The Midwest Gaming Classic is pleased to welcome the following industry professionals to our event this year! We expect to host more than 100 special guests, so make sure to stop back as we update the list.
List subject to change.
Walter Banasiak is a Chicago area filmmaker and content creator for Channel Awesome, Inc. Some of his recent film work includes City of Gold and the miniseries, The Infinity Trinity. His contributions to Channel Awesome consist of shows like Awesome Comic, Top 5, Fanscription and regular guest appearances on The Nostalgia Critic.
Don Bluth Studios, Disney, Silver Phoenix Entertainment*
Philo was an animator for games Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, but is perhaps best known for other projects he helped animate – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under, The Secret of NIMH, Happily Ever After, An American Tail, and special effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture!
Scott developed his penchant for voice acting and eventually made characters a fixture of his burgeoning morning radio career. Scott
was tapped to provide voices for Seattle area developer Humongous Entertainment, where he became the voice of Fatty Bear and titles Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Spy Fox.Burns also played mature characters and monsters for interactive gaming including Monolith’s critically acclaimed, “The Operative: No One Lives Forever” as well as Tron 2.0, Blood II: The Chosen, Police Quest: SWAT 2, TERA and F.E.A.R.2: Project Origin.
In 2002, Nintendo hired Scott to provide their first-ever english “speaking” voice for Bowser with the release of “Super Mario Sunshine,”
Today Scott continues to immerse himself in voiceover, providing characters for radio spots, narrating for corporate entities and even singing if ears are plugged tight enough.
Tamara Chambers is an actress and comedian from California. She studied Acting at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in California but now lives in Chicago where she hides from the snow. Tamara is on the internet show The Nostalgia Critic alongside Doug Walker and Malcolm Ray and is known mostly for her Character “Hyper Fan Girl”. You can find her on Chicago stand up stages, on YouTube, on her couch in a onesie playing Fallout, in commercials for milkshakes and pharmaceutical companies, and other extremely fun places like that.
Creator of such video game classics as Rampage, Xenophobe and General Chaos, Brian F Colin is a vastly experienced Game Designer, Artist, Animator and CEO with over 80 video game titles to his credit…. including the creation of some of the most-popular, highest-earning & best-selling titles in video game history!
Recently inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame, Brian is well-known for sharing enthusiastic, first-hand, anecdotal insights into over three decades of game design and development; from creating Arcade classics in the early 80’s right up to stories straight from the sets and locations of the recent Rampage Movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Pat Contri is a game historian, collector, and online content producer known for Pat the NES Punk, Flea Market Madness, and The Video Game Years. He is the executive producer of Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary and has authored two books: Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library and Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library.
Christian A. Deitering
Christian A. Deitering
You may know Christian as the “Ferris Bueller” of the Internets, owner of the unorthodox Dragon Warrior collection, producer of the Earthbound documentary Mother to Earth, and/or the cofounder of the Let’s Play Gaming Expo. A lifetime collector of Nintendo, his most recent achievement was acquiring the NES SimCity prototype and creating it’s first GameFAQ.
After getting started in air hockey in 2017, Allison “Scorpion” DiMichele
has quickly risen through the ranks of the sport to become one of the
highest rated women players on the planet and is aiming to become the first woman ranked in the top ten of all players.
When she’s not dominating the table in Chicago-based weekly tournaments, she’s hard at work making deals, closing sales, and trying to get her french bulldog Pudge to eat his green beans.
Gary is an author and historian for the hobby of pinball, perhaps most well known for his outstanding book “The Lure of the Silver Ball.” Gary has also done countless presentations and seminars to help share his knowledge and keep the history of pinball alive, including helping to invite many of our pinball VIPs to the show this year!
A former writer and programmer in the video game industry, Goldberg has had a lifelong fascination with all things electronic entertainment since first playing PONG and Tank as a child at his local arcades in the 70’s. As the former site director of IGN/GameSpy’s ‘ClassicGaming.Com’ and a current freelancer for Retro Gamer magazine, Goldberg has been writing about video games for 20 years. Along with Dan Loosen and Gary Heil, Goldberg is also a co-founder of the Midwest Gaming Classic, one of the largest electronic entertainment expos in the United States open to the general public. In 2004, Goldberg also founded the Electronic Entertainment Museum (E2M), a non-profit archive whose mission is to help preserve the history and artifacts of the video game and home computer industries. In line with this goal, he’s also a member of the International Game Development Association’s (IGDA) Game Preservation SIG, a hub and community for those interested in digital game preservation and history. Whew!
