Jon Pickens

Jon Pickens

Game developer and editor
Date of Birth: 12.08.1954
Country: USA

Biography of John Picken

John Picken is a game developer and editor who has worked on a number of projects related to the role-playing system 'Dungeons & Dragons' - first with 'TSR' and then with 'Wizards of the Coast'. He was born in Mishawaka, Indiana. In 1968, Picken developed an interest in miniature war games and received the game 'Blitzkrieg' as a Christmas present from his parents. A few months later, he came across an advertisement for the new magazine 'Strategy & Tactics' in an issue of 'Popular Mechanics'. Picken ordered a trial issue of the magazine, which sparked his interest to an extreme degree. That entire summer, he mowed other people's lawns to earn enough money to purchase the games advertised in the magazine.

Jon Pickens

Around the same time, Picken also developed a desire to acquire old issues of the magazine. Unfortunately, the publisher did not sell old issues. However, Picken managed to find a collector who had the desired issues, and that collector turned out to be none other than Gary Gygax. Gygax invited Picken to a game enthusiasts convention in Madison, and coincidentally, Picken's father had a trip planned to that area and was able to take him to the meeting place. At the convention, Picken met Gygax and later, Gygax invited him to another convention called 'Gen Con'.

Of course, Picken did not neglect his education. He attended Valparaiso University, where he studied English and economics. He graduated from the university in 1976 with a bachelor's degree. While in college, Picken continued to attend gaming conventions. In 1973, at one such convention, he first tried the new game 'Chainmail' by TSR. A year later, the first version of the iconic role-playing system 'Dungeons & Dragons' was released.

After college, Picken began writing articles for the dedicated 'Dragon' magazine. After some time, he decided to join 'TSR' and applied for two positions - designer and editor. Ultimately, Picken became an editor. Alongside his work on the company's main projects, he also edited various game publications. From 1978 onwards, Picken oversaw the creation of a number of projects related to the 'Dungeons & Dragons' system, serving as an editor, designer, coordinator, and art director.