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Game of Life creator John H. Conway dies at 82

Revered Princeton maths professor invented one of the very first computer games

John Horton Conway, the creator of one of the first computer games, has died at the age of 82.

According to Princeton University, where he was part of the faculty, Conway died on April 11 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, due to complications related to COVID-19.

Conway joined the Princeton faculty in 1987, after moving to the US from his native Britain, where he worked at Cambridge University.

He was the John von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton, transferrin to emeritus status in 2013.

In terms of the games industry, Conway's influence can be traced back to 1970, and The Game of Life -- an early computer game based on mathematical theories of evolving complexity, which debuted in the October issue of Scientific American.

His achievements throughout his long career were legion, however, with Princeton citing contributions to group theory, number theory, algebra, geometric topology, theoretical physics, combinatorial game theory, and geometry.

"People invariably describe Conway as the inventor of the Game of Life," said Peter Doyle, a professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College and a collaborator with Conway. "That's like describing Bob Dylan as the author of 'Blowin' in the Wind.‴

Princeton University has set up a blog, where people who knew Conway can share their thoughts and memories.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.