The Ben Heck Show*, Spooky Pinball
Video Game Hacker, Pinball Designer, Pinball Software
Ben is a master hacker, engineer and tech hobbyist who has done things that touch nearly every aspect of the show… including naming it in 2002! Ben has hacked consoles to create portable versions of them, created pinball machines that were then manufactured by Spooky Pinball, talked with Dan and Terry Diebold to help fix the Nintendo Playstation Prototype and runs a popular online show, the Ben Heck Show, while he’s at it all!
Fans of animation will recognize Richard Horvitz as the voice of many iconic characters, including Invader Zim, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Daggett from The Angry Beavers and Alpha 5 from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In addition to Richard’s animation work, gamers will recognize him from his many video game roles in such classics as Pyschonauts (RAZ), Rachet and Clank series (Zoni, Pollyx, Zurgo) Destroy All Humans (Orthopox) and Skylanders (Kaos) to name a few.
Richard began his acting career on camera and many may recall his role as Alan Eakian in Paramount Pictures 1980’s cult classic Summer School.
James (Jim) Jarosz, studied film and animation at Columbia College in Chicago back in the mid 90s. He has work on several indie films from acting to camera and sound to props and practical effects. Jim has been a featured extra in a few major motion pictures including Road to Perdition and Public Enemies. He has worked for Channel Awesome for the past five years in several capacities. More notably, as Doug Walker’s photoshop guy and camera man for Nostalgia Critic, and as Quinn the camera man on Demo Reel. The past year Jim has made several props and costumes for the NC and even a bit of animation. He is also prop master and set designer for many of Channel Awesome’s up coming new shows.
Epic Quest Productions, TSR
editor, game designer, author
Legendary game designer Harold Johnson will be at MGC with his company, Epic Quest Productions! Harold started with TSR in 1978 as a copy editor on the original Dungeon Masters Guide! Since then, he has designed modules for popular role-playing games like Dragonlance and Indiana Jones, as well as working on countless D&D projects!
For the past 13 years, Brad Jones has been the creator and star of the popular YouTube and Channel Awesome series The Cinema Snob, a satirical look at exploitation cinema throughout the decades. As well as portraying The Cinema Snob on a weekly basis, Brad also keeps very busy, having created the animated series Lloyd, the movie review show Midnight Screenings, and is also the writer of the feature films The Cinema Snob Movie and the religious parody film Jesus Bro.
Ryan Krippendorf is the owner of Krippendorf Games LLC. Krippendorf Games is an independent game design company in Wisconsin that launched its first game, Vampire Hunter the Card Game, on Kickstarter in March of 2017. His upcoming projects are “Yes Chef!” And “Outfoxed.” Ryan also works as an art educator teaching high school art. He is a Wisconsin native and a UW-Milwaukee graduate.
IGN, USGamer, Retronauts*
Retronauts is perhaps the most well known retro gaming podcast, and Bob Mackey is one of the people behind it! Having worked in gaming journalism for sites like IGN and USGamer, Mackey brings his vast knowledge of gaming history to every project he participates in.
Keith Matejka is a game designer, game publisher, and avid gamer out of Madison, Wisconsin. His small board gaming publishing company, Thunderworks Games, was founded in 2013 and has published eight games to date: Bullfrogs, Roll Player, Roll Player: Monsters & Minions, Roll Player: Fiends & Familiars, Blend Off, Dual Powers: Revolution 1917, Lockup: A Roll Player Tale, and Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale -of which he designed Bullfrogs, and Roll Player (plus expansions).
