Video gaming makes up half of the list of this year's Jim Henson Honors, with Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and PC game Spore both landing awards.
Established in 2005, the awards program acknowledges organizations, individuals or products that reflect the core values and philosophy of the legendary Jim Henson and the company he founded. Criteria used in the evaluation process include a commitment to creativity, innovative applications of art and technology, and inspiration of others.
"The recipients of this year's Jim Henson Honors demonstrate true creativity and commitment to innovation," said Brian Henson. "They have raised the bar in their respective fields, from Shigeru Miyamoto's groundbreaking work fusing entertainment and technology at Nintendo, to the Centre for Puppetry Arts' dedication to enriching lives through arts education, this year's honorees, who so strongly reflect the traditions of The Jim Henson Company."
"Each of this year's recipients inspired us in different ways," said Lisa Henson. "In addition to Shigeru Miyamoto and the Centre for Puppetry Arts, we also honour the visual brilliance and topicality of street artist Shepard Fairey, who tapped into a generation's profound desire for change, and the incredibly imaginative and provocative world of Spore. Varied and vast in terms of their impact, this year's four honorees are true models of originality, innovation and ingenuity. It is a privilege to honour their outstanding work."
The Jim Henson Celebration Honor: Shigeru Miyamoto, Video Game Designer, Nintendo:
The highest Henson Honour goes to an individual, organisation or product that makes the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life. As the creator of some of the world's best-known video games such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros. and the Zelda series (which have collectively sold more than 350 million copies), and the person who ultimately oversees every Nintendo game, Shigeru Miyamoto has reignited America's love for gaming with the creation of Nintendo's hugely popular Wii console. Taking the application of video games a giant step forward, Miyamoto recently developed the Wii Fit, dedicated to improving people's physical health and well being. The game not only serves to entertain and give players a workout, it is also being used as a rehabilitation tool - known as "Wii-hab" - by physical and occupational therapists to help patients with balance, endurance and core strengthening.
The Jim Henson Technology Honor: Spore, Video Game:
The Technology Honour acknowledges an individual, organisation or product who/which demonstrates ground-breaking technology in a creative way. Spore, the popular video game created in 2008 by celebrated game designer Will Wright and EA gives gamers their own personal universe in a box where players build their own galaxy from scratch. The game is meticulously conceived and executed with infinite detail, allowing a gamer to design and create his own character - a digital alter ego - providing for an unprecedented level of user creativity as his being evolves from a single-cell organism to a galactic god over hundreds of millions of years.