PRGE Speakers and Special Guests

Speakers & Special Guests

Atari 2600 Programmer Panel 2015
Howard Scott Warshaw, Rob Zydbel, Bob Smith, Tod Frye conduct the Atari 2600 programmmer panel at PRGE 2015.

PRGE is proud to host over 50 hours of panel programming at the 2016 expo. We are bringing in speakers from all over the country including notable figures from the early days of the gaming industry as well as current celebrities.

Speakers and panels at PRGE will take place in auditoriums just outside the main show hall. Please visit our panel schedule for times and locations.

Panel descriptions can be viewed here »

Takuya Aizu

Takuya Aizu

Takuya Aizu is the CEO of game maker Inti Creates. He is the producer of such games as Azure Strike Gunvolt, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures and is probably known best for producing many titles from the Mega Man series including Mega Man Zero, Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10.


BrutalMoose

BrutalMoose

Ian, a.k.a BrutalMoose, is a very sarcastic Video Game Review show host who is a part of the video game reviewer guild "Hidden Block".


Kinsey Burke

Kinsey Burke

Kinsey hails from Seattle, WA and is the Public Relations manager for the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo as well as a regular contributor to the Metal Jesus Rocks YouTube channel.


Frank Cifaldi

Frank Cifaldi

Frank Cifaldi is Head of Restoration at Digital Eclipse and one of gaming's leading researchers and historians.

His past credentials include being senior editor at 1UP.com, editorial director and community manager for Turner Broadcasting's GameTap games-on-demand service, and a contributing author to publications that include Edge, Wired, Nintendo Official Magazine UK and GamesIndustry.biz, among others.


Pat the NES Punk

Pat "The NES Punk" Contri

Pat Contri has emerged from being an obscure game reviewer to being a *relatively* obscure game reviewer. It could be his knowledge/love of Nintendo, it could be his quirky/bizarre sense of humor, or it could just be the hair. In addition to PRGE, he has appeared at Magfest, Screw Attack Gaming Con, and PAX Prime as well as on Spike TV. Pat currently hosts the popular Completely Unnecessary Podcast along with co-host Ian Ferguson. As if all that wasn't enough, he is also a genuinely nice guy.


Joe DeCuir

Joe DeCuir

Joe Decuir was one of the original engineers at Atari, who helped design, build, and produce the Atari 2600. He also wrote the game Video Olympics, a Pong collection that launched with the system. He later went on to help develop the Amiga, and the USB architecture.


Joey DeSena

Joey "Roo" DeSena

Once described as the "Alton Brown of video games" - his greatest compliment - Joey "Roo" DeSena co-founded the geek-centric website, clanofthegraywolf.com, in 2009. His flagship series, "16-Bit Gems", brings to light underappreciated classics from the 16-bit era of video gaming. While his other main series, "The Way Games Work", explains video game technology to the layman (with equal parts Bill Nye & G4).


Dan & Terry Diebold

Dan & Terry Diebold

The game collecting community lost their s**t last year when Terry and Dan Diebold found the only known prototype "Nintendo Playstation" console packed away in a box of junk Terry had bought in an auction for $75. Since then, Ben Heckendorn helped them restore the Super Nintendo part of the console, but was unable to read a game disk from the integrated CD-ROM drive.

Dan and Terry are bringing this one-of-a-kind piece of video game history to PRGE where Ben will once again open it up to replace the CD unit and hopefully make the console fully operational! Be sure to check out Ben's panel where he will answer questions about the unit with Dan and Terry. The Nintendo Playstation will also be set up for viewing by the public in our video game museum.


Sergio Elisondo

Sergio Elisondo

Sergio Elisondo has been working in the art of music for well over 16 years and has been teaching music for over 5 years. He received his B.A. in Music and M.A. in Education from San Jose State University.

Sergio makes multi-instrumental arrangements of video game music and other types of songs/themes. He writes and produces his own work/compositions while still maintaining his diverse musicianship, being proficient on drums, piano, guitar, bass, and voice. He is currently a full time music instructor/performer/composer/studio musician. You can hear his music on his YouTube channel or on Facebook.

Sergio will be performing live at PRGE on Saturday, October 22 in the main auditorium!