Keep an eye out for the next offering from Thunderworks- Roll Player Adventures, a cooperative narrative adventure game set in the world of Roll Player for 1-4 players. Keith has also partnered with Pencil First games to design many of the solo modes for their games as well as the 2-player game Skulk Hollow. He is married to is very supportive wife, Claire, and has an amazing son named Isaac
Voted “Most Likely To Be Someone Else” by his high school classmates, Maurice LaMarche has been doing character voices and impressions since his childhood. He started actually getting paid for it at the tender age of 19, when he began performing standup comedy at Toronto’s “Yuk Yuk’s” comedy club, launching his career at the same time as longtime friends Howie Mandel and Jim Carrey. After moving to Los Angeles in 1980, Maurice began a ten-year stint in standup touring as the opening act for such performers as Rodney Dangerfield, George Carlin, Kool & The Gang, and The Temptations/The Four Tops Tour. In 1985, Maurice began a second career in the wonderful world of animation voiceovers, finding himself cast as Chief Quimby in Inspector Gadget, and Egon Spengler in The Real Ghostbusters in rapid succession. The work has kept coming ever since; he has performed on over one hundred animated series, and has been Emmy-nominated three times (once in Daytime, twice in Primetime) for his voice acting: First, in 1990, for the primetime politically satirical puppet show D.C. Follies, starring Fred Willard; then again in 1999 for playing The Brain in Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky & The Brain (he won ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Award later that year for playing the megalomaniacal mouse), and this past year, he was again nominated, and this time, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in Matt Groening’s Futurama, where he plays more than seventy regular, frequently-recurring, and one-off characters, including Morbo The Newscaster, Calculon, The Donbot, Clamps, Hedonismbot, and, Zapp Brannigan’s long-suffering First Officer, Kif Kroker.
Maurice is also often heard in the commercial world as the voice of Toucan Sam (spokesbird of Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal, a part he’s played since 1987), and he is especially proud to have been chosen, beginning in the summer of 2009, to be the current signature Voice of Lexus.
Gold Standard Air Hockey*
Ambassador, Top Ranked Player
One of the top air hockey players in the world, Dan Meyer, is happy to teach players skills, run some fun tournaments, and share his love of the air hockey! Dan recently finished 5th in the World Championships, and is a two time Doubles World Champion.
Known in classic gaming and Atari Jaguar communities as “The Ultimate
Atarian”, Fard Muhammad has worked for Channel Awesome and Stoned Gremlin Productions in different capacities . On-camera, he has appeared on many shows and movies, including *The Nostalgia Critic*, *Dragon Bored*,* Jesus Bro*, and* Disco*. He also made appearances on Channel Awesome’s Twitch stream with his VR rig. Behind the camera, he’s been responsible for animating the Channel Awesome logo and the *Nostalgia Critic* intro sequence, and additionally designed the *DisneyCember* intro sequence. Outside of Channel Awesome, he has provided his acting, animation, and voiceover talents to many videos and podcasts– most notably, he is the voice of the intro to the *Dennis Miller Option* podcast. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram (@fardmuhammad)
Brett has been designing hobby games for almost two decades. He broke into the industry with his first published game, Nanuk, released by Steve Jackson Games in 2009. Since then, he has evaded the authorities and gone on to release four additional games with various publishers, including his 2018 Golden Geek Award 2-Player Game Nominee Dual Powers: Revolution 1917, published by Thunderworks Games.
IGN, 1UP, USGamer, Retronauts*
Bob Mackey and Jeremy Parish of Retronauts will be at the Midwest Gaming Classic April 14 and 15 in Milwaukee, WI! Retronauts was started over ten years ago as a podcast featuring games of the past, and continues today weekly covering a diverse range of retro gaming topics!
Milwaukee Company of Gamers*, Verika Model & Gamer Gal*
A nerd-girl with a fashion modeling background, Erika “Verika” Phillips found a way to combine two of the things she loves by becoming a published model in the board gaming industry. She enjoys promoting the value of gaming through the products she has appeared in. In a predominantly male hobby, she aims to break down the perceptions of typical female gaming stereotypes by showing females can be smart, strong, funny, and anything else they want to be for themselves. She hopes her example leads to females becoming increasingly interested in gaming!
Jordan “Savage Giggles” can best be described as an optimistic video game enthusiast, with a knack for shooter and role playing games. She has worked gaming events the last nine years for companies such as Microsoft/343, Turtle Beach, Corsair, OriginPC, and Wargaming. She was also a NOS sponsored competitive Halo player in Major League Gaming and broadcasts her game play on Twitch in her free time.
Brian Quezada has been playing competitive air hockey regularly for the
last decade, recently finishing 6th in the World Championships. Along with his teammate, Dan Meyer, Q is a two time doubles world champion. Brian enjoys discussing strategy and tips for air hockey with anyone who wants to learn.
From telling you about the new McCafe items at McDonald’s to tormenting the Nostalgia Critic as Satan, Malcolm Ray is an actor, and voice actor. His skills go beyond acting with professional training in film and video as his major at Columbia College Chicago. In the span of his Bachelor career at Columbia, Malcolm has successfully completed his Interdisciplinary Film Degree, been the casting director for a practicum film, interned at O’Connor Casting, and has begun a professional acting career. He’s also studied courses in Columbia’s Radio and Theatre Departments including; Voice Over, Voice Acting For Animation, Radio Production, Stage Voice and more. Malcolm is represented as talent at the Stewart Talent agency in Chicago. As a freelance actor, he is currently hired talent for the online production company Channel Awesome. For three years today, he’s appeared alongside Doug Walker in many episodes of “Nostalgia Critic”.
