Bill Amend is the award-winning cartoonist behind Foxtrot, a widely-circulated slice-of-life strip that's been running for 25 years and that you undoubtedly remember from the days when newspapers were a thing. Now updating on Sundays only, Bill has more than 30 books to his name, including the newly released Jonathan: 2012.
Nels Anderson was the Lead Designer on Mark of the Ninja at Klei Entertainment, and is probably the only game developer in all of Canada that was born and raised in Wyoming (but he's Canadian now).
John Anealio performs geeky anthems for writers, librarians, lovers of Sci-Fi, Best Buy customers & robots. His music sounds like John Mayer, Weezer & James Taylor playing Dungeons & Dragons together on their iPhones.
Susan Arendt is the Executive Editor of The Escapist Magazine, a job which among many other duties includes: overseeing the news team, fielding pitches, communicating with her army of freelancers all over the world and if she has time, write an article or two and interact with the ever-growing Escapist online community.
The Escapist has been huge supporter of Desert Bus since 2010 and Susan has been big reason for that. We are excited to welcome Susan back this year.
Child's Play Charity is what started it all. A non-profit organization founded to improve the quality of life of hospitalized children by providing facilities with video game consoles, games, books and toys. The Child's Play network of pediatric hospitals and other partners numbers over 80 across the globe, with over 12 million dollars in toys and cash donated since its inception in 2003.
Jamie Dillion - Project Manager, Child's Play
Kristin Lindsay - Foundation Coordinator, Child's Play
Bob "MovieBob" Chipman is the resident film buff of The Escapist and host of Escape to the Movies, The Big Picture, and the Game OverThinker Overbytes. He's also the man behind Intermission and the upcoming webshow The Adventures of the Game Overthinker on blip.tv. On top of all of this, he maintains his blog, MovieBob, with near-daily posts.
Bill Corbett is a former writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the Sci-Fi Channel, and previously on Comedy Central. He was also a performer on the show, providing the voice of the robot Crow (version 2.0) and embarrassing himself by playing various other strange characters - including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer (a.k.a. "Brain Guy"). He is a performer and writer for Rifftrax, hilarious entertainment in the form of movie commentary in the style of MST3K, he performs with fellow MST3K alum, Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo).
Corbett is also a screenwriter and playwright. Corbett's comedy THE BIG SLAM has been produced at numerous theaters across the U.S. Other plays include HATE MAIL, THE STUFF OF DREAMS, and his comic book holiday mashup SUPER-POWERED-REVENGE CHRISTMAS #1.
Jonathan Coulton is a geek artist and performer responsible for such oeuvres as Code Monkey, Still Alive, and Want You Gone. Currently the house musician for NPR's Ask Me Another, Jonathan has just released an original Christmas album, One Christmas at a Time, and will be touring the US later this month.
The host of the Escapist's Zero Punctuation, a weekly animated review series where he unleashes his biting wit on the games that most deserve it. Yahtzee is an accomplished author, with two novels under his belt including the just-released "Jam", and has been involved in the writing process of several video games. Yahtzee is also one of the co-founders of the Mana Bar.
Dengler is co-founder of XE.com and a prominent geek philanthropist. He has been a larger supporter for Desert Bus since 2011 where he stole the show with crazy antics. He is the driving force behind Dracogen Strategic Investments, which supports fun and entertaining projects in film, gaming, arts and geekery. We look forward to having him back again this year.
The Doubleclicks perform delightfully geeky songs in a way only a pair of sisters can - using their cello, ukulele and sweet harmonies. Since hopping on to the scene in 2011 with a weekly new-song YouTube project and the music video for their Dungeons & Dragons love song - "This Fantasy World," The Doubleclicks have headlined from Portland to Seattle and beyond, performing at w00tstock shows with Paul & Storm and Wil Wheaton, and entertaining audiences at pop culture, gaming and sci-fi conventions.
Musician Gavin Dunne is the man behind some of your favourite video game inspired songs, or as he declares to the world on his website, "music about geeky things" he loves. Performing as Miracle of Sound, Gavin is featured in The Escapist Magazine where he releases a monthly music video, and is living proof that indulging in side projects may lead to unexpected long term endeavours!
