Recipient, Game Design, 2008
Garry Donner and Michael Steer are a dynamic duo. They met in 1976, when they both took the commuter train into Detroit for their jobs at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. They played and talked games at lunch, on the train, and walking to and from the train station.
The game company Garry had started in 1974 was out of money. Michael anted up $240 and became a new partner.
Garry started Random Games & Toys in 1974 with Willis Carpenter (now deceased). This venture was a part-time endeavor with full-time hours with a long, winding road to success. Nothing sold in five years! In 1985 Garry quit his day job on the strength of Pocket Trivia game which sold over 10 million units with Hoyle. Michael, after a 10 year “part-time” status, came aboard full time in 1986. At the time, Michael was working as a manager with a computer services company, making good money; secure, successful and earned a Corporate Excellence award. When Random hit the big time, Michael made that legendary decision to quit his day job. Garry and Michael have been an inseparable team ever since, something both highly treasure. The company has grown to six full-time inventors, including Garry’s daughter Wendy. Garry’s wife Karen, and Michael’s wife Barbara, are currently part-time as game testers and office management. Some of the Random Team’s top favorites are Tumbling Monkeys (Mattel), the Express Line (Hasbro), Buzz Word (Patch), Last Word (Buffalo), Hit the Deck (Fundex), Chain Game (Out-of-the-Box Publishing).
Garry is very proud of the team and feels Random is making a real difference in the industry. Random had an absolute banner 2007 with 35 different game licenses throughout the world. Michael, reflecting on the last 22 years and 2000 games says quitting his day job was the best decision he could have made. “It is very satisfying to provide my livelihood through this business Garry and I have created, as well as helping many others succeed in this creative and fun world.”