Working in the Games Industry

WizardWorld_2015 Panel Collage_Philly_CareerGames _genese_davis

1:30 – 2:15PM A CAREER IN VIDEO GAMES: IS IT ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE? (ROOM 105)
As one of the fastest evolving industries we’ve seen to date, find out what to expect when seeking a career in gaming. Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion, MMORPG.com), Johnathan Wendel (Fatal1ty), John Spatola (Lake Effect Applications), and Jeff Birns (N-Fusion) will discuss the opportunities as well as the challenges. You won’t want to miss this vital panel!

Jason Hayes

A multiple award-winning composer, Jason Hayes is well known for his long-standing relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, contributing music to their games set in the popular worlds of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. He was the original lead composer of World of Warcraft, the most successful online game in the world.

Jason’s music has been performed by symphony orchestras all over the world in various concerts including the touring show “Video Games Live”, which debuted at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic to a crowd of 11,000 people. He’s also been a featured speaker for UCLA, USC, the Film Music Network, ASCAP, the Game Developers Conference, and the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.

Jason was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a young adult he discovered his passion for music composition while studying piano with the renowned concert pianist, Dr. William Chapman-Nyaho. After spending a year traveling around the country as a touring musician, Jason studied music composition at the University of North Texas. Soon after, he moved to California and began his career as a staff composer at Sierra On-Line, which eventually led to him joining the award-winning development team at Blizzard Entertainment.

Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel

Johnathan Wendel is considered one of the best professional gamers in the world, having won 12 world championship titles, including four Player of the Year awards with the Cyberathlete Professional League and one with the World Cyber Games. His endorsement deals include computer hardware companies, headphone companies and even food companies. Wendel was recently named the highest paid professional video gamer in the world by Business Insider, having earned a total of $454,544.98 from 35 tournaments.

Genese Davis

Genese Davis is an American author, host, columnist, and media personality. She is the author of The Holder’s Dominion, a next-generation thriller heralded as a breakthrough novel by Publishers Weekly. Her writing expertise expands across various genres including thriller, fantasy, gamer-lit, and new adult, as well as screenplay, playwriting, and video game lore. Davis is an in-demand host, speaker, and moderator for TV, radio, web-series, conventions, academic fairs, publishing workshops, and literary and entertainment expos. Davis is a featured columnist at MMORPG.com, and she is the founder of The Gamer In You. She was awarded the iGR Woman of the Year for her outstanding efforts in debunking stereotypes and for bringing the video game industry the first new adult, gaming-thriller, The Holder’s Dominion.

Davis is a thought-leader in video game culture and its social development. Through her passion for the art community, she demonstrates how team-based video games like MMORPGs affect our lives and the new place video games have in fiction and other forms of media.

Jeff Birns
Jeff Birns is a dedicated game developer with twenty-two years of experience in the video game industry. His initial work in the field started him as a fledgling 3D game artist diligently pursuing creativity; in 1997, Jeff further nourished his artistic passions and founded New Jersey-based studio N-Fusion Interactive to allow him the freedom to take innovative risk in his own creations. With an emphasis on guild-established principles, Jeff has been able to attract a solid team of talented and equally passionate game developers under his wing. Through his guidance, N-Fusion has developed over forty unique titles spanning numerous genres and platforms met with praise and acclaim, including award-winning mobile games “Air Mail” and “Deus Ex: The Fall.”

John Spatola

All his life John has excelled in both art and technology. After attending Syracuse University for his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science, he completed Lockheed Martin’s Leadership Development Program. He also attained a Masters in Systems Engineering from Cornell University.

In 2009, using his solid engineering background and experience as an avid gamer, he created Stickbo, a side scrolling stick figure shooter. Released in January, 2010, it was number one on iTunes overall free list two times. The follow up, StickBo: Zombies was released for Halloween that same year. With the success of the series, he founded Lake Effect Applications, a company specializing in mobile video games.

As CEO, Lead Designer, and Lead Software Engineer, John started to build TriggerFist, a modern third person shooter targeted towards core gamers. Released in August 2012, it is widely regarded as one of the best shooters on the iTunes App Store. It has over 16 million downloads and has held rankings in the Top 200 for over two and half years.

Lake Effect Applications represents one of the last few strongholds in the mobile gaming marketplace — an independent, self-sustaining game studio that values quality above all else. John and his team are currently working on an unannounced action game.

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