Home Events Finalist Session: Mixing Realities


Oct 23 2020


7:00 am - 7:45 am

Finalist Session: Mixing Realities

Join creators of the finalist games Arcana, Down the Rabbit Hole, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, Operation: Tango, and Terrarium for short artists’ talks followed by a discussion.

Join us on Zoom with the link from your passholder portal!



  • Mark Backler
    Mark Backler

    “Mark has worked in the games industry for 14 years at companies like Lionhead, EA and Sony on games including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the BAFTA award winning Fable 2. He founded Sketchbook Games to develop the multi-award winning Lost Words: Beyond the Page, an atmospheric puzzle platform game that is set inside a diary and features a story by renowned games writer Rhianna Pratchett.

    Mark’s favourite type of games are the ones that teach you something about yourself and about what it means to be human, that leave you feeling like you’re a slightly different person when you finish playing them to when you began – the kind of experiences that stay with you. He founded Sketchbook Games with the aim of creating these kinds of innovative titles, which if done right, can move people on a deep emotional level. The studio are also keen to develop more games that examine real world topics in a way that may help players to deal with similar issues in their own lives.”

  • Mattieu Bégin
    Mattieu Bégin

    “Mattieu is a game designer with 12 years of experience in the game industry. He started his professional career by co-founding Paragon Publishing, a two-men table-top role-playing game company that commercialized a dozen pdf supplements compatible with D&D 3.5. He then went on to work at Ubisoft Montréal, where he was part of the whole development cycle of three video games; Shaun White Snowboarding on PSP, Shaun White Skateboarding on Wii, and The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot on PC. In 2014, he left Ubisoft to co-found Clever Plays with his wife and business partner Angela. With the help of a handful of young and talented developers, Clever Plays shipped Leap of Fate on various platforms between 2016 and 2018, and is now working on Operation: Tango, a 2-player spy coop game.

    In his previous life, Mattieu obtained a Ph.D. in biological sciences and genetics in a joint program between the University of California in Riverside and McGill University. In his spare time, he loves to play soccer and hockey, keep up to date with various scientific topics, play board games and video games, and read. He is happily married and a father of two beautiful children. He thinks that everything is relative, and that respect is fundamental.”

  • Patrick Jagoda
    Patrick Jagoda

    Patrick Jagoda is a game designer and professor of Cinema & Media Studies and English at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Fourcast Lab where he collaborates with artists including Heidi Coleman, Marc Downie, Ben Kolak, Kristen Schilt, and Ashlyn Sparrow. Fourcast Lab (https://fourcastlab.com/) has created several alternate reality games, including the parasite (2017), Terrarium (2019), A Labyrinth (2020), and ECHO (2020), which take up themes including diversity and difference, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. With Melissa Gilliam, he is also co-founder of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, which creates serious games about STEM and public health for and with youth of color on Chicago’s South Side. Patrick’s digital media work, board games, video games, and alternate reality games have been featured in news publications including Wired, The New Republic, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Hyperallergic, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His books include Network Aesthetics (2016), The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer (2016), and Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification (2020). Patrick is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2020, he is participating in his first IndieCade.

  • Ricky Helgesson
    Ricky Helgesson

    “Rick Thomas is an Associate Program Officer with LabX, a creative engagement program at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). As part of the LabX team, Rick spearheads initiatives that use games to connect young adults to science.
    His most recent project was Jamming the Curve, a COVID-19 Game Jam organized in conjunction with several partners, including Seattle Indies and IndieCade.

    VR nerd and CEO of public Beyond Frames Entertainment and leader of Cortopia Studios. Background as a coder since childhood. Founded/co-founded 5 companies. Full focus on making and help others make amazing VR and AR games to enrich peoples lives with new stories.

  • Tommy Honton
    Tommy Honton

    Born in Wichita, Kansas, Tommy became obsessed with playing games, designing interactive entertainment, and solving mysteries at a young age. He attended Washington University in St. Louis where he studied Classics, Psychology, and Film & Media Studies. Arriving in Los Angeles in 2008, he stumbled around traditional entertainment, namely film and TV, before discovering immersive entertainment.

    Diving head first into the field, he has worked on a variety of projects, from video games, both traditional and VR/AR/MR, escapes rooms, and ARGs, to theater, themed entertainment, and location-based entertainment projects of all sizes. His escape room, Stash House (co-owned with his business partner Don) has won numerous awards and he’s done press around the world on the interactive exhibition he co-created, Museum of Selfies.

    Tommy has lectured about experience, game, and narrative design at conferences, conventions, and festivals including Code Conference, The Immersive Design Summit, Indiecade, LeVRage, and WonderCon, and has lectured at Art Center, SCI-Arc, UCLA, University of Chicago, and USC.

    This year, Tommy and the incredible AOTW team are nominated for Arcana, an interactive, horror-based ARG.

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Oct 23 2020
  • Time: 10:00 am - 10:45 am

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