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AbleGamers' Steven Spohn and 'Dragon Quest' Creator Yuji Horii Honored at GDCA 2022

The Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC 2022 has revealed the recipients of the ceremony's prestigious special awards. Steven Spohn, a driving force for accessibility in games and Senior Director of Development of the AbleGamers charity, will receive the Ambassador Award. Yuji Horii, the creator of the legendary Dragon Quest series, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of dedication to the craft of video game development.

The Ambassador Award will be presented to Steven Spohn for his work advocating for accessibility in video games as a streamer, award-winning author and the Senior Director of Development of the AbleGamers charity. Featured on CNN, NBC and other mainstream news outlets as an assistive technology and game accessibility expert, Spohn champions for people with disabilities to use the video game space as a means of defeating social isolation. Spohn and the AbleGamers charity have pushed the inclusive efforts of the industry forward by training and consulting studios while connecting them directly with players who can share their personal experiences.

Yuji Horii will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his groundbreaking work as the creator of the beloved Dragon Quest series, which has influenced and inspired role-playing game design since the release of Dragon Quest in 1986. Horii began his professional career as a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines before winning a game programming contest sponsored by Enix (now Square Enix), which led to his work with the publisher that lasts to this day. The seminal Dragon Quest series has spanned over 35 years and sold over 76 million units, with the most recent game in the series, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, released in 2021.

Recipients of the Ambassador and Lifetime Achievement Awards were chosen by this year’s Game Developers Choice Special Awards Jury, which includes game industry veterans Chandana Ekanayake, Greg Kasavin, Dana Nightingale, Siobhan Reddy, and Kiki Wolfkill, following suggestions from the International Choice Awards Network (ICAN).

The 22nd annual GDCA ceremony takes place at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 23, held in conjunction with the Independent Games Festival Awards. The ceremony is available to watch in-person for all GDC 2022 pass-holders (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch). 

GDC returns in-person to San Francisco, March 21-25, 2022—registration is now open! For more information on GDC 2022, including our virtual options, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC22 hashtag on social media.

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