Dave Jones, founder of DMA Design, Realtime Worlds and Coudgine has hit the number one spot in the Herald’s list of 50 Scots Who Changed the World.
Beating off some fairly significant contenders including Alexander Fleming (No. 2), Billy Connolly (No. 3), John Logie Baird (No. 4), Alexander Graham Bell (No. 5) and JK Rowling (No. 6), the Herald cites Dave’s role in the creation of Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings, stating he: “created a phenomenon that would infiltrate most of our lives and homes and define an entertainment era.”
The paper says:
The Grand Theft Auto game Dave Jones launched back in 1997, out of his Dundee studio, DMA Design, was the germ of the titanic open world, popular satire on American culture that GTA is now, but even back then it was so controversial and ground-breaking it caused a seismic culture shock. Players took the role of criminals in a 2D city in which any car could be hijacked and pedestrians were there to be taken out.
Jones would only be involved in the first two games, and it would take Sam and Dan Houser’s Rockstar North, mostly under Leslie Benzies, to develop it into the world-conquering phenomenon it became. But just in kicking off GTA, Jones created a phenomenon that would infiltrate most of our lives and homes and define an entertainment era.
With Max Clifford as publicist, outrage was built up even before the launch, as briefings were given to the public about how the game involved the slaughter of police, and various other elements of antisocial violence. It was denounced by the Police Federation of England and Wales as “sick, deluded and beneath contempt”.
The paper doesn’t go all-in on its praise for the world-changing nature of videogames however, making sure it provides valuable balance by noting that games can increase aggression in young people:
“But the impact of GTA remains much debated. One international analysis, looking at 24 studies from different countries, found a correlation between prolonged use of titles like GTA, Call of Duty and Manhunt and increased physical aggression in youngsters – for instance being sent to the headteacher’s office or hitting a non-family member”
With the franchise clocking up 290 million sales and counting, we believe that makes the GTA series statistically safer than fuzzy mittens, sunshine and sitting in a comfy chair.
You can read the full list of Top Scots over on the Herald website. As with all Scottish papers at the moment, we’d advise against reading the comments section.
Congratulations to Mr Jones – and thanks to the Herald. It’s nice to see the games sector being recognised as having real value…