Marc Ericksen

Marc Ericksen

Marc Ericksen is a freelance game illustrator who produced covers for 75 games for every major game publisher between 1982 and 2003. Highlights include Mega Man 2, Tetris, Herzog Zwei and Space Harrier. His work can be seen at marcericksen.com and retrogameart.com.


Ian Ferguson

Ian Ferguson

By day, Ian Ferguson is a mild-mannered game store clerk, but by night he is one-half of the popular Completely Unnecessary Podcast along with Pat "The NES Punk" Contri.


Ed Fries

Ed Fries

Ed Fries (pronounced "freeze") is the former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft during much of the Xbox's lifecycle.

Fries fell in love with games while playing early arcade games like Frogger. He has both parents who are engineers, and he sees in his love for games something similar to his father's love for airplanes while working at Boeing. As a teen he programmed clones of popular arcade games on the Atari 800, and a publisher found him and offered him the chance to have his games published.

In 2010, Fries created and released a version of Halo for the vintage Atari 2600 Video Computer System.

Most recently, Ed has been restoring vintage arcade games including a rare yellow single-player Computer Space and Atari's prototype, Color Gotcha. In Ed's panel at PRGE he will recount his adventures bringing these iconic games back to life.


Tod Frye

Tod Frye

Tod Frye is a computer programmer once employed by Atari, and is most notable for being charged with the home adaptation of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 video computer system. Other games designed by Tod include LCD Breakout Atari handheld, Asteroids for Atari 400/800, and the Swordquest series (Earthworld, Fireworld, Waterworld, and the uncompleted Airworld). Unreleased titles include Save Mary and Shooting Arcade and Xevious for the Atari 2600.


Gamester81

Gamester81

John "Gamester81" Lester operates the game review site, Gamester81.com and is one fourth of the popular All Gen Gamers podcast. Gamester resides in the Phoenix, AZ area. In early 2014, John released a homebrew called Gamester81: The Video Game on the Colecovision platform. He is also the co-creator of the Game On Expo in Mesa, Arizona.


The Gaming Historian

The Gaming Historian

Norman "The Gaming Historian" Caruso operates the Gaming Historian YouTube channel which he started in 2008 to create entertaining and educational videos on the history of video games.


Steve Golson

Steve Golson

Steve Golson is an experienced designer and engineer best known in the game industry for designing arcade game enhancement kits at General Computer of Cambridge. In his time at General Computer, Golson worked on a variety of notable projects, from the Super Missile Attack arcade enhancement kit to the Atari 7800 ProSystem's Maria graphics chip to Atari games like Food Fight. His remarkable work as part of the team developing the Pac-Man arcade enhancement kit Crazy Otto drove Midway to license the game and release it as Ms. Pac-Man, which became one of the best-selling and most influential arcade games in U.S. history.

Golson currently runs his own integrated circuit consultancy, Trilobyte Systems, which he founded in 1986 after leaving General Computer.


Joe Granato

Joe Granato

Joe is the creator of "The New 8-Bit Heroes", a documentary about the creation of a new 8-bit game for the NES that will be screened in the main arcade on Saturday evening at PRGE.

After growing up in upstate New York, Joe spent thirteen years in Baltimore producing music, building a production company from the ground up, and piloting the video game development curriculum in the Baltimore City School system. He's currently a professional videographer at an art college on the west coast of Florida and still enjoys teaching game development.


John Hancock

John Hancock

"The Immortal" John Hancock is a mega-collector known for his comprehensive game collection and his comprehensive knowledge of all things video game. He is also the founder of the Cowlitz Gamers for Kids charity game expo in Kelso, Washington which has raised over $33,000 to date for the Children's Justice and Advocacy Center of Cowlitz County, WA which is currently planning its 8th annual show. He also is a regular guest on the MetalJesusRocks Youtube channel.


Wood Hawker

Wood Hawker

Since starting his channel over three years ago, Wood has crossed almost every state in the US and Australia, and has recently moved to Canada to continue his search for Retro Video Games. He captures it all on film and makes the documentary-style show 'The Game Quest' on his popular BeatEmUps Youtube channel. Now it's time for this Aussie to pack up his boomerangs and pet kangaroo, and make the big trip to America once again for PRGE!


