Game designer Greg Costikyan
July 22, 1959 |
New York, NY
Greg Costikyan (born July 22, 1959, in New York, NY), sometimes known under the pseudonym "Designer X", is an American game designer and science fiction writer. Costikyan's career spans nearly all extant genres of gaming, including hex-based wargames, role-playing games, boardgames, card games, computer games, online games and mobile games. Several of his games have won Origins Awards. He co-founded Manifesto Games, now out of business, with Johnny Wilson in 2005.
Personal life and education
Greg Costikyan is the son of Edward N. (an attorney) and Frances (Holmgren) Costikyan. He married Louise Disbrow (a securities analyst), September 4, 1986. Costikyan lives in New York City near his three children and is a 1982 graduate (B.S.) of Brown University. He is a frequent speaker at game industry events including the Game Developers Conference and E³.
Greg Costikyan has been a game designer since the 1970s. Costikyan worked at SPI until it was closed by TSR in 1982; he came to West End Games in 1983.:186 His 1983 game Bug-Eyed Monsters brought West End Games into the science-fiction and fantasy genres, and the following year he licensed his Paranoia role-playing game to West End Games for publishing after trying unsuccessfully to find a publisher.:186–187 Costikyan designed Toon (1984) for Steve Jackson Games after developing it from an idea suggested by Jeff Dee; Costikyan felt that the game system was largely "arbitrary" and that the theme behind the game was more important.:104 West End Games acquired licensing to make a game based on Star Wars, and Costikyan designed Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, published in 1987, with help from Doug Kaufman and others.:190 Costikyan and Eric Goldberg left West End Games in January 1987, forming the short-lived Goldberg Associates.:191 When West End Games declared bankruptcy in 1998, Costikyan and Goldberg tried to recover the rights to Paranoia; although West End's founder Scott Palter fought this, a judge gave the rights back to the creators in 2000.:194 Costikyan designed the role-playing game Violence (1999) under the pseudonym "Designer X" for Hogshead Publishing, and made the game widely available under a Creative Commons license.:306–307 Costikyan and Goldberg licensed Paranoia to Mongoose Publishing, which began producing new books for the game in 2004.:398
Costikyan was the CEO of Manifesto Games, a start-up devoted to providing a viable path to market for independently developed computer games. He has written on games, game design, and game industry business issues for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Interactive, Salon, and The Escapist, and is the author of science fiction novels.
Costikyan's notable works include:
- Web and Starship (1984, a starships combat science fiction board game)
- Toon (1984, a humor role-playing game):251
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (Origins Award Winner for Best Role-playing Rules of 1987):323
- Pax Britannica (Charles S. Roberts Award Winner for Best Pre-20th Century Game of 1985)
- Paranoia (Origins Award Winner for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1984)
- The Creature That Ate Sheboygan (Charles S. Roberts Award Winner for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Game of 1979)
- Violence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed
- The Price of Freedom (1986):256
In addition, Costikyan is a widely published author on the subject of game design and the role of games in culture. His essay, "I Have No Words and I Must Design" is widely read as a conceptual approach to framing game design.
Costikyan worked on game design for many years, including writing and consulting for Nokia. In September 2005, he left Nokia to join with Johnny Wilson, former editor of Computer Gaming World, in founding the startup indie game publisher Manifesto Games. He regularly contributed to the now defunct Manifesto Games' website, and remains editor in chief to their offshoot game review blog Play This Thing.
Costikyan has written four novels. The first two were parodies of genre fantasy: Another Day, Another Dungeon (1990, ISBN 0-8125-0140-3) and its sequel One Quest, Hold the Dragons (1995, ISBN 0-8125-2269-9). By the Sword (1993, ISBN 0-312-85489-7) is another irreverent fantasy about a young barbarian who is forced by circumstances to make his way in the larger world; it was originally serialized on the Prodigy online service. His latest novel, First Contract (2000, ISBN 0-312-87396-4), depicts (with much dry humor) the vast sociological and economic changes that happen after aliens arrive on Earth, and one entrepreneur's efforts to survive and make a new start.
Awards and recognition
Costikyan is the winner of five Origins Awards. On March 7, 2007, Costikyan received the Game Developers Choice Awards Maverick Award. The award was given for his tireless efforts to create a viable channel for indie games. He was inducted into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1999.
- "Costikyan, Greg 1959-.". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. Gale. 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-18. (subscription required)
- Ed Hogg. "Violence by Greg Costikyan, writing as "Designer X"". Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Greg Costikyan (partial ludography)". Pen & Paper RPG Database. Archived from the original on 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Greg Costikyan. "Personal Stuff". Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- Costikyan, Greg (2007). "My Life with Master". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 204–208. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- "Origins Award Winners (1987)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1985)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- "1984 list of winners". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1979)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- Greg Costikyan (1994). "I Have No Words and I Must Design".
- Dean Takahashi (14 February 2007). "An Interview With Greg Costikyan, the "Maverick" of Manifesto Games". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- "Play This Thing Staff". Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "crottled greeps".[dead link]
- Greg Costikyan (2009-02-03). "Tabletop Tuesday: Revised Version of My Old Game, Now for Free". Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "First Contract by Greg Costikyan". Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "2007 Game Developers Choice Awards To Honor Miyamoto, Pajitnov". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Origins Awards (1999)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- Costikyan's personal website
- GameZombie.tv Video Interview day after winning Maverick Award at the Wayback Machine (archived September 28, 2007)
- Greg Costikyan at BoardGameGeek
- Greg Costikyan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database