Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Obligatory Metatopia Post

So I attended Double Exposure’s Metatopia this past week. It goes without saying that it was an invaluable experience (well now I went and said it but you get my point). The Game Design Festival doesn’t come close to describing it. In fact, I can sum it up with one word: wow. Yep, that’s it. That’s all you get. If you want more, circle the date for next year’s Metatopia on your calendar. You won’t be disappointed.

Every con I attend sheds new light on what has been going on in the gaming scene for years and to some extent it saddens me that I did not plunge into this world sooner. My favorite part of Metatopia was meeting people whose books I can see sitting on the shelf next to me as I write this blog post. I look over and think “Hey! I met that guy or gal”. It’s a unique feeling that is not easy to attain with other hobbies or interests.

I’m generally a quiet person until I get to know people and feel comfortable around them. I don’t like to go in with guns blazing so to speak. I used this first conference to carefully feel my way through the waters of the game design community. I was surprised at how approachable most of the people were and how helpful in general everyone was toward me.

Now I’m going to name drop. Not because these people are buddies of mine but because I actually talked to these people. This list is not composed of just game designers, but instead it has a sampling of everyone I managed to talk to at the con. As you will see there was quite a variety of attendees. These are my general first impressions and will probably change if I’m fortunate enough to meet with some of these amazing people at future cons. Please don’t take offense if you are one the people I list and don’t agree with my impressions or categorization, like I said these are just my general impressions of the people I interacted with. I didn’t go out of my way to meet these people, I just let the current of the con take me where it would. Imagine if I had applied myself! I am unforgivably horrible with remembering names, so please TRY to forgive me if you don’t see yours here. I will catch it next time!

In no particular order:

Jennifer Wong (podcaster, game designer) – As friendly as she is charismatic. A growing force in the podcast community. And a budding game designer, she is full of win.

John Stavropoulos (gamer, community organizer NerdNYC) – This is one person I wish I could have spent more time talking with. His infectious enthusiasm for the gaming culture in the area is apparent from the moment you meet him. I’m hoping I can get him to run me through some Dogs in the Vineyard some day!

Ken Hite (game design icon) – His encyclopedic knowledge of games and systems can be seen from space! What do you say to a man this knowledgeable about a field you hope to break into? Also, I’m afraid I nearly insulted him asking about a game he didn’t seem to care for. I’ll fix that with a beer when next we meet!

John Adamus (Editor, Designer, One-man army)– Enthusiastic best describes John. I have a feeling he will be the unseen hand shaping the careers of many local writers and designers.

Fred Hicks(Designer, Publisher, panelist,) – Purple-haired Lord of Loquaciousness. Frank and pragmatic, he was a whirl wind moving through the convention like he owned the place. And I think if you would have asked most attendees, he did.

Brennan Taylor (Game Designer, Publisher, Panelist) – His laugh. You know the laugh. Loud and infectious. The man has a great sense of humor. I’ve played games with him twice now and it’s always a blast. He was perpetually styling in his Bulldogs flight jacket (I was jealous every time I saw it!)

Rob Donoghue
(Game Designer, Publisher, Comedian) – Genuine, thoughtful and surprisingly hilarious. I will never forget the laughs his role-playing brought to the game I played in with him. I really like the way he seemed to actually listen to what I had to say (which wasn’t much). Great guy. You should say hi to him if you ever see him.

Vinny Salzillo–Ubiquitous. I swear he has cloned himself. HE WAS EVERYWHERE. Thanks for making this con happen.

Joshua A.C. Newman (designer) Inspired and passionate. This guy is driven. He has a unique view on games and is a vibrant member of the game design elite. The community needs a ton of people just like him.

Brenden Conway (Gamer, Panelist) – Friendly. He is a catalyst for fun. He hosted a play test panel I attended and played in two games with me.

Hanna Shaffer (Gamer, future designer) – Great smile. Friendly and inquisitive. Her interest in learning more about the gaming scene is apparent. As a gaming newbie she performed admirably in the game I played alongside her. I know I’ll see her back at future cons!

James “Call me Mendez” Hodes (Gamer, Designer) He can bring the funny. Like Brennan Taylor I’ve gamed with him twice now and he has had me cackling every time. Play a game with him, you’ll see.

Tim Rodriguez (Designer, Gamer, podcaster) A great guy (in fact he’s Mister Fantastic). Played in an entertaining game with him and hung out a few times at the con. Listen to his podcast. Check out his kickstarter project.

Russell Morrisey
(Designer,gamer) Friendly and enthusiastic. I’ve been following Russell’s game design progress with interest. I’m rooting for him.

Darren Watts (Publisher, IPR guy!) Friendly and knowledgeable, this gentleman’s IPR booth is the bane of my wallet!

Dave “the Game” Chalker (Secret Santa) I signed an NDA or I would tell you more about the awesomeness that was the Marvel RPG game run by Dave. He’s a great GM and I hope to be in his future games.

Larry Bogucki (Game Designer) This man is on a mission! Support Warparty or else!

Joseph Bloch (Game Designer) Beneath that perpetual scowl lurks an intense game designer passionate about his game Adventures Dark & Deep!

Jim & Meg (play testers for my game Champions of Midralon) – I never caught your last names, but I would like to thank you again for taking part in my spur of the moment play test. The fact that you were laughing and enjoying yourselves so much gave me hope that I’m on the right track with my game.

See who you missed? Now kick yourself in the ass and make your reservations for next year!

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