Now, I know what you’re thinking…
Who is Near Death Studios?
NDS is a studio owned and run by Brian “Psychochild” Green, who has been a panelist and speaker at Dragon*Con in previous years. Psychochild has been the target of a few good-natured ribs concerning the now-infamous “Meridian 59 panel” . The shutting-down of NDS is a little sad for me personally.
What’s the story?
Well, back in the early days of what has now become DC*MMO, Trevor, Waylon Adams, and I had a panel on online gaming. Now considering that Everquest was the big boy on the block, and World of Warcraft was just a gleam in Blizzard’s eye, you can imagine that things were a bit more intimate than they are today. So when we put together a panel on the industry as a whole, we were ready to do just about anything to keep it from turning into something like
“Well, in Everquest…”
“In Everquest, we do…”
“How does Everquest handle the issue of…”
You get the idea.
We decided to bring in a couple of panelists who had nothing to do with Everquest. That’s how I met Elonka Dunin (who, for my money, is the smartest woman on the planet). I also got to meet a pleasant chap named Nathan who worked on a game called “Wish“, and then there was Brian.
Brian joined us on the dais, grabbed a microphone, and if we hadn’t cut off power to the room, might STILL be talking.
“In Meridian 59…”
“In my game, Meridian 59…”
“Well in Merdian 59, we…”
We had avoided becoming an EQ panel, but had somehow turned it into a panel on Meridian 59. Poor Nathan couldn’t get a word in edge-wise, and I don’t think Elonka got to answer more than one question. My friends, who took time out of their con schedule to watch me try and play moderator, ribbed me the rest of the weekend. “Meridian 59… Meridian 59… Meridian 59!!!” In fact, this panel has a great deal to do with how I have since developed my moderating style. (I am no longer shy about interrupting folks if they start rambling or if I feel they are starting to dominate a discussion. Either you run the panel, or the panel runs over you.)
As initially annoying as it was at the time, and as much fun as I’ve made of Meridian 59 in the intervening years, Brian Green taught me an extremely important lesson about MMO development, and life in general. Brian’s passion for his game, and his belief in what he was doing shone through every word he said. He is a “true believer” in M59, and he wanted to get the word out to anyone who would listen.
We should all be so passionate about the things we do for a living. Having a job that you love that much is worth more than money, and game developers, at least the good ones, are “true believers” in the games they create. The game developers who come to Dragon*Con pay their own way, and take their own vacation time to come to our convention. They truly believe in what they have created and they want to come to our convention to get their message out to the rest of us. The MMO industry will lose something vital when the “bottom line” becomes more important than the game itself.
Brian “Psychochild” Green had a lot to do with teaching me that. I’m sorry that his company has shut down, but I hope that Meridian 59 is around for a long time.