Back during the time when parents were still afraid to let their kids sit at a table and exercise their imagination role playing games became very important to me. This would be Jr High, somewhere around 1992, playing Dungeons and Dragons. DM’ing a good game and the creativity it required was a real passion for me and I was considered the best DM of the group of friends that I played with. Through Jr High, High School, and college I was the go to guy for world building and storytelling in my little troupe of outcast gamers filling my and their worlds with nuanced detail and character.
Magic the Gathering didn’t really stop or change any of that, but it was a fun addition. Around the time that The Dark and Ice Age were being released my brother and I started playing at a local game shop in Nashua. Ball lighting Decks were all the rage back then, and constituted the first deck lists copied verbatim. It seemed so wrong at the time. The game increasingly sucked me in until I was playing semi Pro at the tournament level and working in Card Shops on my summer vacation. The guys from The Silver Dragon were great to hang out with. Ah memories.
The moment when D&D and M:tG were no longer enough is etched clearly in my mind. While indoors playing a M:tG tournament at Hammers Comics in Manchester NH, during a beautiful sunny day, I was inside at a table eating take out food from the 99 next door. I was loosing that day, and in a bit of a downward spiral self esteem wise. Why sit there when I could be outdoors LARPing? On that day, that moment, sparked a real commitment to being less sedentary and more active. Practicing on Wednesday nights in the Commuter Parking lot in Nashua NH with the Realms of Wonder crowd was no long enough. Going from one practice a week to three I never looked back. I became much healthier and lost weight because of that change.
Being a part of The Imperium LARP was a wonderful experience; playing an amazing game, helping it grow and mature with people that I had looked up to for many years. The guys who created the Imperium were legendary LARPers (in NH), and it was great working with them. This was my first real experience working with a team of people creating a product. Also it was the first place where I found a passion for something that really drove me forward.
After the break up of the Imperium LARP there wasn’t too much else that really seemed all that interesting. World of Warcraft seeped in and filled that gap, but not the passion. There were other computer games as well, but mostly WoW. Steve (Pelvis Costello), who was one of my LARP hero’s, suggested that I come down to Boston and apply for a job with a private student loan company. I got a job there and discovered Finance as a topic. Personal Finance and Business Finance, really the study of Money, became my focus and even impacted my game playing. PVE in WoW was ok, PVP bored me. But playing the Auction House, now there was something really fun!
While working at the big corporation, I started to take some business classes. After having been out of college for at least 5 years it seemed like a great idea to try out the Harvard Extension… Not so much. I was way out of my depth, but still fascinated by the Finance class. After, ehem, not passing there it seemed reasonable to take some more basic Financial Accounting and Financial Management classes at Umass Boston. These classes got me back into the swing of college life, and into Boston University. For which I have just finished all my finals! I’ve been putting my project management skills to work, and have even started to pick up coding for the project.
Through all this time ideas for games are being recorded in my various journals. Idea’s for card games, ideas for LARP mechanics, and an idea for a computer game. The Goth club scene in the Boston area is filled with gamers, coders, and people with ideas and dreams. Starting conversations with people about games is a natural and fun topic. From that I found a group of people who had a passion for game development. From there we started the ZoRTS Project.
Pax 2011 was a big turning point for me. It forced a realization that the Computer Game industry might be a really good industry to break into. It’s kind of odd that it was never really a goal before. It would seem like a logical assumption that if you love business and you love games, start a business making games… But fortunately it has been a much longer and much more interested journey then that.