VIP Guests (2018)

We were proud to welcome the following VIPs to the Midwest Gaming Classic in 2018! 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!

Follow our Facebook page for guest announcements for 2019! We are expecting over 100 industry VIPs again this year, and will update this page to our 2019 list after we have announced our first 20 guests!

 

Philo Barnhart

Philo Barnhart

Don Bluth Studios, Disney, Silver Phoenix Entertainment*

Animator, 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!

Chuck Bleich

Chuck Bleich

Williams Pinball, Midway Games, Stern Pinball*

Electrical Engineer

Chuck presently oversees all electronic development at Stern Pinball. This encompasses system design, vendor interface, proto-type coordination and regulatory compliance. In short, all aspects related to electronics from concept, into production are within Chuck’s domain!

Waison Cheng

Waison Cheng

Neopong Software, inXile Entertainment, Incredible Technologies, Stern Pinball*

Software Engineer

Waison is not a game designer for Stern Pinball, having worked on games like Aerosmith, Star Trek, KISS, Game of Thrones and Avengers to name a few. Before that, he worked on the Golden Tee series for Incredible Technologies, and before that on programming games for the Nintendo DS!

Brian Colin

Brian Colin

Game Designer

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!

Larry Demar

Larry Demar

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!

Chuck Ernst

Chuck Ernst

Atari Video Games, Midway Games, Warner Brother's Interactive NetherRealm Studios, Stern Pinball*

CG art director

Chuck has had more than 28 years programming and has more than 40 titles that he did! He is currently the CG art director at Stern Pinball, but his lengthy resume includes stints with Warner Brothers Interactive, Midway Games and Atari Video Games!

Greg Freres

Greg Freres

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.

Erik Gilly

Erik Gilly

Bally Namco Amusement America, Stern Pinball*

Director of Consumer Sales

Erik is the main person at Stern pinball who helps to manage and grow the Stern distribution chain, helping to get the machines that Stern is building into people’s hands to play! Before working at Stern, Erik played a similar role for Bandai Namco.

George Gomez

George Gomez

Bally, Williams, Stern Pinball*

Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer

George got his start in video games helping to design both Tron and Spy Hunter. During the video game crash, he left arcade video to design toys, but returned in 1993 to Williams Electronics, designing games like Monster Bash was a critical part of the Pinball 2000 design team. When Williams closed, George went to Stern, first as a designer who designed games including the landmark Lord of the Rings, and has now become the Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Stern Pinball! Picture courtesy of the PinGame Journal.

Steve Hendershot

Steve Hendershot

Independent

Writer

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.

Dyfed Hitchings

Dyfed Hitchings

Game On Exhibition*

Curator

Dyfed curates and organizes the “Game On” Exhibition. This exhibition looks at the history and culture of video gaming around the world in a museum based exhibition. Running for 16 years, it has traveled to 24
countries, and been to 36 venues across the world.

Eugene Jarvis

Eugene Jarvis

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!

Tim Lapetino

Tim Lapetino

Independent

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.

Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

Gottlieb

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!

Bob Mackey

Bob Mackey

IGN, USGamer, Retronauts*

Writer, Podcaster

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.

Jeremy Parish

Jeremy Parish

IGN, 1UP, USGamer, Retronauts*

Writer, Podcaster

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 Parrish

John Parrish

Midway

Actor

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!

Daniel Pesina

Daniel Pesina

Midway

Actor

Daniel played Sub Zero, Scorpion Reptile, Noob Saibot, Smoke and Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat I and II. He also was one of the Foot Soldiers in Teenage Mutant Ninjas II! Daniel will be hanging out in the Galloping Ghost Arcade room (3 on the map) throughout the weekend!

Steve Ritchie

Steve Ritchie

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!

Doug Skor

Doug Skor

Chicago Gaming Company*

Vice President

Doug is Chicago Gaming Company’s Vice President, working on all of their new and exciting projects like the pinball remakes of Attack From Mars, Medieval Madness and arcade videos like the Class of ’81.

Dwight Sullivan

Dwight Sullivan

Williams Electronics, Stern Pinball*

Senior game developer

Dwight is currently a senior game designer with Stern Pinball, and has worked on lots of different games for Stern, including being the team leader for games like Pirates of the Caribbean and more! Before that, he worked for Williams Electronics.

Ken Williams

Ken Williams

EGM

Writer

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!