Arts

The Artists: a new 10-part series about the video game designers who changed the world

Stream our new series The Artists and see the stories of the pioneers behind the pixels.

Stream our new series The Artists and see the stories of the pioneers behind the pixels

(CBC Arts)

From their beginnings as bizarre electronic curios for kids in the early 1970s through their ubiquitous worldwide ascent in the late 1990s, video games haven't stopped inspiring and inciting an eager audience over the last 40 years. But despite the massive culture impact games have had, surprisingly little is widely known about the artists who created them.

Watch the trailer:

The Artists: the pioneers behind the pixels

4 years ago
1:00
Through exclusive interviews with the designers and programmers that had front row seats to the technological revolution that brought interactive entertainment into our homes, The Artists documents the unheralded creators behind the games that changed the world. 1:00

Watch all 10 episodes now

The Artists dives into the relatively undocumented first three decades of the video game industry and tells you the stories of the designers, companies and, of course, seminal games that have transformed video game history through these eras.

Doom was a fast-paced and immersive first-person shooter game whose success was the envy of the industry.

Despite their massive success and cultural impact, video games haven't enjoyed the same hagiography afforded to comparable mediums. We all know Scorsese, Spielberg and Coppola, but how many will recognize the names of Crawford, Bunten or Romero? For a massive audience, video games are the films of the 21st century, and their primary source of storytelling. How did that happen?

(Young doctors-turned-game-designers performed a digital transplant on an iconic role-playing game.)

Through exclusive interviews with the designers and programmers that had front row seats to the technological revolution that brought interactive entertainment into our homes, The Artists documents these unheralded creators — including John Romero (Doom), Trip Hawkins (founder of EA), Bill Budge (Pinball Construction Kit) and many others. These personal, engaging stories reveal what it was like to create games during this era.

Check out more of the art created for the series below and watch all 10 episodes online now!

For one programmer, the future of gaming was about more than art. It was a social issue.

Though his industry was becoming increasingly concerned with the bottom line, Chris Crawford understood that video games could revolutionize storytelling.

Extending his empire to the small screen, George Lucas built a video-game incubator on his own ranch.
Before video games could get graphic, text-based adventures imagined the future of literature.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now