Heather is the resident Channel Awesome Twitch Queen and can be seen on camera throughout the week in addition to running tech behind the scenes for the live-streams. She first joined the cast of Channel Awesome in 2016 for the show Awesome Comics. Since then, she has also appeared in and written for Orbit Report, Top 5, and Nostalgia Critic. In addition to Channel Awesome, she has her own Twitch variety channel (twitch.tv/heatherreusz) focusing mainly on story-driven games. When not gaming, Heather enjoys watching movies, TV shows, and anime and drinking craft beer with her friends. Find her on Twitter (@heatherreusz) or Instagram (@hreusz).
Wisconsin Ghostbusters, Wisconsin Star Cars
Andy decided it was time to bust some heads, in a spiritual sense of course, he needed the right vehicle to do it in… so Andy created a replica of the iconic Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and will be bringing it to the show to share! Ask Andy about the work that went into recreating one of the most recognizable movie cars, and how he feels about that car being the star of the new teaser trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters movie!
John Riggs started his YouTube channel in November 2014 as means to showcase his love for video games and breakfast cereal. It features a variety of topics including how to edit your own Nintendo games, how to clean and ‘fix’ your old carts with ‘Open Cart Surgery’ and showcases new technology that most may not have known about. He also gets a lot of help from his daughters who are featured in his videos regularly. John’s a regular guest on the Metal Jesus Rocks channel, is “taller than I expected” and is looking forward to his first time at MGC!
Adam Ruben is a writer, comedian, and molecular biologist. His most
recent book, Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver
Ball, explores the past, present, and future of pinball. Adam has
appeared on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, the Weather Channel,
Discovery International, Netflix, and NPR; he currently hosts Outrageous
Acts of Science on the Science Channel. At one time, Adam was the
80th-ranked pinball player in the world. Then he had kids.
Japanese American Actor. Very proud son to a Navy veteran and Mother born and raised in Japan. Known for Star Wars Resistance, Hawaii Five-0, Days of Our Lives and Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Cultured through living in many countries but Southern California is considered home. Studied martial arts, Tae Kwon Do, Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling.
Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Cartoon Studios, Film Roman Studios, Netflix
Producer, Writer, Artist
Tad Stones is a Producer / Writer / Artist who started his animation career at Walt Disney Features then moved to Disney Imagineering to design rides for EPCOT Center. He was one of the founders of Walt Disney TV Animation where he created such shows as Chip ’n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck along with several feature spinoffs. After 30 years at Disney, Tad produced several direct to video features, most notably two Hellboy Animated movies, Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron. He he also cowrote and directed the Netflix Original Series, Kulipari: An Army of Frogs.
Charles Urbach is an award-winning writer and colored pencil illustrator with more than 25 years of experience in design, publishing, and illustration. His detailed original concepts and drawings have appeared on book covers and merchandise, and hundreds of his illustrations have appeared in gaming products including: Magic: The Gathering, Heroclix, Legend of the Five Rings, A Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, various Star Wars products, Das Schwarze Auge, Infinite City, Mage Knight, Everquest, Call of Cthulhu, Esper Genesis, DoomTown Reloaded, and many others. He is frequently a guest and instructor at conventions and tournaments around the world, where his artwork is displayed and sold. Charles enjoys blending spiritual, literary, and surrealistic references with the more familiar archetypes of fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. Among his accomplishments, he is a two time Chesley Award winner and has won awards at Gen Con, Dragon Con, Origins, CONvergence, and many other conventions around the U.S.
More information about his work is available at his website: www.charlesurbach.com
Aiyanna is a comedic performer and writer. She loves to perform various sketch and improv shows at Second City Training Center and The Annoyance. You may recognize her from Nostalgia Critic Reviews (including Harley Quinn in NC’s Suicide Squad and Beverley in NC’s It Chapter 1 & 2) or Channel Awesome’s Top 5. She also voices Becky and Sunny in the animated series Multiplex 10.
