Got this little bit o news in my inbox today announcing Toby Gard's entrance into ELSPA's Hall of Fame:

    Wednesday, 27th August 2003; ECTS, London - The creator of the global games icon Lara Croft is to be honoured by the UK computer and video games industry.

    ELSPA, the Entertainment Leisure Software Publishers' Association, has announced a new initiative designed to celebrate the achievement of the game's industry's pioneers. The ELSPA 'Hall of Fame' has been launched to honour those who have helped put the UK games industry on the map, and the inaugural entrant has been revealed as Tomb Raider creator Toby Gard.

    Since its launch back in 1996, Tomb Raider and its star Lara Croft have established themselves as icons of the gaming industry, selling in excess of 28 million copies worldwide and attracting the interest of the mainstream media and consumer. Across Europe and Japan, Tomb Raider is the biggest-selling franchise on PlayStation. Lara remains the most recognisable gaming character across Europe* and the second film based on the character - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, staring Angelina Jolie - has just been released in the UK.

    "Tomb Raider is the UK games industry's most successful export, doing more to promote games to a wider audience than perhaps any title previously," says ELSPA director general Roger Bennett. "Of course, the game's success is down to many people, but we felt it right to reward the man with the original vision for igniting the spark that fuelled the fire.

    "Over time, we intend this Hall of Fame to swell in numbers, as individuals from across the industry drive the business forward. We will be honouring people from all sides of the industry, from development to publishing, from marketing to journalism. The Hall of Fame is all about recording the achievements of extraordinary individuals - we want generations to come to know the talent of the industry trailblazers."

    The second entrant into the Hall of Fame will be announced at the InDin, the industry charity dinner, in December. The Hall of Fame is on display at the ELSPA offices, Wardour Street, London.