Enjoy the following list of confirmed speakers who will be appearing at or during ARGFest-o-Con 2009, mostly in alphabetical order.

Tanner Ringerud & James Babb

Awkward Hug

Awkward HugTanner and Jim are the founding members of Awkward Hug, a fledgling transmedia production company. They are storytellers that weave tales through a full spectrum of media. Awkward Hug focuses on creating content that can be consumed by active players as well as passive viewers, encouraging all types of interaction. They are strong proponents of both Creative Commons and emergent narratives, which allows players a greater opportunity to interact with all media types. Because all Awkward Hug content is licensed under Creative Commons, it is available for players to freely remix, reuse, and recreate, making it something that is uniquely their own. Currently, Tanner and Jim are running their MustLoveRobots.com campaign and look forward to working on commercial transmedia projects in the future.

Jeff Hull, Sara Thacher & Uriah Findley


NonchalanceNonchalance’s practice stands at the intersection of three core concepts: Narrative, Multimedia, and Space (both public and private). Founded in Oakland in 1999 by director Jeff Hull, the organization’s primary goal is to infuse more variability and play into the civic realm. Past projects have included “Oaklandish”, “The Liberation Drive-In”, “Urban Capture the Flag”, and “The Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Society”. With over 100 free public events under its belt, Nonchalance has received thirteen consecutive “Best of the East Bay Awards”, and produced exhibits and installations for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Oakland Museum of CA, the Oakland International Airport, and the Art and Soul Festival. They are currently wrapping production on the “Games of Nonchalance”, an “Immersive Media Narrative” leading participants on a journey of urban exploration throughout San Francisco’s hidden present and past.

Burcu Bakioglu


Burcu BakiogluBurcu Bakioğlu received her Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington where she conducted extensive research on narratives in the age of media convergence. Her dissertation, Business of Storytelling: Production of Works, Poaching Communities, and Creation of Story Worlds, investigates how the production and consumption of stories are negotiated between its producers/creators, the medium of the work, and the communities that these works mobilize. Her research extends to printed works, video logs like Lonelygirl15, Alternate Reality Games, and virtual worlds, in particular, Second Life. Her article which provides a cultural analysis of the griefer groups of Second Life, entitled “Spectacular Interventions of Second Life: Goon Culture, Griefing, and Disruption in Virtual Spaces,” was published in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. She presented her work at various academic conferences such as NCA, the International Narrative Conference, MIT Media in Transition conferences, Cultures of Virtual Worlds, and in Second Life Community Conventions.

Jeromy Barber

12th Street House

Jeromy BarberJeromy’s first job was at a large man’s western wear store called Big Tex. Later, because there were these cute twins at Chick-fil-a, he worked at the mall in high school at the Gap where he folded many different shades of Pocket Tees. At Baylor University he worked as a waiter at Casa Ole and tended bar at The River Front Café. When he graduated with his degree in Music Education he moved to New York. He was just out of a relationship with that bitch Monica, so it was good timing. In New York, he worked and lived at The Lamb’s Theatre in Times Square. Bored with his life as a commercial actor and facility administrator, Jeromy transitioned to producing independent film projects at the whimsical request of his friend Matt Diffee. While at an Albertsons in Park City, UT during the 2005 Sundance Film Festival (where he works annually), God told him to move back to Texas. Back in Houston, Jeromy started 12th Street House to keep making fun projects with friends. In 2006 he discovered LG15 ’cause there was nothing else on the internet and he couldn’t find a Wii. Inspired by Cassie is Watching and OpAphid, he made an impactful, fast-paced ARG on the cheap that coulda shoulda woulda lived in the Breeniverse. Luckily, it never did. It was/is called Maddison Atkins. In the summer of 2009… this summer… he rebooted the series with fresh ideas and a very fun group of actors, crew and the most loyal and defective fans on the interbutts.

In the daytime, he makes commercials in Nacogdoches, TX under his pseudo name East Texas Video. Honestly, he loves his fans, his mom Karen and his awesome girlfriend Vicki. Oh and his cat Bennie. He loves him too.

Jay Bushman

Alchemy Storytelling

Jay BushmanAs The Loose-Fish Project, Jay uses ARG-inspired methods to produce adaptations of classic works of literature, including The Good Captain, a Twitter-based sci-fi adaptation of Melville’s “Benito Cereno,” and The Spoon River Metblog, a modernization of “Spoon River Anthology” in the form of a hyperlocal group blog. Later this year Loose-Fish will launch Profile and Prejudice, a contemporary retelling of the Jane Austen classic spanning multiple social networking platforms.

