Mechner, 45, wanted to be a filmmaker, but, in 1989, the young computer programmer created one of the most popular and lauded titles of all time, Prince of Persia, for the Mac II, and other long forgotten consoles from the likes of Amstrad and Atari. Mechner enrolled in film school and made a short documentary about poor living conditions in Cuba, but it took him more than 20 years to achieve his real ambition, as the screenwriter of this summer's $200m film adaptation of Prince of Persia, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
The Japanese designer Miyamoto, 57, is among the most established stars in gaming. Among the vastly successful titles on his CV are the classic franchises Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda, inspired by his childhood exploration of the countryside around his Kyoto home. Miyamoto's has mostly created games for Nintendo, and he added to his list of hits in the 2000s when he produced Nintendogs for the handheld DS console.
The games of British designer Molyneux, 50, have earned him the first OBE for services to games, and the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. The creator of so-called "God" games, his first major title was 1989's Populous. More recently he was responsible for the fantasy role-playing game Fable, which is about to release a second sequel. He is also involved in designing games for Project Natal, the highly-anticipated "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for the Xbox 360.
Jason West and Vince Zampella
Until recently, West and Zampella were president and CEO of Infinity Ward, worshipped by gamers for their blockbuster Second World War game Call of Duty. When they were fired by parent company Activision, half of their workers went with them. The pair are still embroiled in a legal battle with their former employees after serving the publisher a $36m lawsuit over royalties for Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare. In the meantime, West and Zampella have set up a studio of their own, Respawn Entertainment, and signed up to work with Activision's rival industry giant, EA Games.
Alex Seropian and Jason Jones
Seropian and Jones co-founded Bungie and created the Halo series for Xbox. Bungie was founded in 1991 and acquired by Microsoft in 2000, in time for the company to attach its first-person shooter game Halo: Combat Evolved to its new console. Bungie and Microsoft then parted ways, and Seropian is now VP of game development for Disney. Jones continues to oversee production of the Halo series.