Japan's Shigeru Miyamoto, considered the father of the modern video game, has been awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.
Miyamoto, 59, is the author of the Mario Bros. series that has become one of the most marketed video game sagas in history.
Asturias award organizers praised Miyamoto, saying he converted "the video game into a social revolution and has managed to popularize it among a sector of the population that had not previously accessed this kind of entertainment, while also making it a medium capable of bringing people together regardless of sex, age or social or cultural status."
Wednesday's award is one of eight handed out yearly by a foundation named for Spain's Crown Prince Felipe. Others categories include arts, sports and scientific research.
Previous winners include Leonard Cohen and Margaret Atwood.