Under the imprint of Sci-Fi Twitter Theater, Jay has been guilty of organizing twitter-based re-enactments of classic movie scenes, like the Death Star attack (#SXStarWars) and the BarCamp BugHunt (#Aliens).

Jay is also a founder of Alchemy Storytelling, a new confederation of story hackers, fiction designers and liars-for-hire who are devoted to fulfilling all of your narratological needs.

Brian Bricker

Writer - “I’m Sorry”

Brian BrickerBrian Bricker, author of the “I’m Sorry” experience and the associated novel The Great and the Terrible has been writing professionally for more than a decade. Most of that time spent combining creativity and technical knowledge for the Emergency Medical Services industry through publishers such as Prentice Hall, Brady, and Jones & Bartlett. Prior to his career in EMS, Brian worked as a prison guard, a morning radio show producer, a truck driver hauling radioactive sludge from oilfields in the Midwest, and for LucasFilm. If by now you’re wondering why Brian is on the speaker list for ARGFest-o-Con alongside industry experts, geniuses and legends, the answer is simple. We noticed the controversy surrounding “I’m Sorry,” an interactive experience that blurs the lines between fiction and reality to an extent that has some crying foul and others hailing the future of Alternate Reality Gaming, and thought that it would make a great panel discussion. And hey, at the very least it would give some of you the opportunity to hit Brian with a chair.
[Note: Please do not actually hit anyone with anything. -Ed.]

Dee Cook


Dee CookDee Cook was elated to discover the world of interactive storytelling because, at that moment, she finally discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. A fish out of water with lofty ideals and meta-theorizing, Dee finds herself most at home with her sleeves rolled up and the grease of a good story under her fingernails. In the last several years she has written, designed, and consulted on over a dozen alternate reality games, extended realities, and marketing campaigns, most recently World Without Oil, Dead Space, Ruby’s Bequest, and True Blood. You can find her online at Addlepated.net.

Steve Diddle

Remix Fiction

Steve DiddleSteve Diddle, over the past several months, has befriended many people in the ARG Community. He has worked on community projects, contributed to forum discussions, played alternate reality games, wrote articles covering aspects of game design, was a guest on the ARG Netcast, and had conversations with people in chat, through twitter, and other social networking sites. He was becoming a well known personality in the community. There was just one big problem; he did all of those things by proxy through a fictional character named Martin Aggett.

Martin Aggett is the protagonist in a planned Alternate Reality Game scheduled to be published this fall by Remix Fiction. For now, Remix Fiction is nothing more than a philosophy that espouses the belief that stories can evolve and be told through a partnership between the experience designer and the audience. Steve wants to remix the real, online and mobile world into an immersive and inviting environment that entices you to join in and help shape and become part of the story.

James Kane


James KaneIn an alternate reality James is an intellectual property lawyer. It used to be that James was a lawyer in reality, but things have become rather more confusing of late.

You see, James recently designed an iPhone app called The Hidden Park. He took a little pinch of children’s animation, a generous dollop of geocaching, and stirred it through an ARG foundation. He is still trying to work out what the hell he created. But most people seem to think it tastes pretty good.

One day, while sitting at his laptop, a small portal opened and a voice inside summoned him to meet with the People of ARG. He squeezed through the portal and followed the voice. The portal led to Portland. Which kind of made sense. But only barely.

The darndest thing is, the closer he gets to the Portland, the larger it becomes. It’s as if the boundaries of the ARG Kingdom just keep spreading. The whole situation is a little unnerving - but he is looking forward to discussing these expanding horizons with the People of ARG. Somebody there must know what’s going on.

Mela Kocher

Pixel Identities

Mela KocherMela Kocher, aka PinkCloud, is a Swiss games researcher with a slight coffee and ice cream addiction. She wrote her thesis (”Follow the Pixel Rabbit,” available only in German) on the subject of aesthetics and narrativity of digital games. Earlier this year Mela moved to San Diego with Mr. and BabyPC not only for the great surfing conditions but also to initiate her two years’ post-doctoral research project for which she’s received a grant from the The Swiss National Science Foundation. Her research topic is the blurring of reality and fiction in digital media, especially in ARGs. In her debut as an ARG player she got flown in from San Diego to Berlin for the finale of the “Therapy” ARG, which she’s still excited about.

