Romero will likely be joined by one other special honoree in the coming weeks, as the Game Developers Choice Awards organizers have not yet announced their 2015 Lifetime Achievement honoree. The awards will be presented during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 4.

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