Ben Heckendorn

Ben Heckendorn

Better known as "Ben Heck" on the Interwebs, Ben Heckendorn is an American console modder and star of element14's The Ben Heck Show, a popular online TV program celebrating maker culture. A typical episode has Ben creating a new product or hacking existing devices, such as an Xbox, for different uses, sometimes based on viewers' suggestions. Learn more about Ben Heckendorn at his website, BenHeck.com


Jason Heine

Jason Heine

Jason is the head of Heine House Entertainment, a company that develops custom audio innovations and works on other creative projects. He's a musician and sound designer who produces a wide range of entertainment, from video game audio to original musical scores and soundtracks. Jason travels the convention scene to speak about retro video games, and to perform live video game drum cover songs. He's also known for his popular "Thrift Store Hopping" video series on YouTube and is co-host and producer of the pioneering video game podcast "All Gen Gamers." Jason is also a co-founder of Game On Expo in Arizona.


Rebecca Heineman

Rebecca Heineman

Rebecca Heineman is a long-time veteran of the computer game industry. She was a founding member of Interplay Productions, Logicware, Contraband Entertainment and has also been affiliated at various times with Barking Lizards Technologies, Electronic Arts, Bloomberg, Microsoft, MacPlay and Ubisoft. In the mid-1980s, Heineman programmed the cult classic graphic adventure games Tass Times in Tonetown and The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate. Heineman also programmed the Macintosh, Super Nintendo and Apple IIGS ports of Another World, as well as some other lesser-known games, such as Mindshadow, Borrowed Time, Battle Chess, and The Tracer Sanction.

Hood's Hellions

Hoods Hellions 405th Infantry Halo Cosplayers

Hood's Hellions are the Portland's own group of Halo cosplayers. They will be helping to keep the peace at PRGE and making sure the Covenant doesn't spoil the fun. Watch for spontaneous Spartan dance parties.

Jennell Jaquays

Jennell Jaquays

Jennell Jaquays is a game designer and artist of table-top role-playing games (RPGs) and video games. Some of her works include the Dungeons & Dragons modules "Dark Tower" and "Caverns of Thracia" for Judges Guild; development and design of conversions on games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong for Coleco's home arcade video game system; and more recent design work for various video games, including the Age of Empires series, Quake 2, and Quake III Arena. The most renowned of her many works as a fantasy artist is the cover illustration for TSR's Dragon Mountain game.

The Completionist

Jirard "The Completionist" Khalil

The Completionist is a weekly YouTube web series created by Jirard Khalil and Greg Wilmot. Nearly every week, Jirard chooses one game and completes every possible in-game task, 100%, in three to four days. In each episode, Jirard sequentially discusses several aspects of the spotlight game, hitting the story, presentation, gameplay, the final level, and the overall difficulty involved in 100% completion. All episodes end with a general score as to whether or not the game is worth 100% completing, ranging from "Complete it," "Finish it," "Play it," "Look at it," or "Donate it" (Formerly "Burn it").


Jared 'ProJared' Knabenbauer

Jared "ProJared" Knabenbauer

Jared produces retro reviews, videos on the newest releases, comedic playthroughs and spotlights on overlooked indie games on his ProJared channel. His articulate monologues and professional editing make him one of the top game reviewers on YouTube.


Dennis Koble

Dennis Koble

Dennis Koble is 25 year veteran of the video game industry having done work for several companies including Atari, Imagic and Electronic Arts. Dennis designed or programmed many classic titles including Avalanche (coin-op), Trick Shot (Atari 2600), Shootin' Gallery (Atari 2600), Solar Storm (Atari 2600) and Hard Drivin' (Sega Genesis).


Chris Kohler

Chris Kohler

Chris Kohler is a WIRED contributing editor, game collector, and author of Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life. Chris has become recognized for his Retro Gaming Roadshow panel where he discusses and appraises rare video game memoribilia along with Collector Steve Lin at game expos across the country including PAX Prime, PAX East and the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo.

Tim Lapetino

Tim Lapetino

Tim Lapetino is a writer, creative director and author of the upcoming book, Art of Atari. His award-winning design and branding work has been published in more than a dozen books and magazines. He co-authored the design inspiration book Damn Good: Top Designers Discuss Their All-Time Favorite Projects and has written for HOW magazine, Geek Monthly, RETRO magazine, and others. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Museum of Video Game Art (MOVA), and is dedicated to chronicling the intersection of design and pop culture.


