I'm Adam Bankhurst and my dream is to work in the video game industry. I have created a website/podcast called The Gamer's Advocate and it's been one of the most rewarding expereinces of my life. Being able to take my love of video games and make it into something is unlike anything else. I am huge fan of anything Chipotle, Hibachi, or Disney related and some of my favorite games are Mass Effect 2, Ocarina of Time, and FFVII.
By. Adam Bankhurst In 1998, a group of about 25 game developers held a very "informal" game-centric conference. They had a dream and a vision to provide a venue and platform for developers to showcase their work and speak to the world about the incredible medium known as video games. Fast forward to today, and The Game Developer Conference is now the "the world's largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event." We, in Columbus, Ohio, are following in their footsteps and laying the foundation for the next big event in the gaming world, The Ohio Game Developer Expo.
On December 7th, 2013, developers from all around Ohio and beyond will converge at Ohio State's Union to show the world that there is some true talent in the Buckeye state. From YEI Technology with their PrioVR motion tracking device to Multivarious Games and their puzzle game Hatch-It, there will an incredible array of games and technology on display. Not only that, for throughout the day there will also be a speaker series that will highlight those who have done incredible work for video games and happen to call the Midwest home.
Along with the speaker series and games showcase, Extra Life will have a huge presence. Raising over $4 million this year alone, The Ohio Game Developer's Expo will help push that number to even greater heights. There will be tournaments, raffles, prizes, and so much more. So, while you are seeing the beginning of something revolutionary, you can have fun while helping the kids who deserve it the most.
Ohio, and the surrounding area, is home to some truly visionary and talented individuals, but until now have all been spread out. Starting with this year's OGDE, those in the community will finally have a place to have their voice heard and can come together to truly foster worthwhile development.
Every great expo and conference has to start somewhere. If you look at many of the most successful companies in the world, a vast majority of them started off in a garage with nothing but a dream. WE are creating that dream and providing a place for those who love gaming and technology as much as we do.
Why not shoot for the stars? Why not put everything into what we believe in and create history, right here, right now? With over 40 booths and nine speakers throughout the day in our first year, I'd say we are off to a pretty good start.
The most exciting aspect is that this is only the beginning. With the first year under our belt, the sky will be truly the limit. With the relationships and experience we gain, we will be able to focus and ensure that's next year's expo keeps improving and improving until we can stand, toe-to-toe, with all the other big hitters in our industry.
Every journey starts with a single step and the courage to succeed. If you don't take that step, you will never reach the destination that is right there for the taking. E3, GDC, Gamescom, PAX, and all the others have their place, but there is a staggering amount of untapped potential in the Midwest.
We are here to forever change that.
Below are some links that will give you more information about The Ohio Game Developer Expo, how you can attend, and so much more;
Take a minute to think about what that word means to you.
Better yet, think of what that word can mean to a child suffering from a disease that he or she does not deserve.
Life, unfortunately, does not deal in fairness, and the cards that are dealt to us are not always in our favor. What life does give us, however, is the power to make a difference. We, as human beings, have the power and the choice to make a real, tangible change in this world, and it all begins with the courage to take that first step.
My step, my first of many, is Extra Life.
Extra Life, for those unfamiliar, is a 24-hour gaming marathon that raises money for the Children's Miracle Network. It all began in 2008 to honor the memory of a truly incredible young girl named Victoria Enmon. She lost her battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but not before touching and changing the lives of all those around her.
This truly life-changing cause caught fire and Extra Life has been raising more and more money each year for kids like Victoria around the country. Last year alone, they raised over $2.3 million!
Victoria's story and Extra Life inspired me and brought me to one incredible realization:
I live in Columbus, OH, right next to The Ohio State University. With over 55,000 students, I can bet many of them like video games and helping others. Why not bring Extra Life to this great school? Why not try and capture these students and gamers and raise an unprecedented amount of money for our local Children's Miracle Network Hospital, Nationwide Children's?
I put my plan in action and got in touch with Extra Life, and they introduced me to BuckeyeThon, the largest student-run philanthropy group at OSU. They host, among other fund-raising events, a Dance Marathon that raised over $608,000 for Nationwide Children's Hospital last year.
After working with incredible people from their organization over the past few months, I can proudly say that my dream is now a reality.
We have been planning and preparing for Columbus' Extra Life Event on November 2nd, and it has been one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on. We are hosting our event at the Ohio State Union, and we will have marathoners, tournaments, prizes, food, and so much more. We will also have events taking place around Columbus that will help further benefit Nationwide Children's Hospital. We also encourage you to host your own event, and take this cause to even greater heights.
