Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author, Game.
(1953- ) US Game designer, author and entrepreneur, inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1982. Jackson (who should not be confused with the UK Steve Jackson) first worked in the games industry as a designer for Metagaming Concepts (MC), creating Melee (1977 MC) – a tactical Wargame of man-to-man combat which later became part of the influential Sword and Sorcery Role Playing Game The Fantasy Trip (1977-1980 MC) – and the sf Wargame Ogre (1977). In 1980 Jackson founded his own development company, the eponymous Steve Jackson Games (SJG), which has published a wide range of innovative and commercially successful Board Games, Card Games, Wargames and RPGs, many designed by Jackson. His most influential game has perhaps been GURPS (1986), a descendant of The Fantasy Trip; other well-regarded releases include Car Wars (1982), Illuminati (1982), Toon (1984) (see RPGs), Transhuman Space (2002) and various versions of Ogre. The company is, however, probably most famous for the 1990 raid on its premises by the US Secret Service, described in Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992). It appears that the agents involved were investigating Loyd Blankenship, a Jackson employee who had a history of involvement with illegal computer accesses made using the telephone system; the questionable legality of the raid eventually led to the foundation of the civil liberties advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a successful court case mounted by Steve Jackson Games against the Secret Service.
Jackson is also an author, having written several Gamebooks for the Fighting Fantasy series and his own Car Wars milieu as well as Thera Awakening (1995 chap), a Sword and Sorcery novella coauthored by David Pulver which was included with the Computer Role Playing Game Stonekeep (1995 Interplay, DOS, Win) designed by Chris Taylor. As a game designer, he has created several detailed and evocative sf scenarios expressing the characteristic fears of Americans in the 1970s, notably in the global nuclear war which defines the world of Ogre and the catastrophic social breakdown of Car Wars. Recently, however, he has turned to more humorous themes, parodying game-related subcultures in such works as the Card Game Munchkin (2001) (see RPGs). [NT]
see also: Worldcon.
- Scorpion Swamp (London: Penguin/Puffin, 1984) [Fighting Fantasy: pb/Duncan Smith]
- Demons of the Deep (London: Penguin/Puffin, 1986) [Fighting Fantasy: pb/Les Edwards]
- Robot Commando (London: Penguin/Puffin, 1986) [Fighting Fantasy: pb/David Martin]
- Battle Road (Windhaven, Wisconsin: TSR, 1986) [Car Wars: pb/Larry Elmore]
- Fuel's Gold (Windhaven, Wisconsin: TSR, 1986) [Car Wars: pb/Larry Elmore]
- Thera Awakening (California: Interplay Productions, 1995) [chap: tie to the game Stonekeep: pb/]
- Game Design (Volume 1, Theory and Practice) (Austin, Texas: Steve Jackson Games, 1981) with Nick Schuessler [nonfiction: pb/]
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