Neil Young, British born game designer and developer

Neil Young, game designer and developer

Neil Young, game designer and developer

Born and raised just outside of London, England, Neil Young has made a habit of breaking the mold when it comes to game design and development. He owes his career to what he calls a moment at the ripe old age of fourteen. While playing his Atari video game system one day, he literally fell out of his chair during an emotional outburst. Young later called this moment an epiphany since he realized that if gamers could somehow create games that give players “emotional moments” they’d be onto something…and likely be very successful!

In his early career, Young set about creating games, including a game called Majestic (2001). Majestic certainly broke the mold since it was the first game of its type. According to Wikipedia, “Majestic was a science fiction thriller based on a Majestic 12 shadow government conspiracy theory. Majestic was one of the first alternate reality games (ARGs), a type of game that blurs the line between in-game and out-of-game experiences.”

Neil Young has since moved on to other ventures. As an executive at Electric Arts (EA) for eleven years, he had a hand in top-selling games, including The Lord of the Rings titles, The Sims 2, and Spore. Last year he left EA to create a new company, ng:moco (Next-Generation Mobile Company )—a company that makes games specifically for the iPhone & iPod Touch. Ng:moco is responsible for Topple, MazeFinger, and Rolando. Young says the iPhone offers an “awesome opportunity”—it creates opportunities for a whole new generation of game developers and that promotes the gaming industry. Check out this article (GDC: ngmoco’s Young: iPhone ‘Better Than DS, Better Than PSP’) for an interesting discussion of gaming for iPhones.

Here’s another article about Young’s ventures at ng:moco.

3 thoughts on “Neil Young, British born game designer and developer

  1. I really enjoy reading posts about “people” in the business ….. yet based on this Neil Young and my post on David Perry ….. I am beginning to wonder if the “gift” for design and creativity isn’t something truly genetic. Both of these amazing men seem to have received their “aha” moment at a young age when both creativity and chaos are actually fostered …. I hope this isn’t also a “Y” chromosome thing! 😉

    Great post on a fascinating talent!

  2. I agree that the iPhone/pod is a great gaming platform. His story is similar to that of will Wright (The Sims), who created a game for a genre that didn’t exist until he made the first game for it.

  3. How great it is to find your calling and great success at a young age. It takes most people a lifetime to achieve such a feat. While I have never heard nor played Majestic, I love the fact that not only was it a first of its kind game but that its also built on the intrigue of a government conspiracy theory.