We are proud to welcome the following VIPs to the Midwest Gaming Classic this year! Click on an industry below to filter by industry, and click on the VIPs themselves to learn more about who you might meet at the show!
Co-Owner, Operations Manager
Roxanne’s husband Scott Adams is known as the father of adventure games, and when he returned to creating games Roxanne became co-owner and operations manager of their new company, Clopas, helping to ensure new adventure games for everyone to enjoy today!
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.
Don Bluth Studios, Disney, Silver Phoenix Entertainment*
Animator and Artist
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!
Data East Pinball, Sega Pinball, Stern Pinball*
Pinball Game Designer
Pinball designer John Borg has created more than 25 iconic titles including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Tales From the Crypt, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Man, Metallica, Tron, Aerosmith and the latest Stern Pinball machine Guardians of the Galaxy!
Brian Colin, the creator of the arcade game Rampage, will be at the Midwest Gaming Classic less than one week before the movie version of Rampage comes out! Brian is also the man behind arcade games Xenophobe, Arch Rivals and Pigskin 621, and the Sega Genesis game General Chaos! Brian is coming thanks to Galloping Ghost Arcade of Brookfield, Illinois, which has a selection of hundreds of arcade games to play every day of the year!
Left of Left Center*
Jason Compton is an actor with Left of Left Center theater company who portrayed Steve Jobs in Mike Daisey’s monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. We are excited to have Jason join us at the Midwest Gaming Classic to perform this monologue at the convention itself. The production was originally directed by Jake Penner for Left of Left Center theater company. Photo credit Benjamin Barlow.
Pinball Designer, Pinball Software
Pinball designer, mechanical engineer, sound and music programmer and software engineer… Scott did it all on Total Nuclear Annihilation pinball! Scott built Total Nuclear Annihilation just to create a semi-simple custom machine. The result was so good, Spooky Pinball worked with Scott to start production of the machine in 2017!
Larry Demar worked with Eugene Jarvis to design games like Defender and Robotron 2084 before moving into pinball where he credited on the design and / or software team for many of the most successful pinball machines ever including the Addams Family, Twilight Zone, Fun House, High Speed, Space Shuttle, Black Knight and World Cup Soccer!
After discovering that he had unknowingly purchased the only known Nintendo Playstation prototype in a lot from a company that had closed, Terry has made the choice to share it with the world! Come meet Terry and hear about his travels since finding the console, and get a chance to check out and maybe even try the console too!
The son of Charlie Emery, Bug was a regular contributor to the Spooky Pinball Podcast before his father started making pinball machines. Now, with Spooky Pinball – the pinball manufacturing company – taking over a lot of his father’s time, Bug is the main voice behind the podcast and an important helper in the manufacturing company too!
President, Game Designer
We first met Charlie at the Midwest Gaming Classic when he was starting the Spooky Pinball Podcast about his love of things spooky and his love of things pinball. After running the podcast for a time, Charlie decided he wanted to start his own pinball company, and Spooky Pinball was born! Charlie is the president and game designer of some of Spooky Pinball’s titles!
I Play Games*
Founder, Video Game Promoter, Tournament Organizer
Kevin was an experienced video game promoter and tournament organizer when he founded I Play Games in 2009. Today, I Play Games hosts charitable events, coordinates cross country trips, supports gaming media, and hosts awesome gaming tournaments for companies and groups!
Bally Pinball, Williams Pinball, Whizbang Pinball*, Jersey Jack Pinball, Stern Pinball*
Artist and Art Director
Greg has created iconic work for games like Fathom, Strange Science, Elvira and the Party Monsters, Scared Stiff, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Smash TV, Cruis’n USA, Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons and many more! Today, he serves as Stern Pinball’s art director.
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!
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!
Author Steve Henderson wrote the new Undisputed Street Fighter book that takes you behind the scenes of the series’ rise. Steve traveled to Japan to meet with the creators of series flagship Street Fighter II, and tells the stories behind the evolution of the games and characters, as well as the stories of the players whose dedication turned Street Fighter into a global, tournament sport.
Leonard is regarded as one of the earliest video game historians. The first edition of his book, Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Video Games, was published in 1994 and is considered to be the first comprehensive book about the history of video games. Since then, he has written articles for dozens of books and magazines including his book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries.
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!
