Industry Guests of Honor
The Industry Guests of Honor program is a new initiative for 2018. Once known as the Industry Insider Featured Presenter program, Industry Guests of Honor are selected based on a theme and continuing the tradition of "best-in-class" events. The theme for 2018 is "change makers".
Gen Con has invited three individuals - Nolan T. Jones, Anita Sarkeesian and Jordan Weisman - all considered "change makers" in the hobby and industry of games and the culture built around them. Each guest will host a moderated "uncommon conversation" about their work and influence as well as participate in a moderated round table discussion. These events will be streamed for delayed-release during and after the show on Gen Con Twitch and YouTube channels.
Meet our Industry Guests of Honor ... Nolan T. Jones, Anita Sarkeesian and Jordan Weisman along with our moderators Luke Crane, Tanya DePass, Nicole Lindroos, and Jason Morningstar.
Nolan T. Jones
Nolan T. Jones is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Roll20®. In 2012 while pursuing a career in comics, Nolan and his partners Riley Dutton and Richard Zayas came up with Roll20 Virtual Tabletop as a method to play tabletop games over long distances. Since then, Nolan has been key in hiring Roll20 staff as they build a brand with a member community of over 3 million based on camaraderie and respect. The Roll20 team’s efforts were recognized by four consecutive ENnie Awards for Best Software (2013--2016).
Nolan is a proud graduate of the University of Kansas Film & Media Studies Department and lives in the Las Vegas Valley since 2009 with his spouse. His favorite biographical joke is that his hobbies are reading and sports.
- Mr. Jones will be hosting "An Uncommon Conversation with Nolan T. Jones", date and time TBD. This informal conversation will be moderated by Tanya DePass and will include a Q&A session. All Uncommon Conversations will be streamed for a delayed release during and after the show on Gen Con Twitch and YouTube channels.
Tanya DePass -– Moderator
Tanya DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a non-profit organization based in Chicago dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming. I Need Diverse Games serves the community by supporting marginalized developers attend the Game Developer Conference by participating in the GDC Scholarship program and assisting attendance at other industry events. It also is seeking partnership with organizations and initiatives. #INeedDiverseGames wants to make it better and more inclusive for everyone.
Tanya is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves everything about gaming. She founded and was the EIC of Fresh Out of Tokens podcast where games culture was discussed and viewed through a lens of feminism, intersectionality and diversity. Now she’s a co-host on the Spawn on Me Podcast. Additionally, she’s the Programming Coordinator for OrcaCon, and often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality & other topics at multiple conventions throughout the year. Her writing about games and games critique appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Wiscon Chronicles, Vice Gaming, Paste Games, Mic, and other publications. She's also the editor of Game Devs and Others: Tales From the Margins.
Anita Sarkeesian is an award-winning media critic and the creator and executive director of Feminist Frequency, an educational nonprofit that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.
She has been a panelist at the United Nations and been a guest speaker at various fan, media and technology conferences including XOXO, The Media Evolution Conference, Women in the World and GeekGirlCon. Anita has been interviewed and featured in publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Colbert Report.
Anita was named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015 and was the recipient of the 2014 Game Developers Choice Ambassador Award. In 2016 Anita was awarded an honorary PhD from The New School in New York City.
Anita's first book, History vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don't Want You To Know, co-written with Ebony Adams, is due out October 2, 2018.
Ms. Sarkeesian will be hosting "An Uncommon Conversation with Anita Sarkeesian", date and time TBD. This informal conversation will be moderated by Luke Crane and will include a Q&A session. All Uncommon Conversations will be streamed for a delayed release during and after the show on Gen Con Twitch and YouTube channels.
Luke Crane -- Moderator
Luke Crane is the Head of Games at Kickstarter where he has helped thousands of creators bring their games to life. He is also a designer and publisher of weird underground RPGs like Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard and Torchbearer.
Jordan Weisman has been the driving creative force behind many tabletop and video game companies. He has invented several gaming genres and created some of the most loved and longest-running game franchises including BattleTech/MechWarrior, Shadowrun, and Crimson Skies.
Jordan founded his first company, FASA, in 1980 to publish pen and paper roleplaying games, board games, and novels. He pioneered publicly accessible virtual reality at his second company, Virtual World Entertainment, which he sold to the Disney family in 1992. Weisman founded FASA Interactive to develop his properties for PC and sold that company to Microsoft in 1998. As Creative Director for Microsoft Entertainment he oversaw the first two years of Xbox titles including Halo. While at Microsoft Jordan conceived and pioneered the transmedia experience for Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, spawning the new genre of Alternate Reality Games. After leaving Microsoft Jordan returned to tabletop games founding WizKids to create the genre of collectible miniature games with Mage Knight and HeroClix. WizKids was acquired by Topps Inc in 2003, the same year that he founded 42 Entertainment to produce ARGs including “I Love Bees,” “Year Zero,” and the “Why So Serious?” campaign for The Dark Knight. Most recently Jordan founded software studio Harebrained Schemes with Mitch Gitelman where he has been reinventing Shadowrun and BattleTech as modern computer games.
Weisman is a New York Times bestselling fiction author, winner of the Northwest E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award, Time Magazine's Ten Best Ideas, dozens of design award, and has been inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art & Design Hall of Fame.
Mr. Weisman will hosting "An Uncommon Conversation with Jordan Weisman", date and time TBD. This informal conversation will be moderated by Nicole Lindroos and will include a Q&A session. All Uncommon Conversations will be streamed for a delayed release during and after the show on Gen Con Twitch and YouTube channels.
Nicole Lindroos -- Moderator
Nicole Lindroos entered the game industry in 1989. Since that time, she co-founded Adventures Unlimited magazine, served on the board of the Game Manufacturers Association and as the chair of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art and Design. She has volunteered both on the advisory committee and as head of the Origins Awards, and has been an active freelancer for large and small companies alike. Since the year 2000 she has been co-owner and General Manager of Green Ronin Publishing.
Her current special project has been the transmedia property The Lost Citadel and an effort to get the tabletop games industry to adopt a professional code of conduct and uniform anti-harassment policies and procedures. She's also the sweetest person you never want to piss off.
Jason Morningstar -- Moderator
Jason Morningstar is a game designer who lives in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Best known for his game Fiasco, which earned him his second Diana Jones Award for Gaming Excellence. Jason’s design credits include Night Witches, Ghost Court, Grey Ranks, Durance and many other games. He has also made games for clients like Google and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jason's games have been featured at Indiecade and in the Gen Con 50th anniversary museum.
Beyond roleplaying, Jason consults on the use of games for teaching and learning, most recently with the University of California, University of Michigan, Kaiser-Permanente Health Care, and the Innovation Learning Network. In addition to design, Jason has written extensively on game-related topics. His articles have appeared in the journal Analog Game Studies and anthologies States of Play and Unframed.
Jason will be moderating a round table discussion with all of our Industry Guests of Honor date and time TBD. This panel will be streamed for a delayed release during and after the show on Gen Con Twitch and YouTube channels.
Past Industry Insiders
Gen Con is incredibly grateful for those who have participated as Industry Insiders Featured Presenters and guests in prior years. We hope our new Industry Guest of Honor program will continue to amplify some of the many exciting discussions that manifest at Gen Con every year.