Doug is best known for his character The Nostalgia Critic from ChannelAwesome.com, who reviews movies and TV shows connected to childhood. He’s also noted for having a long standing “rivalry” with The Angry Video Game Nerd. He’s appeared on PBS, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, 20/20, Rifftrax, Honest Trailers, Cinema Sins, and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at the Mashable Awards as well as one of the Best Youtube Critics by WatchMojo.com. He’s performed with Mike Nelson, James Rolfe, Mara Wilson, Dante Basco, Andre Meadows, Rob Paulsen, Maurice Lamarche, Don Bluth, and has been praised by the late Roger Ebert. His image even appeared in the anime Zettai Karen Children. He’s more than a God, but less than a man…or is it the other way around? Either way just watch him! He clearly needs the attention.
From Santa Christ to the Executor, Rob Walker always plays a big role in the creation of the show Nostalgia Critic. He co-writes each episode, plays several hilarious characters, and also co-hosts the blog series Sibling Rivalry with his brother Doug. Always having a quick comeback (except when he doesn’t), he’s there to entertain.
Below are some of our guests from past shows
Adventure International, Clopas*
Adams is known as the “father of adventure games” for being the first person known to create an adventure-style game for personal computers with his first game, Adventureland. His company, Adventure International, released games for many major computer platforms throughout the 80s. Recently, Scott founded Clopas, the “Puzzle Us Adventure!” company in 2017.
Arlo is a Youtuber who strives to create a friendly, upbeat environment where discussion is greatly encouraged and bad puns run rampant. This includes reviews, opinion pieces, let’s plays, analyses, nostalgia talk, comedy bits, and anything else he feels like cooking up. Whether he’s offering a positive reaction or an honest criticism or a pained lament, lighthearted comedy is at the heart of everything Arlo does. His main focus is Nintendo, but he dabbles in PC gaming and other consoles as well.
AWA, WCW, WWE, TNA, Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment, MX Digital
On Air Interviewer, Executive Vice President, WWE General Manager, Podcaster, Producer
As Executive Vice President of WCW, Eric Bischoff took WCW from a distant second to the leading wrestling company in the world for a time, while also serving as a major on screen character. After WCW folded, Eric shocked the world by agreeing to serve as the WWE RAW General Manager. Today, he records the popular 83weeks Podcast with Conrad Thompson about his time in the industry.
Mid-South Wrestling, NWA, All Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW, WWF/E
Wrestler, manager, color commenator
Often regarded as the greatest villain in pro wrestling, WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase played the Million Dollar Man to great affect, headling Wrestlemania IV and the first SummerSlam! His character was also featured in numerous wrestling video games, and is fondly remembered to this day.
Perhaps best known for his role as Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters series (including voice work for the video game and pinball machine!), Hudson has appeared in countless movies and shows, and is currently producing and starring in The Family Business on BET. Mr. Hudson is expected to join us on Saturday, April 13.
Atari Pinball, Williams Electronics, Vid Kidz, Midway, Raw Thrills*, Play Mechanix*
Video Game Programmer, Pinball Programmer, Co-Founder of Vid-Kidz, Owner of Raw Thrillz
Eugene designed many landmark arcade video games including Defender, Robotron 2084, Narc, Smash TV, and the Cruis’n series. He also worked in pinball, helping to bring designs like Firepower, Pinbot, Space Shuttle, High Speed and F-14 Tomcat to life. If that isn’t enough, he owns Raw Thrills and Play Mechanix, the premier modern arcade developer with hits such as the Walking Dead, Jurassic Park, Injustice Arcade, the Big Buck Hunter series, and more!
Arcade Video Concept and Design
@!#?@! Perhaps best known as the creator of Q*Bert, Jeff Lee is an artist who created great work for many of Gottlieb’s video arcade games, as well as games on the Macintosh and Genesis. Jeff will be hanging out in the Galloping Ghost Arcade room (3 on the map) throughout the weekend!
Video Game History Foundation, Nintendo of America, Chair Entertainment, Gameduell, Microsoft Xbox
Game Producer, playtester, consultant
Howard was one of the first employees at Nintendo of America where his role became playing upcoming games and telling Nintendo how he thought they would do in the US! Howard was also featured in the Howard & Nester comic series within Nintendo Power! Later, he produced games for LucasArts, Microsoft, and Epic. Today he works with the Video Game History Foundation to preserve the history of the industry!
Howard will also be playing NES games with our VIG attendees as part of the Official MGC After Party! If you ever wanted to play a game with the person credited for telling Nintendo to turn Doki Doki Panic into Super Mario Bros 2, this will be your chance!