Wickstead Design Associates, Activision, Absolute Entertainment, Viacom Media Networks, SGK Service Inc*
Game Designer, Game Programmer, President
Garry developed or co-developed tons of great games for early video game systems including Keystone Kapers, Pressure Cooker, Donkey Kong and Space Jockey for the 2600 and Stealth ATF, Simpsons: Bart Vs. The Space Mutants, Simpsons: Bart Vs. The World and Battletank for the NES, as well as a bunch more!
Video Game Historian, Writer
Tim Lapetino created the beautiful book Art of Atari to celebrate the amazing pictures that were created to bridge the gap between the imagination and reality of early Atari games. Tim has also written for Geek Monthly, RETRO Magazine, and other great publications, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Museum of Video Game Art. Meet Tim April 14 and 15 at the Midwest Gaming Classic!
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!
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.
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 the two time Doubles World Champion.
EGM, Pixel Blast Arcade*
Writer, Arcade Operator
As former Tricks of the Trade editor for Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine, the name “Trickman” was well known for video game obsessed kids of the 1990s. Today, he is still a force in the industry as one of the co-owners of the Pixel Blast Arcade in Lisle, Illinois!
MSG Networks, ESPN
Announcer, Television Personality
Meet Arda Ocal at the Midwest Gaming Classic April 14 and 15 at the Wisconsin Center! Arda is a television personality and announcer who has worked for the WWE (under the stage name Kyle Edwards) and currently works for MSG Networks and ESPN! Arda is a lead voice for ESPN on their eSports coverage, as well as covering many other sports!
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!
John is the Northern Kung Fu expert who portrayed Jax in Mortal Kombat II, 3, 4, Trilogy, Advance, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat! John now runs two companies in the Chicago area including an IT consulting company and a fitness company. John will be hanging out in the Galloping Ghost Arcade room (3 on the map) throughout the weekend!
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!
Atari Pinball, Williams Pinball, Stern Pinball*
Pinball Game Designer
Steve started by designing pinball machines for Atari before moving to Williams, creating hugely successful machines like Firepower, High Speed, Terminator 2, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also worked on arcade video games, and is the voice of Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat. Recently, he has been working for Stern Pinball, designing hits like Spider-Man, AC/DC, Star Trek and Star Wars!
Jon St. John
It’s time to kick butt and chew bubble gum… and we’re all out of gum! Perhaps best known for his role as Duke Nukem, Jon has voice acted in many games such as Sonic Adventures, Guild Wars 2, Star Trek: Online, World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Rad Rodgers, This is the Police, and D&D Neverwinter, just to name a few.
Customer Support, General Awesomeness
Taro is part of Pinball Classics, Rob Anthony’s pinball repair service that has over 30 years of experience and has been coming to the Midwest Gaming Classic since he was just a puppy. Unfortunately, Taro passed away suddenly before this year’s show, but he will still be with in spirit. Special events celebrating Taro and raising money and awareness for issues that affect dogs will be done in his place. Make sure to stop by Rob Anthony to share your memories of Taro.
Michael is one of the is one of the most widely respected video game historians in the field today. He currently teaches college level video game history, design, and graphics courses. He authored Downright Bizarre Games, and has contributed to nearly a dozen textbooks as well as writing historical columns have been distributed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Michael has also worked on nearly a hundred game titles on Atari, Coleco, Sega and other console platforms with his Company Good Deal Games.
Tabletop Game Designer
1:00pm until 1:30pm @ Table Top Game Play Area (28)
Rob has helped to design dozens of great tabletop games including 7th Sea, Star Wars Saga Edition, Shadowrun 4th and 5th Edition, Honor and Intrigue, Save Game, Vampire: The Masquerade, Star Trek Adventures and many more!
Verant Interactive, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE)
Game Master, Quality Assurance, Development, Level Design, Storyboarding
Eric had a major hand in the development of several extremely popular MMO titles such as PlanetSide, Star Wars: Galaxies and Vanguard Saga of Heroes. His crowning achievement is with the popular EverQuest franchise, as he developed EverQuest: Macintosh Edition, earning him the prestigious Sony Achievement award. He is currently in production of his own indie tabletop game.
Ken Williams, the original writer of Sushi-X for EGM magazine, was known for his love of fighting games and the infamous Sheng Long trick in the April (fools) 1992 issue of EGM that ended up being reprinted without verification worldwide and influenced the creation of both Akuma and Gouken… an incredible legacy for a guy who loved fighting games to get! Meet him at the show and challenge him to a round of SF2 while you’re at it!