Event Director / Final Boss
Right now, you might be thinking, “I've never seen games at an event. How does that work??” My story of Games Done Legit‘s origin is the most powerful testament to how interactive entertainment enhances our lives , brings us together, and gives us common ground like nothing else.
Growing up, I was an unpopular, short, smart, nerdy kid with insanely unmanageable head of hair. But after school, none of that mattered.
Through videogames, I was able to hone my skills, experience new worlds, make new friends, and believe in myself.
Arcades were the only place I didn’t feel like someone would make fun of me about my height. I found that the normal things kids tease you about don’t apply in the gaming world when you're good!
Even at the lowest points of my life, I found I could learn and achieve in videogames and then use that confidence to dust myself off and get through it!
Then after college, from 2006-2012, along with a friend I met at a Street Fighter II machine at an Ohio State donut shop, I directed what became one of the world’s biggest international videogame tournaments.
I got to meet and entertain people from all different countries and walks of life. Not only that, I was running a world championship for games I'd been playing since I was 9! And as a competitor, I was able to travel the world and make friends with and understand people I had (seemingly) nothing else in common with.
Our annual event drove home to me what amazing impact videogames can have on our lives.
It was an amazing ride, but to be honest, the new fighting games aren't very good, and the smallest amount of money really changed people around us. We decided to end our event at the height of its success.
But I had accidentally discovered my true passion: creating event entertainment that people absolutely loved and maybe would remember forever!
I networked and worked in the events industry for a few years, getting encouragement from other small-business owners that what I had done with our tournament could be great for corporate team-building, bar mitzvahs, all kinds of events!
With my ADHD, once I latch onto and believe in an idea, I can't really be stopped, so I quit my boring desk job to launch Games Done Legit in 2013 when I had a few school and bar events lined up. Coincidentally, I had just met my future wife, and newly dating, she let me do my thing, trusting and hoping it'd work out.
I had worked all these events that did the same DJ/dance party and photobooth thing, and thought, these people would flip their $hit if they had something more to do -- something fun, something I already knew they loved, just no one was bringing it to events yet!
Designing activities designed around the best console and arcade experiences ever launched GDL, and when consumer virtual reality came out in 2016, we were bringing our expertise in interactive event entertainment to workplaces and parties all over the map!
Whether you grew up with Pac-Man, Mario, Sonic, Minecraft, or DDR, gaming is such a huge part of culture today. I'm really glad that kids don't have to worry about getting made fun of anymore over it, because everybody games!
My story is not unique: For many of us, games have a profoundly positive effect on our lives.
I started Games Done Legit to share that joy with everyone during the biggest events of their lives.
I hope you enjoyed my story. Every event I run, people can't help but share their personal gaming stories from their childhood when they see their favorite old games!
We build interactive event experiences that your guests have never imagined -- and will never forget!