World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Steve Jackson (US)


Steve Jackson (US)

Not to be confused with Steve Jackson (UK game designer).
Steve Jackson
Born c. 1953 (age 60–61)
Occupation game designer, founder of Steve Jackson Games

Steve Jackson (born c. 1953) is an American game designer.


Steve Jackson is a 1974 graduate of Rice University, where he was a resident of Baker College before moving to Sid Richardson College when it opened in 1971.

Jackson went to the UT Law School, but left to pursue a career in game design.[1]:102


Steve Jackson, working at Metagaming Concepts, developed Monsters! Monsters! (1976) based on a design by Ken St. Andre related to his Tunnels & Trolls role-playing game, and Godsfire (1976), a 3D space conquest game designed by Lynn Willis.[1]:78 Jackson's first design for the company was Ogre (1977), followed by G.E.V (1978), which were set in the same futuristic universe that Jackson created.[1]:79

Jackson became interested in Dungeons & Dragons, but found the various-sized dice irritating and the combat rules confusing and unsatisfying, and did not like the lack of tactics, so he designed Melee in response.[1]:79 Jackson joined the SCA to gain a better understanding of combat, but he soon became more interested and started fighting in SCA live-action combat as Vargskol, the Viking-Celt.[1]:79 While designing Melee, Jackson realized this idea could be expanded into a full fantasy role-playing game to compete with D&D, and started working on The Fantasy Trip. While the game was originally scheduled for release in February 1978, the design and development required more work than Jackson had anticipated and the game was not released until March 1980.[1]:79 Howard Thompson, owner of Metagaming, decided to release The Fantasy Trip as four separate books instead of a boxed set, and changed his production methods so that Jackson would not be able to check the final proofs of the game. As a result of these actions, Jackson left Metagaming and founded Steve Jackson Games later that year.[1]:79–80 Jackson bought The Space Gamer from Metagaming, and sold the rights to The Fantasy Trip to Metagaming. However, Thompson sought legal action against SJG for the rights to a short wargame called One-Page Bulge, and the lawsuit was settled with an agreement that was reached on November 26, 1981 which gave Jackson full rights to One-Page Bulge, and to Ogre and G.E.V. (whose ownership was questioned during the legal proceedings).[1]:80 Jackson tried to purchase The Fantasy Trip from Thompson after Metagaming ceased operations in April 1983, but Thompson declined the offered price of $250,000.[1]:81

Jackson designed many of the games published by SJ Games, including minigames such as Car Wars (1981) and Illuminati (1983), Undead (1981), and a published version of an informal game played on college campuses, called Killer.[1]:103 Jackson wanted to get into computer gaming software in the early 1980s, but instead wound up licensing gaming rights to Origin Systems, which produced games such as Autoduel (1985) and Ogre (1986).[1]:104 Jackson became interested in designing and publishing a new roleplaying system in the middle of 1981, intending it to be detailed and realistic, logical and well-organized, and adaptable to any setting and any level of play; he announced GURPS in 1983, although the company's magazines delayed development of GURPS until 1984, making the combat system book Man to Man: Fantasy Combat from GURPS (1985) available for Origins 1985, and the full GURPS Basic Set appeared the next year in 1986.[1]:105

On March 1, 1990, the United States Secret Service raided the offices of Steve Jackson Games based on suspicion of illegal hacker activity by game designer Loyd Blankenship, and seized (among other materials and media) his manuscript for GURPS Cyberpunk; when Jackson went to Secret Service headquarters the next day to retrieve his book drafts, he was told that GURPS Cyberpunk was a "handbook for computer crime", despite his protestations that it was just a game. SJG filed a successful lawsuit against the government, which went to trial in 1993 as Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, which was made possible though the newly created civil-rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation.[1]:108–109

In 1995, Sean Punch took over for Jackson as the GURPS line editor.[1]:110 Jackson also designed the strategy card game Munchkin (2001).[1]:112

He is often mistaken for a different Steve Jackson, a British gamebook and video game writer who co-founded Games Workshop. The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that while the UK Jackson was co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, the US Jackson also wrote three books in this series (Scorpion Swamp, Demons of the Deep, and Robot Commando), and the books did not acknowledge that this was a different Steve Jackson.[2]

Jackson is an avid collector of pirate-themed Lego sets. He has written a miniatures game that uses Pirate sets, Evil Stevie's Pirate Game, and has run it at several conventions.

Jackson has exhibited his elaborate Chaos Machine at several science fiction or wargaming conventions, including the 2006 Worldcon.[3]

On May 11, 2012, Steve Jackson's Kickstarter funding project for the 6th Edition of the OGRE game became the highest grossing boardgame project at Kickstarter, with 5,512 backers pledging a total of $923,680. The success of the OGRE project has prompted a new project (date of start/finish unknown at this time) to help re-launch the popular Car Wars franchise as well. The use of Kickstarter as a combination of market research tool and funding program for development is a first in the gaming industry.[4]


External links

  • Steve Jackson's official website
  • Details on Steve Jackson Games v. US Secret Service
  • Brief Steve Jackson Biography
  • BoardGameGeek
  • Interview by Tom Vasel
  • Interview on Off The Hook just after the Secret Service case
  • Pen & Paper listing for Steve Jackson (US)

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.