Second Generation Game Makers

In the movies we have Kirk and Michael Douglas, in music Bob and Jacob Dylan, and many, many, many more. It is natural for kids to follow in their parent’s footsteps. It happens in all industries, but the games business was too young for it to happen until just recently. Being one of the earliest career guys in the games business, I think this is an exciting trend, and I am happy my son is moving it forward. At a recent Casual Connect, we ran into John Romero, and found out that his son, Michael, is a designer. Game attorney Thomas Buscaglia’s son, Thomas just finished up on the mobile game BladeSlinger as the lead designer as well. I’m sure there are others, but I don’t have a list. Please comment if you know of any more.

Third Grader Design

Third Grader Design

Since he was a young boy my son, Jonathan, has designed his own games as well as analyzed, play tested, and demonstrated games for me. I was always on again, off again about whether I would encourage him to try to make a living in the games business, but my encouragement was not needed, for Jon, getting into games was pre-ordained. After years of play testing, he joined GarageGames as an Intern while he was finishing up his Digital Arts Design degree at the University of Oregon. Upon graduation, he joined us at PushButton Labs as a designer, where he was the lead on Social City and Grunts. After we sold PBL, Jon was asked to be a partner at Spotkin, where he is designing and producing our lead titles.

It is such an honor for me to be able to work with Jon on a daily basis. After so many years of discussing how games work, we have a shorthand, almost telepathic way of talking about design. Kind of how musicians that have played together for a long time know what the other guys are thinking. I love it!

Again, I am looking for more second generation game makers. I hear Frank Lantz has an offspring in the biz, but I have have not been able to get through to him. Please leave comments if you have any leads.

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker
Make It Big In Games

  • henrik sætre

    Reading about how you and your son are working together in an industry you both enjoy is very encouraging. Makes me think of the (really) old school way of apprenticing, with its high returns after such a long time working together. Sounds like you are aware of how rare such relationships are today, where too many do not follow their calling, or where father and son drift apart.
    I’m lucky to have a great relationship with my father, and would love have such a working relationship too, if we were in anything resembling similar industries ;-)

  • Jay Moore

    I know there are more, but Ken Williams son worked at BrandX for awhile on Odd Manor.

  • Stephen Goss

    Jordan Maynard (now a CD at Znynga) is son of David Maynard – one of EA’s first programmers and creator of Worms?, one of EA’s early games. I worked with Jordan at EA Redwood Shores back around 2002.