Biography and Public Warning
Last Revised December 14, 2010
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 Incorporated, is now 30 years old and employs more than 20 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:
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.
- 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 preship.
- 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.
. . . more or less in chronological order
Updated November 1998 - now revised through 12-8-03
Textbooks and Manuals
A Short Collection of Comments Concerning the Place (Rice University Student Handbook, 1975), Game Design, Theory and Practice (with Nick Schuessler); Society for Creative Anachronism Known Worlde Handboke (editor); The INWO Book.
Thera Rising (with David Pulver).
Interactive Game Books
Scorpion Swamp, Demons of the Deep, Robot Commando, Battle Road, and (with Creede and Sharleen
Lambard) Fuel's Gold.
Trading Card Games and Supplements
INWO (Illuminati: New World Order), Assassins supplement to INWO, Dino Hunt, INWO SubGenius. Illuminati Y2K.
Boardgames and Supplements
Ogre, Melee, G.E.V., Wizard, Raid on Iran, One-Page Bulge, Car Wars (with Chad Irby) and many supplements, Undead, Illuminati and Illuminati Expansion Sets 1 and 2, Man to Man, Battlesuit, Shockwave, Star Fist, Coup, Hacker, Hacker II, Illuminati Brainwash, Munchkin, Chez Dork, Chez Greek, Munchkin 2: Unnatural Axe, Star Munchkin, Chez Grunt, Strange Synergy, Dork Tower (with Philip Reed), Munchkin Fu, Munchkin 3 - Clerical Errors, Munchkin 3.5 - Clerical Errata, Ninja Burger
Zombie Dice, Cthulhu Dice.
Miniatures Rule Systems
The Fantasy Trip, GURPS (the Generic Universal Roleplaying System), Car Wars Gamebook System, Tribes (with David Brin).
Death Test, Death Test II, Tollenkar's Lair, Convoy, GURPS Fantasy, GURPS Horseclans, GURPS Space and Space
Atlas (with William A. Barton), GURPS Magic, GURPS Time Travel (with John M. Ford), GURPS Traveller: Planetary Survey 1 Ð Kamsii (with Loren Wiseman), Munchkin Players' Guide (with Andrew Hackard), Munchkin Players' Handbook (with Andrew Hackard), Munchkin Masters' Guide (with Andrew Hackard), Munchkin Monster Guide (with Andrew Hackard)
Game Editing and Development
Monsters! Monsters!, Godsfire, Chitin
I, Rivets, Necromancer, Globbo, Star Traders, Car Wars Card Game, GURPS High-Tech, GURPS Supers, GURPS Riverworld, GURPS Cyberpunk, GURPS Martial Arts, GURPS Uplift, GURPS Psionics, GURPS Vikings, GURPS Camelot, GURPS Old West, GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel, Tooniversal Tour Guide, GURPS Illuminati, GURPS Fantasy 2, Toon Tales, GURPS Aztecs, GURPS Dinosaurs, Knightmare Chess, In Nomine, GURPS Discworld (later editions titled Discworld Roleplaying Game), GURPS Traveller, Authentic Thaumaturgy, GURPS Magic Items 2, Tile Chess, GURPS Bestiary, Chez Geek, Chez Geek 2, Chez Geek 3, Proteus, Frag, Frag Death Match, Battle Cattle Card Game, The Ogre Book, In Nomine Anime, GURPS Character Builder, GURPS Traveller: Alien Races 4, GURPS Traveller: Planetary Survey 2 through 6, GURPS WWII, Frag Deadlands, Frag PvP, X-Bugs (SJ Games editions), Rombin's Laws of Good Game Mastering, GURPS WWII: Iron Cross, Spooks, In Nomine Ethereal Players' Guide, Munchkin Master's Screen, GURPS Psionics, GURPS Fantasy Bestiary, GURPS Transhuman Space: High Deep Beyond
Fnorder, Munchkin Level Counter, Zombie Dice.
Ogre computer game (Origin Systems).
Principia Discordia (editor, SJ Games edition).
Unclassifiable or Unspeakable
Vigilante (editor), Cthulhu Valentines.