We are on the verge of something truly spectacular, and it becomes even more so each and every day.
However, I can't do it alone. I need your help. I need you to help me change the lives of kids like those pictured above. While this started as an Ohio State project, it has grown beyond our wildest expectations and has become a movement.
How can you help? Simple.
Join our team.Support me. Spread the word. Raise money. Then, on November 2nd, play games all day long while helping cure these incredible young boys and girls. All the money you donate goes directly to the Children's Miracle Network, and you can actually go and see your contribution making a difference.
The power to save lives and make a difference is inside each and every one of us. Every step, big or small, is one step closer to a cure we are all fighting for. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Without the courage to take action in what you believe, the world will just keep on spinning as it always has.
Take that first step.
Walk hand in hand with me as we fight this battle.
Together, let's be the change we want to see in our world.
What does this seemingly innocent name mean to you? For me, it reminds me of a childhood darkened by bullying. It recalls days of when I would fake being sick to not have to go to school and endure the ridicule and name calling that so many kids in this world have to deal with each and every day. It was a tough time in my life, yet one that I feel helped shape me into the man I am today. That's why when Minority Media announced their newest game, Silent Enemy, I was immediately intrigued.
Vander Cabellero, founder of Minority Media, was the inspiration behind the studio's previous title Papo & Yo, in which the story dealt with Vander's real life experience with his alcoholic father. In Silent Enemy, design director Ruben Farrus brings in a history of bullying that affected him at a young age and wants to put this issue under the spotlight.
You inhabit a world that is in a state of permanent winter and are haunted by crows who are the only species thriving during this time. A "mythical legend" of spring is talked about as a fairytale and is a seemingly impossible dream. Throughout this adventure, you must confront these crows (see: bullies) and try to bring spring to a world that has been covered in darkness and cold for so long.
This scenario is a perfect metaphor for the feeling you have while you are the victim of a bully. It seems as though no end in sight and each day is a constant struggle. These exact feelings are what I had to endure during my childhood.
I had a very good life growing up. A few very close friends, amazing family, and hobbies that I truly loved. I was a huge fan of video games (obviously), Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, etc. Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? Apparently wrong, because these interests caused me to be the target of a bully we will name Crow for purposes of this story.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I would be called Cindy Lou, I would have items stolen from me or would have Crow and a group of guys harass me after, and even during, school. This went on for at least 3 years and really showed no sign of stopping. Until one day when I finally stood up for myself.
That's me in the middle of the top row
It was after school one day when Crow caught up with me, put his arm around me and said, "Adam, I'm sorry for how I've treated you and it's really wrong what I've been doing." He then proceeded to sweep his leg under mine in an attempt to throw me to the ground. Luckily, I managed to dodge his attack and just remember taking my book-bag and slamming it against him. I immediately ran off, through the playground, and thought to myself, "I did it...I truly did it."
After that powerful moment, I decided I wouldn't be bullied anymore. I took up football, got greater support from friends and family, and decided to stop being a victim. It ended up working very well and not long after that, Crow began to leave me alone. As it turns out, eventually we would both be on the football team together and grew to respect each other. I grew beyond what Crow had done and knew I was better for it.
In all honesty, this experience helped me become who I am today. As horrible as it was, it did make me stronger. It made me appreciate life and people and know with a burning passion that I didn't want this to happen to anyone ever again.
This exact reason is why I respect Minority Media so much and am excited for this title. They are taking this issue and giving you a medium to experience it without the true consequences. It will allow us to look in a mirror and realize who we are inside and determine if we are the crow or the boy/girl just trying to live life and be themselves.
"You cannot bring someone to someplace you haven't been yourself."
I don't think he could have said it any better. In the above video, you can see that most of the developers on this game have been affected by bullying. They are trying to tell a very powerful and poignant tale, and with real life experience setting the sails, I think they just might be on the right path.
It's important to realize that there is a spring at the end of every winter, no matter how cold and dark that winter may be. It's just a matter of always moving forward. By taking a stand and being brave enough to speak up about this issue, Silent Enemy may just be another piece in the puzzle to helping all those in need.
I, and I'm sure Cindy Lou would agree as well, can not wait to see what Minority Media has in store for us.
[b]Are you excited for this game? Were you affected by bullying? I understand it's personal, but by speaking up and talking about this issue, others may be helped in the process. We are all in this together and can each help in the fight against bullying.
Adam Bankhurst is one of the co-hosts of The Gamer's Advocate. Send him all your thoughts or questions to [firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/email]. You can also follow him @adambankhurst