Steve Jackson graduated from Rice University in Houston. While there, he spent most of his time playing wargames and working on the student paper, the Thresher (he spent two years as editor). He became a writer and game publisher, proving that college can be very valuable as long as you don’t let classes get in your way.He has survived involvements with the Republican Party (alternate delegate to the 1972 convention, but he got better — he now considers himself a small-l libertarian), the SCA (former landed baron and National Chronicler) and law school (escaping before the bar exam; game design was more fun). Steve’s first professional design work was for Metagaming, which published his Ogre, its sequel G.E.V., Melee, Wizard, and several other games. In 1980, Steve bought the rights to Ogre and The Space Gamer magazine from Metagaming and started his own company. That company, Steve Jackson Games, is now 35 years old and employs more than 40 people. One of the first releases on the SJ Games label, Raid on Iran (1981), was a critical and sales success. The next year, SJ Games released its first big hit, Car Wars . . . followed shortly by Illuminati. He’s still writing games. Some of the high points:
- In 1983, Steve was elected to the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame.
- In 1984, he tried his hand at interactive books or “game novels.” His first one, Scorpion Swamp, was published by Penguin and spent six months on the British children’s bestseller list.
- 1986 saw the launch of GURPS, the “Generic Universal Roleplaying System.” As of 2010, the GURPS system — now in its fourth edition — has won a number of awards and is still being supported with new releases.
- In 1990, SJ Games made national news when it filed suit after a destructive raid by the Secret Service. The SS agents, in search of “hackers,” nearly forced the company out of business by seizing hardware and data files. With the help of the newly formed Electronic Frontier Foundation, SJ Games took the case to federal court, proved that the raid had been unjustified and improperly executed, and won more than $50,000 in damages. The EFF remains active to prevent similar abuses.
- In 1994, Steve reworked the old faithful Illuminati to jump on the trading-card bandwagon. INWO (Illuminati: New World Order) became the company’s first million-dollar pre-ship.
- In 2001 came Munchkin, which started as a silly card-game parody of a dungeon crawl and grew into the biggest hit we’ve ever had. For the next few years, most of his creative effort went into Munchkin sequels and supplements.
- In 2009, Steve created two quick dice games, Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice. Both were hobby hits which made it onto mass-market shelves . . . and sold more than any other non-Munchkin release that year.
- Steve is a dedicated SF reader and fan, and enjoys attending both gaming and SF conventions. He writes filksongs (adequately) and sings (very badly). His other interests include gardening (especially water gardening), Lego, pirates, trains, beekeeping, dinosaurs and tropical fish. In his copious free time, he looks at webcomics, eats, and sleeps.