Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chris Melissinos To Receive GDC13 Ambassador Award!!

HUGE congratulations to my good friend and industry icon Chris Melissinos who will be receiving the Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference 2013 (GDC13) in San Francisco the week of March 25th to 29th for his AMAZING work as curating 'The Art of Video Games,' an exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012.  Here is the official Game Developers Choice Awards homepage.

Below is from Game Developers Conference 2013 (GDC13) homepage:
"Ambassador Award recipient Chris Melissinos started his career at Sun Microsystems in 1994 and spent much of his 16-year tenure driving an industry-wide movement toward Java technology-based game development and building infrastructure programs for massively connected game play. Melissinos is well known in the industry for his role in cross-platform video game technology development, video game preservation and advocacy, virtual world applications, and lectures on the future of games and computer technology. Building upon his successful career in technology development and preservation, he is exploring new forms of game interactivity as a co-founder of

Melissinos' work as the creator and guest curator for the groundbreaking Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition 'The Art of Video Games,' helped to cement the message of interactive entertainment as a form of modern culture. The 6,000 square foot installation presented four decades of evolution in the video game industry as an artistic means, earning the distinction of becoming one of the most successful exhibitions in the history of the museum, and saw more than half a million visitors during its initial six month exhibition. Melissinos' 'The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect,' co-written with Patrick O'Rourke, also serves as the exhibition catalog at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the exhibition will travel to ten additional museums in the United States through 2016.

"Chris' work on the Smithsonian's 'The Art of Video Games' exhibit is a testament to his commitment to the industry," added Scavio. "The success of the installation only confirms that his dedication to communicating the mission of the game development community to larger audiences is not only authentic, but extremely effective. We can think of nobody more deserving of this year's Ambassador Award."

Julie and I were honored to attend the VIP event at the Smithsonian American Art Museum event that Chris Melissinos was the curator and did and AMAZING job putting it together:

 Above is the logo for The Art of Video Games.

It was an absolutely first class event.   There were individuals from all walks of life.  We had a chance to talk to lots of long time friends from Sun Microsystems as well as Chris's mom Faye, dad Bob and Chris's brother Ryan.  Sue Walls, Steve Fritzinger and other Sun employees were there as well.  It was very cool to meet some famous people such as Tom McMillen of UMD Terps, Washington Bullets and a Congressman from Maryland.  Tom was the #1 high school player in the entire country when he signed to play with Left Driesell at Maryland.  A very nice and BIG man.  I should have got a picture with him, but I saw Chris and moved along.

Above is the first area of The Art of Video Games that describes Chris's journey with gaming.  Part of Chris's journey was at Sun Microsystems whe he was a sales rep and was considering sending in a proposal for Sun to get into gaming.  Chris happened to ask my opinion and I thought it was a brilliant idea.   Chris did such a fantastic job with this that Scott McNealy, co-founder, president and CEO of Sun, encouraged Chris to push forward with his proposal.  Chris did and was eventually named Sun's Chief Gaming Officer and the host of Java One.   I have never, EVER met a more passionate, creative or smarter individual than Chris!

Below is a short video of Chris thanking the contributors and the crowd for a great night while giving a very eloquent talk on The Art of Video Games.

Above is Chris and I at the event.   Chris was kind enough to give a key note at the [MC]2 MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference I hosted in November 2011.

Above is me, Chris and my wife Julie.   We purchased Chris's book called The Art of Video Games which is fantastic.

One of the benefits of being Chris is that woman line up to get their photos with him.  The line went out the door, down the steps and all the way down to The White House 12 blocks away.   Chris is very fortunate that his lovely wife Michelle realizes that Chris is the Michael Jordan of Video Games and must be shared with ALL of his fans :-)