Kelsey Lewin

Kelsey Lewin

Frequent guest on Metal Jesus Rocks, Co-host of podcast Game Blitz Podcast and co-owner of Pink Gorilla Import and Retro Gaming store in Seattle.


Metal Jesus Rocks

Jason "Metal Jesus Rocks" Lindsey

Retro Gaming with a Heavy Metal Soundtrack. Jason Lindsey, a.k.a. Metal Jesus Rocks, used to work at game publisher Sierra On-Line in the 90s and makes videos about his love of video games & music. In addition to co-hosting the popular All Gen Gamers podcast, he hosts a well-subscribed YouTube channel that often features other ex-Sierra employees like Drunken Master Paul, Mrs. Metal Jesus and more.


Matt Magnone

Matt "Matt3756" Magnone

Matt, known as Matt3756 on YouTube, has been obsessed with those arcade claw machines his entire life. Those things are all rigged right? Wrong! Matt saved up money from his first job and bought a full size claw machine, studied it, and devised tips and tricks on how to improve your chances of snagging a prize! He now focuses his YouTube channel on videos of winning at claw machines, arcade ticket games, coin pushers, and more. He gives secrets on how some of these machines work, and how to get a slight advantage in your favor!


Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin

In addition to being one of the original creators of Seattle gaming expos (even before PRGE!), Nathan is the host of Seattle's popular Question Block Trivia Night.


David Murray

David Murray

David Murray is the creator of The 8-Bit Guy channel, a computer video series focusing mainly on retro technology from the 80's, 90's and 2000's. He makes educational content about retro technology and some of his most popular videos include detailed mini-documentaries on 8-bit computer graphics and sound.


Patrick Scott Patterson

Patrick Scott Patterson

Patrick Scott Patterson is a Video Game Advocate and Personality presently based in North Texas.

Playing video games since 1981, Patterson's love for gaming led him to becoming interested in the stories and people behind the scenes. By the time he was in middle school, Scott was hitting every library and used book store he could get to in an effort to locate books and magazines that told the backstories of his favorite game titles and the top companies in the industry.

Today, he appears at a wide variety of events across the United States such as E3, San Diego Comic-Con and SXSW to speak about various video game topics and has appeared in a number of films and television programs. He also produces video game content for a variety of outlets including NBCUniversal.


Peanut Butter Gamer

Peanut Butter Gamer

PeanutButterGamer (PBG), whose real name is Austin Hargrave, rocks the YouTube channel PeanutButterGamer. He makes video game reviews and top 10 videos. Probably most known for his Legend of Zelda videos during Normalboot's Zelda month, he also has a Let's play channel called PBGGameplay where he does walkthroughs and hardcore gameplays with the other members of Normalboots.com.


John Riggs

John Riggs

John is a master at modifying NES game ROMs to do new and interesting things. You can learn more about what he does on his YouTube channel, RIGG'd Games.


James Rolfe - The Angry Video Game Nerd

James Rolfe - The Angry Video Game Nerd

James Rolfe is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, film and video game critic, and internet personality, best known for starring in the web television series The Angry Video Game Nerd. Rolfe began filming Nintendo video game reviews as a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has created more than 270 films during his career. His career fully took off in 2004 with the beginning of the Angry Video Game Nerd. The series centers on Rolfe's nameless character, referred to simply as "The Nerd", who is a short-tempered and foul-mouthed video game fanatic who delivers commentary and sketches on retro video games he considers to be of poor quality. The show would later encompass reviews of gaming consoles, peripherals, and short lectures about video game history and culture.

Two years later, Rolfe gained mainstream attention when one of his videos went viral after friend and collaborator Mike Matei persuaded him to publish them on the Internet. Between this time, he filmed videos he created on his own and most of them have been released on his website Cinemassacre. He also performed briefly in music playing on the drums.


Bob Smith

Bob Smith

Bob is a 20-year veteran game programmer and one of the founders of Imagic. In addition to Imagic, he has worked for Atari and Accolade writing such noteworthy games as Video Pinball and Star Wars for the Atari 2600. His best known work is probably 1982's Dragonfire, although he also wrote Riddle of the Sphinx. He continued working on games through the 1980s and 1990s for a variety of companies.


