Jane Jensen

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This article is about the writer and game designer. For the musician, see Jane Jensen (musician).
Jane Jensen
Born Jane Elizabeth Smith
(1963-01-28) January 28, 1963 (age 51)
Palmerton, Pennsylvania
Residence Lancaster County, Pennsylvania[1]
Nationality American
Occupation Game designer, writer
Known for Gabriel Knight
Spouse(s) Robert Holmes

Jane Jensen (born January 28, 1963 in Palmerton, Pennsylvania) is the game designer of the popular and critically acclaimed Gabriel Knight adventure games and author of the novels Judgment Day and Dante's Equation.

Early life[edit]

Jane Jensen was born Jane Elizabeth Smith, the youngest of seven children. She received a BA in Computer Science from Anderson University in Indiana and worked as a systems programmer for Hewlett-Packard.[2]

Career[edit]

Her love of both computers and creative writing eventually led her to the computer gaming industry and Sierra Online where she worked as a writer on Police Quest III: The Kindred and EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus.[2] After co-designing King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow with veteran game designer Roberta Williams, Jensen designed her first solo game: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, which was released in 1993. The dark, supernatural mystery was a departure for Sierra but the game was enthusiastically received, with the strength of Jensen's writing, along with the game's horror and gothic sensibilities coming in for particular praise from the gaming press[3] and earning the title Computer Gaming World's "Adventure Game of the Year" title.[4]

Jensen followed up Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers with two sequels: The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery in 1995 and Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned in 1999. Somewhat unusually for an adventure game series, each Gabriel Knight title was produced in an entirely different format to the others. Whereas the original was a traditional 2D animated game, the sequels were realised through full motion video and a custom built 3D engine, respectively. Despite further acclaim for Jensen's design in both cases (The Beast Within was Computer Gaming World's "Game of the Year"[4]), the large expenses associated with making the sequels, coupled with the declining marketability of adventure games (especially within Sierra) meant that a fourth in the series was not commissioned.[5]

In 1996, Jensen published a novelization of the first Gabriel Knight game. A second Gabriel Knight novelization followed in 1998. In 1999, Jensen published her first non-adapted novel, Millennium Rising (later retitled Judgment Day). Her fourth book, Dante's Equation was published in 2003. Dante's Equation was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.

Jensen has been involved in designing casual online games at Oberon Media, of which she is a co-founder.[6] Her work in the Hidden Object/light adventure category can partially be credited with moving casual games in the direction of full adventure games in puzzle and story sophistication. Some of her more notable recent hits include Deadtime Stories (2009) and Dying for Daylight (2010). After leaving Oberon in 2011, she briefly worked at Zynga.

Jensen's most recent full adventure game was called Gray Matter, which was developed by Wizarbox and published by dtp entertainment in 2010.[7] On April 2, 2008 the game, originally intended to be developed by Hungarian software house Tonuzaba, switched to another developer, French company Wizarbox: as a result, the tentative release was changed and shifted to 2010.

Jane Jensen owns a farm in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband, composer Robert Holmes, who composed the music for the Gabriel Knight series and for Gray Matter. On April 5, 2012, the couple announced the formation of Pinkerton Road, a new game development studio to be headquartered on their Lancaster, Pennsylvania farm. The studio will use a Community Supported Gaming (CSG) model to give subscribers direct access to the games they produce, similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where small farms provide consumers with regular produce deliveries.[8] With this announcement, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to raise funds for the studio's first year of game development.[9]

Jensen is also a story consultant on Phoenix Online Studios' adventure game Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.[10]

Works[edit]

Games[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1997)
  • The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (1998)
  • Millennium Rising (AKA Judgment Day) (1999)
  • Dante's Equation (2003)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jane Jensen Facebook". Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Ross, Heather Elizabeth. "Celebrating Computing Women Part IX". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Gabriel Knight 1 reviews from JaneJensen.com.
  4. ^ a b Jane Jensen developer bio at MobyGames
  5. ^ Jane Jensen interview from Gamasutra.
  6. ^ Jensen, Jane (May 13, 2012). "I am Jane Jensen, creator of Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter and Pinkerton Road game studio. Ask me anything.". Reddit. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ Internet Archive Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Pinkerton Road website". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Pinkerton Road Kickstarter campaign". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller by Phoenix Online Studios". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]