In the News
The Washington Post, March 18, 2012, “Critic’s Review: ‘The Art of Video Games’ at the Smithsonian American Art Museum” by Philip Kennicott
The New York Times, March 16, 2012, “An Exhibition in Easy Mode” by Seth Schiesel
BBC News, March 15, 2012, “Video game art gets the gallery treatment” by Jane O’Brien
USA Today, March 13, 2012, “Are video games art? Draw your own conclusions” by Mike Snider
Salon, March 10, 2012, Five-Minute Museum, “Video games as multi-player art project” by Emma Mustich
Metro Connection, WAMU 88.5, March 9, 2012, “Jumping Inside The Art of Video Games” with Rebecca Sheir
Smithsonian, March 2012, “The Art of Video Games” by Abigail Tucker
Smithsonian, March 2012, “The Art of Video Games”—Interview with Chris Melissinos” 

Below is Chris wrapping up his welcoming message and inviting the attendees to go up stairs to attend the exhibit.

Below is a blog post I did in 2007 when Chris came to VT to give an INCREDIBLE presentation on gaming!

"I wanna be, I wanna be like Chris Melissinos - Virginia Tech Gaming Presentation"

Last Tuesday night the 6th of November, Chris Melissinos - Sun's Chief Gaming Officer, put on the best presentation that the Virginia Tech (VT) students of the ACM in Blacksburg may have ever seen.  Certainly the most interesting. These are not my observations, but that of the President of the ACM.  Chris and I drove down to Blacksburg together that Tuesday.  It was a very educational day for me, (see here for history of gaming) because I had a chance to get a better understanding of the entire gaming world from the expert on planet earth.  It would be analogous to driving down to a physics seminar on Quantum Mechanics and you had the pleasure of spending four hours with Werner Heisenberg.
I have had the privilege of personally seeing many, many Sun and non-Sun luminaries wax eloquently to enthralled audiences.

At VT on November 6th, 2007  Chris Melissinos surpassed anything that I have ever witnessed before. 

The audience was 60 extremely bright Computer Science students who are also members of the ACM at VT.   VT is one of the top Computer Science and Engineering Schools that is well known for their deep Linux expertise.

The students started showing up early at 7:00pm and Chris spoke until 11:30pm with no breaks until we finally had to leave.  The President of the ACM said:

         "I have seen countless ACM presentations by every
         company you can think of and I have never - ever -
         seen this type of response and this amount
         of incredible interest."

It was simply amazing to see CS Majors sitting on the edges of their seats for over four hours.
How this all happened was thanks to Jonathan's increased investment from 180 Campus Advocates to 500 this year. In the case of the VT Campus Advocate, it happens to be my son, John, who has known Chris for six years and has been to Chris's house to see his amazing collection of every gaming system from Pong forward, asked Chris to speak at VT.  Since I love to see Chris speak, I offered to drive Chris to Blacksburg from Ashburn.

When I think about the stock symbol change from SUNW to JAVA, I think of extremely talented, passionate and hardworking Sun employees like Chris Melissinos.   Chris is the perfect example of the type of leaders we must have to capture these new and emerging markets.

If you would like to listen to this event, the audio is here and the slides are here.

As a Sun employee, last Tuesday night was priceless. 
Chris also blogged about this and has some great photos of the night as well.

Below is Chris checking into [MC]2 2011.  Chris gave one one the keynotes at [MC]2 2011 and did an amazing job!

Above on the left is Nat Frampton, President of Real Time Development Corporation and the instructor for the MTConnect Adapters and Agents Class at [MC]2.  In the middle is Chris Melissinos waiting to check in with Beth Czupil of AMT.

Above is Chris Melissinos, VP of Verisign and Sun Microsystems former Chief Gaming Officer.  The photo in the upper left is Chris playing with a video game as a kid.  He has not lost the fire, which is great!  Chris gave a talk on "Anytime, Anywhere Manufacturing".   

Chris is making a point to the audience.

Above I am thanking Chris for a GREAT keynote!

Last night Julie and I went out to dinner with long time friend Chris Melissinos and his wife Michelle to thank Chris giving the keynote at [MC]2 2011  MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference.   We had a great time and after dinner, we came back to their house.   We went in to Chris's office and he showed me something pretty amazing.  Chris is holding an original Pong circuit board signed by Atari co-founder and gaming legend Nolan Bushnell.  Pong came out in 1972.  Chris and Nolan are good friends.