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Simonsen, Redmond

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Game.

(1942-2005) US Game designer, inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1977. Simonsen was a graphic artist and Wargame enthusiast who cofounded Simulations Publications Inc (SPI) with James Dunnigan in 1969, creating the first significant competitor to the original developer of board and counter Wargames, Avalon Hill. While at SPI Simonsen concentrated on game presentation, making marked improvements to both the graphical design of SPI's games and the clarity of their rules; within the Videogame industry, this area of interest later became known as user interface design. Simonsen also worked as a designer, beginning with the World War One game Tannenberg (1969 SPI), which he created with Dunnigan. Where sf games are concerned, however, he is most significant as the designer of Starforce: Alpha Centauri (1974), Battlefleet Mars (1977) and the fantasy game Sorcerer (1975) (see Wargames). Starforce: Alpha Centauri was the first sf Wargame produced by a major company, and helped begin the 1970s boom in simulations of science fiction and fantasy warfare. This game also included a Future History, written by Simonsen, which framed its various playable scenarios; this may have been the first interesting piece of sf created solely for a game. Ultimately, though, he may be remembered primarily for his origination of the term "game designer" – a role which was not clearly defined prior to the early 1970s, when Simonsen coined the phrase, but is now sometimes seen as analogous to that of a film director.

Simonsen edited the first twelve issues of the sf Wargames magazine Ares, from March 1980 to January 1982. [NT]

Redmond Aksel Simonsen

born New York: 18 June 1942

died Garland, Texas: 9 March 2005


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