Pamela Smith

Pamela Smith

Pamela Smith worked for Atari in the Promotion Design department for Consumer Electronics from 1982 - 1984. She designed the holiday packaging for the 5200 game console, and the retail point-of-purchase and sales support materials for the Ms. Pac Man, DigDug, Pengo and Phoenix games. She worked with the team that designed and produced the 1983 sales catalogs, including the 2600 and 5200 video game consoles and the entire line up of games.

Pamela has worked as a graphic designer for over 30 years. Her previous employers include Landor Associates, Maxtor Corporation and Medtronic Inc. She has consulted for Apple Computer, Borland International, Brocade, Hewlett-Packard, and VMWare. Her work has received awards from Communication Arts, The Art Directors Club of New York, Creativity Magazine and POPAI.


SpaceHamster

SpaceHamster

Jeff, a.k.a. SpaceHamster operates a popular YouTube channel where he does Top Tens, Commentary and Video Game Review-ish videos.


Switch

Switch

Jeff "Switch" Sorensen provides the soundtrack for the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. As our loyal house DJ, he provides just the right atmosphere for a 60,000 square foot hall filled with classic gaming goodness, which is no small task. Switch also operates the popular Dangerous Kids podcast that covers video gaming culture among other topics.

Chris Tang

Chris Tang

Chris grew up as a competitive gamer, succeeding with many high-profile victories including Nintendo and Sega World Championships - a side effect of which helped him to fulfill his dream of becoming a creator in the game industry. Contributing to top franchises such as "Street Fighter", "Marvel Vs. Capcom", "Transformers", "Primal Rage" and "Tetris", he's done everything from game design, game play implementation and story writing, to voice directing and voice acting.

Chris has been the finals announcer of the Classic Tetris World Championships since 2010, and he is the co-creator and design lead of "STRIKE HARBINGER", a spiritual successor to classic sci fi action-RPGs and rail shooters. The game is currently on demo tour before its release on PC, console and in arcades next year - check it out at www.strikeharbinger.com.


Howard Scott Warshaw

Howard Scott Warshaw

Howard Scott Warshaw, MA, ME, LMFT was the sole designer and programmer of one of the greatest flops in video gaming. He will discuss all the behind the scenes machinations and shenanigans which led to turning one of the most coveted licenses in video game history into a dynasty crushing disaster and ultimately the sub-flooring of the New Mexico desert. He will also discuss his experience carrying the moniker "maker of the worst game ever" for three decades. It's a tale of hubris, triumph, blind ambition and in the end... resiliency.

Artist, technologist, creator and healer, Howard Scott Warshaw is first and foremost a communicator. His career accomplishments include video game pioneer, MoMA artist, award winning film producer, celebrated software developer, author and columnist. Howard enlists this eclectic skill set to serve others as a psychotherapist in California's Silicon Valley, where he specializes in the issues of hi-tech leaders and the super-intelligent. Check out his blog at hswarshaw.com.


Watch Out For Fireballs

Watch Out For Fireballs!

Watch Out for Fireballs! is a retro games club podcast curated by Gary Butterfield and Kole Ross. They ran a successful Kickstarter to fund their live broadcast at PRGE in 2013. How cool is that?


Reggie Williams

Reggie Williams

"Radical" Reggie Williams is a beloved video game enthusiast, collecter and frequent guest on the the Metal Jesus Rocks YouTube channel.


Jeffrey Wittenhagen

Jeffrey Wittenhagen

Jeffrey Wittenhagen has been an avid NES fan since he could walk. He is a community award-winning author of multiple books, with several in the works, and has been featured in gaming publications such as Nintendo Force (Issue 8!) and the online-only Retrogaming Times Monthly. Weekly, he is also a member of the VGBS Gaming Podcast where they talk about all things gaming, in a unique and analytical fashion. He frequently posts on his blog, Hagen's Alley, with Homebrew NES reviews, "Single Credit" Reviews and Top Tens.


Rob Zydbel

Rob Zdybel

Rob Zdybel has been a developer of console games since the early days of Atari where he made games for both the 2600 and the Atari 800 computer. He made several games under the Atari and Sega labels before moving on to work for 3DO. During his days at 3DO, Rob has worked on one tank game after another, first for the Nintendo 64 console and more recently for the Playstation 2.