SirBruce already got his report on AGC up, which leads with the critical bit on what happened to annoy Mark Jacobs, president of Mythic Entertainment.
Specifically, it was this description of Richard Garriott (Lord British, duh)’s Thursday afternoon speech, emphasis added: (this is still up on AGC’s Web page as of this writing)
Thursday 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Building New IP
Richard Garriott, father of the online gaming industry (Ultima Series, Origin Systems, NCSoft), will discuss building new intellectual property.
This bothered Jacobs, because, well, he’s been in the online game industry a lot longer than Garriott, who can’t even say he was the “father” of Ultima Online, the MMORPG which used his creation, Ultima, as its basis. (Though UO was arguably the first huge mainstream success in online game worlds, and Garriott is probably one of the fathers of computer RPG gaming in general. Split hairs and all.)
I wasn’t there to see any of the following, but suffice it to say there were lots who were. Near as I can tell, this is how it went down (and anyone is free to correct me on this).
Jacobs apparently confronted Garriott in the AGC speaker’s lounge, first just asking if he wrote the text in the manual. Garriott said he hadn’t. Jacobs then demanded that Garriott apologize in his speech, or else Jacobs, who was going to be in a panel discussion in the same room immediately after Garriott, would call the whole thing out.
Garriott apparently didn’t acknowledge Jacobs’ beef in his speech (and from what I heard, spent half the speech talking in general about building an IP, and the other half plugging Tabula Rasa. Raph Koster, in the thread linked above, said Jacobs’ retort went something like this:
Mark Jacobs specifically called out “folks by the names of Richard, Roy, Bill, Kelton, and John” — that would be Bartle, Trubshaw, Louden, Flinn, and Taylor. As it happens, I was standing next to Bill at the time, and he whispered to me, “Can I just be the mommy of online games instead?”
Bartle and Trubshaw founded MUD1, Louden was founding manager of the pre-Internet online service GEnie, Flinn and Taylor founded Kesmai which made games for GEnie. All several years before UO. If you read the descriptions of each talk, you might note that most of them have a little more meat on them; almost as though whoever wrote the bit for Garriott’s talk didn’t have much to work with. “Um… it’s Lord British giving a talk… he’s important, right? ‘Father of online gaming’? Hell, let’s go with it.” I doubt Garriott’s at fault for it getting printed, but he probably could have defused that situation.
But maybe there wasn’t much to it after all, but hey, it was that kind of conference. I’ll get back to reporting stuff of consequence tomorrow.
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