The game indsutry always needs some rock star geeks. And the current one is Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski. The lead designer of Epic Games is behind the brawny sci-fi shooter Gears of War, one of the fastest sellers ever for the Xbox 360 and a coming film from New Line. The game, for all its flash, are suitably geek-friendly - complete with a DIY editing program to create your own levels. It’s all part of Bleszinski's grand design to put the power back in the machine. “There are a lot of designers who want to quit the blockbuster game thing,” he once told me, “but I’m a go-big-or-go-home big action blood on the screen all hell breaking loose kind of guy.” And the fanboys who churn out CliffyB YouTube devotionals and t-shirts love him for it. After all, he’s one of their own: a bratty kid from the suburbs who grew up dressing like a ninja and coding his own games. While most game designers are anonymous cogs, CliffyB’s pyrotechnics have made him the most iconic people in the industry - whether including a pulpy chainsaw gun in Gears or paling around with pornstars in a giant white bunny suit. “I want to show the world how rad it is to be a game designer,” he says.
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.