Elan Lee

Fourth Wall Studios

Elan LeeElan Lee believes that if you’re bored, you’re doing something wrong. A self-identified entertainment-addict, Elan has spent his career finding and sharing ways to extract adventure from the world around us.

From surfing down the flooded streets of LA to broadcasting a radio drama over thousands of ringing payphones, Elan has pioneered breakthroughs in the area of entertainment and immersive gaming.

Elan started his career at the Microsoft Game Studio where he was a Lead Designer for the X-BOX launch portfolio. Next, he co-founded and served as the Vice President of Design for 42 Entertainment (the company behind I Love Bees, The Vanishing Point, Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero, and The Dark Knight.) He was also the Co-Founder of EDOC Laundry, and most recently the Co-Founder and Chief Designer at Fourth Wall Studios.

Elan has spoken all over the world on the future of gaming, and is considered among the foremost Alternate Reality Game creators in the world. He has been featured in WIRED magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the Wall Street Journal. He has won awards for best web game of the year, best advertising campaign of the year, and best idea of the year. Also, his mom claims he’s a very nice boy.

Patrick Moeller


Patrick MoellerWith the start of the German news and info website ARG-Reporter in the end of 2005 he helped to spread the word about ARGs in his country. In the beginning of 2006 he met the vm-people in Berlin and since then is engaged to all gaming and community aspects and especially in all alternate reality gaming aspects of vm-people’s projects. For this he and his colleagues created some of the most successful german ARGs like “Final Mill” (Microsoft Germany), “Join The Pirates” (Roland Berger) or “Charlotte is becoming real” (Sebastian Fitzek, Writer).

Michelle Senderhauf


Michelle SenderhaufMichelle is an artist, ARG designer and writer. When she isn’t busy in the ARG world, she makes pretty websites with her husband at Jeem Design. She also holds a full time job being a Momployee to her 7-year-old daughter, whom she is grooming to become the ultimate ARG player of the future.

Being a long time gamer, Michelle was fascinated by the concept behind Majestic and became a beta tester in 2001. Shortly before the game ended she met a lovely farm boy from Wisconsin. He distracted Michelle from the gaming world for a while by somehow convincing her to quit her job, marry him and have a child. Family couldn’t keep her away long, as she returned to the community to play Chasing the Wish.

Michelle has since gone to the dark side, working as an independent contractor on many ARGs, including World Without Oil, Ruby’s Bequest and a few other projects she can’t speak of without angering the NDA gods.

Brooke Thompson

Giant Mice

Brooke ThompsonBrooke Thompson is one of the leading experience designers specializing in alternate reality gaming and urban play. She launched her first game, Lockjaw, in early 2002 and followed that up with Metacortechs - a fanfiction piece placed in the Matrix universe. Somewhere between the two of those, she realized that this was much more than the hobby and that she had a real talent for creating experiences that could engage a community of participants large or small. Since then, she has continued her work in the independent arena, most recently as Creator and Designer of Eldritch Errors and The (soon to happen) Zombie Uprising (are you ready for it?). When she’s not working on those, Brooke splits her time between contracting and consulting which not only pay the bills but have taken her around the world and let her work with such notable companies as 42 Entertainment, GMD Studios and Xenophile Media.

She can be found online at giantmice.com and is a frequent panelist on the ARG Netcast.

Dave Tenenbaum

Unfiction Administrator

Dave TenenbaumDave entered the world of alternate reality gaming the way most people do; as a player. He found the Metacortechs game in the Fall of 2003, while searching for answers about the then upcoming third Matrix film, and has never looked back. He felt so moved by that first playing experience, he recorded his impressions as one of the authors of The Project Mu Archives, and helped create a commemorative trail (Project Um) that entertained a very small number of players. Dave went on to play several subsequent games, although his posting on the unFiction forums tended to be on Meta topics. He subsequently has participated in the community as a forum moderator, and later an administrator. Both on the forums, and as an occasional guest on the ARG NetCast, he has shown a particular interest in Meta issues, and the expectations and experiences of players in alternate reality gaming.

Special Guests

They’re so special, they get their own page! Click here to check out this year’s Special Guests

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