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!
Longtime gamer, freelance writer, and national columnist Brett Weiss has been a respected journalist and historian in the gaming and pop culture communities for well over two decades. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Old School Gamer, Game Informer, Gameroom Magazine, Classic Gamer Magazine, the Pingame Journal, Video Game Collector, Video Game Trader, Fangoria, Filmfax, and AntiqueWeek, among many others.
Weiss is also the author of 10 books, including the Classic Home Video Games series, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987, Encyclopedia of KISS, and The SNES Omnibus volumes 1 and 2. Brett is the host of a quickly growing YouTube show, Tales from a Retro Gamer.
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.
Andres Canals teaches step by step digital artistry for aspiring artists! Andres has created work as the art director for Epic Quest Productions for more than five years. During this time, Andres has also created artwork for numerous RPG games and concept art for miniatures and films. He has worked in varied genres including fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalypse, cyberpunk, and modern. Game titles include DragonWars of Trayth (Pathfinder), Reclamation RPG, Wreck-Age, End Times, Elemental Lands, Dragons at Dawn & Twilight, Chaos & Alchemy (1st Edition), Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution, Systems Malfunction, SPLINTER and many more.
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.
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.
Dirty Donny Gillies
Dirty Donny Gillies
Top Fuels, Snap-On, Vans, AMT, Fender, Dunlop, Stern Pinball, Midwest Gaming Classic
Deemed to be one of the most influential artists to invade the pop culture scenes of the punk, rock and metal underground, Dirty Donny has been spreading his art across all mediums for decades. First hired by Metallica, in the more than decade since he began he has designing art for Top Fuels Funny cars, skateboard shoes, guitars and guitar accessories, model kits and pinball machines for the likes of Snap-on, Vans, AMT, Fender, Dunlop, Stern Pinball, and now, the Midwest Gaming Classic!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Angela (Bright Eyes Cosplay) Neactin
Angela (Bright Eyes Cosplay) Neactin
1998 and 2000 were good years for Bright Eyes Cosplay – as in before she even knew what “Cosplay” was she had decided she wanted to dress up like Zelda from the Ocarina of Time and Princess Garnet aka Dagger from Final Fantasy 9 at the ages of 8 and 10, respectively. Things really picked up when she discovered Cosplay and started attending conventions year ’round in 2012 wearing and making costumes ranging from the spectrum of video games, anime, comics, pop culture, and even Disney and Power Rangers. A fortuitous moment in 2015 landed her in the hot seat of hosting the Costume Contest at the Midwest Gaming Classic and she has been coming back every year to do so, as well as head the Cosplay Department which she is proud to say is made up of more than just herself now! She’s looking forward to another great year with great folks at the MGC 2020!
Paul E. Niemeyer
Paul E. Niemeyer
Paul’s artwork appears on dozens of games including TRON, Tapper, Satan’s Hollow, Spy Hunter, Wacko, Super PacMan, PacMan Plus, Professor PacMan, Demolition Man Pinball, and perhaps most notably, the Mortal Kombat logo!
Paul then worked on movie licenses like Jurassic Park 2, Men in Black, Star Trek 5, Star Wars Phantom Menace, Pirates of the Caribbean, and was an owner of Eagle Game Board Game company!
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!
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.
Tabletop Game Designer
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes for several websites including Geek & Sundry, Star Trek, Forbes.com and Dicebreaker. As a game designer he’s worked on dozens of tabletop RPGs such as Star Wars Saga Edition, Pugmire, Vampire: The Masquerade and Kaiju Incorporated. He is currently the hose of Theatre of the Mind Players, an actual play show and podcast dedicated to the other great tabletop RPGs out there besides Dungeons and Dragons.
Below are some of our guests from past shows
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.