GDC To Honor Newgrounds Founder Tom Fulp And Industry Veteran Laralyn McWilliams At 21st Annual Awards


The Game Developers Choice Awards will honor Newgrounds creator Tom Fulp and industry veteran Laralyn McWilliams on July 21 as part of this year’s all-virtual GDC.

Fulp will receive the Pioneer Award for his creation and continued support of the website Newgrounds and Newgrounds Portal, which allows users to self-publish games, art, and animations to the internet for the whole world to enjoy. In the early 2000s this meant an explosion of Flash games and animations that heavily influenced internet culture as we know it today. Fulp also founded the game studio Behemoth, going on to create games like Alien Hominid (which began life as a Flash game on Newgrounds) and later smash-hits like Castle Crashers.

McWilliams will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her nearly 30-year career in the video game industry, which saw her work as creative director for Sony Online Entertainment’s MMO Free Realms and lead designer on the original Full Spectrum Warrior. She currently works at Microsoft as principal creative design director for customer success engineering. A regular conference speaker on a number of game-related topics, she is also an outspoken advocate of the idea that games are for everyone and for increased diversity in game development.


“Tom Fulp and Laralyn McWilliams have left an indelible impression on the video game industry and enabled and inspired so many others to create games,” says Katie Stern, GDC VP of Entertainment Media at Informa Tech, via a press release. “We are honored to have them join us at the Game Developers Choice Awards and they could not be more deserving of these awards.”

This year’s recipients were chosen by the GDC’s special awards jury, which is comprised of numerous industry veterans including PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 Lead System Architect Mark Cerny, Double Fine VP of Development Caryl Shaw, [email protected] Director Chris Charla, Double Loop Games founder and CEO Emily Greer, and Necrosoft Games Creative Director Brandon Sheffield.

Last year’s Pioneer Award went to Roberta Williams for her role as co-founder of Sierra On-line (later Sierra Entertainment) and her work on the influential King’s Quest game series. Past recipients of the Pioneer Award include Valve’s Gabe Newell, Sega’s Yu Suzuki, and Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson. Former Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Deus Ex and Thief creator Warren Spector, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, and, most recently, Uncharted writer and director Amy Hennig.


The awards will be available to watch for GDC 2021 pass-holders and will be held alongside the Independent Games Festival Awards. GDC 2021 will take place from July 19-23 and will feature more than 400 sessions for attendees to participate in virtually.

Watch live streams, videos, and more from GameSpot’s summer event.
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