Aaron Forsythe is the Senior Director of Magic R&D at Wizards of the Coast. He started his career in Magic as a professional player, competing in the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour before catching the eye of the folks at Wizards to head up the daily editorial content at magicthegathering.com. As a member of R&D over the past 10 years, Forsythe has been both a designer and developer for Magic. His design credits include Magic 2010 through Magic 2013 and Planechase. As a developer, his work can be seen on many Magic releases including the original Ravnica block and Zendikar.
Grant Imahara is most famously known for busting myths as a co-host of the Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters. As a robotics and electronics specialist his work has been seen outside of the show in films, television and commercials. He is one of the handful of official operators of R2-D2 and also developed the custom circuit to cycle the Energizer Bunny's arm beats. During his time at Industrial Light and Magic, Grant worked on Jurrassic Park: The Lost World, the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. He has additionally competed on the television series BattleBot, with his robot Deadblow.
Mikey Neumann is the Chief Creative "Champion" at Gearbox Software. He has worked at the company since Half Life for Playstation 2 and loves what he does. In addition to writing many of the games at Gearbox, he's also the voice of Scooter in the Borderlands series.
On the side he writes comics and novels. If you want to read some of his books, you can do that for free at his publishing website, "BOZ." Head on over and check out some of his material at www.bozpublishing.com
One time he ran over a banana peel in his car and that's where Mario Kart came from. (The last thing isn't true. He's actually quite allergic to bananas. One time he held one and he died. Okay, that's not totally true either. Mikey is a pathological lie-face.)
Marcus Persson, also known as Notch, also known as man who made Minecraft, also known as prolific game developer since just about when he could walk and talk (give or take a few years). After a stint at Jalbum, Marcus now works for Mojang AB, which he founded. Here's a final also known as: Markus Alexei - infrequent electronica musician.
Phil Plait - astronomer, author, space and astronomy myth debunker, trumpeter of science. Oh, and should we also mention writer of the popular Bad Astronomy blog at Slate Magazine? After years of working with data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Phil has made a multi-faceted career of sharing his love of space science with the masses. To this end, Phil and his wife, Marcella, also founded Science Getaways, a vacation company offering holidays with science themes.
Michael "Mike" Robles is the Community Manager for Magic: The Gathering at Wizards of the Coast. He creates content for the official Magic: The Gathering Facebook page as well as the official Twitter account. If you see him at conventions he's probably got plenty of free stuff to give you. You can follow what Mike has to say about Magic on Twitter: @wizards_magic.
Known around Desert Bus as Ken "Value Added" Steacy (thanx to his legacy of creating some of the most exciting live auctions we've seen), Ken decided at age eleven to become a professional comic book writer/artist, a dream he realized in 1974. Since then, he has chronicled the exploits of Spider-Man, Harry Potter, and the Star Wars gang, to name but a few. In addition to creating his own intellectual property, he has collaborated with Harlan Ellison, Dean Motter, and Douglas Coupland. The recipient of an Eisner and an Inkpot award, Ken was inducted into the Joe Shuster Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, a lifetime achievement award honouring Canadian comic book creators for their contributions to the industry. Alongside his wonderful wife, graphic novelist Joan Steacy, Ken is currently teaching Comics & Graphic Novels in a program they created at Camosun College here in Victoria - pls check it out at: www.camosun.ca/comics!
Jim Sterling is a self-professed "official Mysterio" of videogames and while keeping busy balancing the tasks that come with such a title, still manages to fulfill his role as Reviews Editor at Destructoid and releases a weekly conversation piece on The Escapist aptly titled "Jimquisition". Additionally, Jim regularly contributes to the gaming conglomerations GamesRadar, GamePro and GameFront.
Kris Straub's newest project project is the cosmic horror adventure Broodhollow, but he's also the man behind Chainsawsuit, Starslip, and more. If you're not into reading, you might know him from Blamination or as Kris in Kris and Scott's Scott and Kris Show on PATV. He's also responsible for Ichor Falls, and that one story Candle Cove that may or may not have creeped you right out.
Stephen Toulouse, also known as Stepto, is a writer, game industry policy consultant and former security guru. His impressive eighteen year tenure at Microsoft began in April 1994 and culminated in his position as Director of Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement. W00tstock attendees will also recognize him from several guest appearances and readings.
Considering there's an online law named after him, you likely already know who Wil Wheaton is. But even if this is your first time on the Internet, you may still recognize him from his roles in the Big Bang Theory, The Guild, Eureka, Star Trek: The Next Generation and many, many more. He is currently working on the web series Tabletop and generally being an awesome guy. Also, sometimes he gets really excited when people propose.