With the legendary Missile Command among his achievements, Dave Theurer is a genuine pioneer of video gaming who also created classic titles such as Tempest and I, Robot as one of Atari Inc.’s legendary arcade game designers from the 1980s.

These games hold immense importance in the history of gaming – without them, there would be no industry, so it is only fitting that Theurer should be awarded for his creativity in the early days of gaming with a Pioneer Award at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards.

They don’t give these awards to just anyone; to start off with you have to have been involved in an era that helped create modern game genres and define methods of user interaction.

For the uninitiated, Missile Command, was a seminal trackball-based shooter that was a milestone in early computer games. It was followed in 1981, by Theurer’s iconic, vector-based tube shooter release Tempest.

Thought of as the original psychedelic shooter, the game inspired a slew of other innovations in arcade video games and was an early title to use 3D perspective in gameplay.

Of course, like many gaming pioneers a career in enterprise software lay ahead of Theurer, but not before he designed the cult groundbreaking arcade title I, Robot, released in 1983. Although not commercially successful at the time, I, Robot is recognised as being the first commercial video game with filled 3D polygon graphics, as well as being the first video game to feature camera control options.

It was literally decades ahead of its time.

“It’s very difficult to find a game developer who doesn’t have a single memory of Missile Commander or his other classic, Tempest,” said Meggan Scavio, general manager of the Game Developers Conference.  “We’re delighted to honor Dave Theurer for his work as a designer which resulted in shaping so many developers’ creative drive in the genre.”

The 12th Annual Choice Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm, at the San Francisco Moscone Center and is open to all Game Developers Conference attendees. If you can’t make it, for the third year running both sets of awards show will be streamed live online via GameSpot.com.

The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, hosted by Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski, is held immediately following the Independent Games Festival Awards.  For more information about the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, check out the official website at www.gamechoiceawards.com – and for information about the 2012 Game Developers Conference, please visit the www.gdconf.com.