Folks I Admire: Cam Banks

Cam Banks is one of the most talented RPG developers I know of, and have had the privilege of working with on some Cortex Plus projects — the Leverage line and parts of the Hacker’s Guide, notably us teaming up together to forge Cortex Plus Action. When he announced a few months back that he took a full-time position at Atlas Games, I was happy for both him and Atlas, since Atlas is awesome and he is fearsome.[1]

While he is a good game designer, his greatest talent is in fostering collaboration and curating the very designs he’s working on. If you’re wondering what the hell that means, I first say that you should work with Cam. Barring that, though, what Cam does is take input from various sources and weighs them with a careful eye, which tempers more aggressive and boundary-pushing designers that may disregard some player experiences. It’s that melding that made the iterations of Cortex Plus the celebrated games that they are.

Along with that, Cam’s a great faceman for a game company. He’s personable, kind, and will listen. He takes time to explain things, even to people who don’t want explanations but just to complain. And he’s a calming force on social media, sometimes jokingly (or not so jokingly) called “Twitter’s Dad.” All in all, he’s a great person to know — as a game designer, as a project wrangler, and as a human being. He’s a person to emulate[2].

I should also confess that I have not always treated Cam with the respect he deserves, partly due to my mishandling of business decisions that both he was involved in and were completely out of his control. That Cam handled those moments well, and that he even worked with me afterward, is a testament to his patience and forgiveness. I, for serious, am not a quarter of the person he is — which is a further, and perhaps most significant, reason that I admire him.

You should better know Cam, which you can do by following him on Twitter (@boymonster) or on Google+.

– Ryan

P.S. Cam has asked me to make sure you all know that his wife, Jess Banks, is smarter than he is. I will (with no sarcasm or malice) agree with him. She’s also pretty fucking awesome.

[1] On occasion, Cam, my memory actually works.

[2] Which is a thing I need to remind myself of.


3 Responses to Folks I Admire: Cam Banks

  1. I’ve worked more and more closely with Cam than probably anyone else in this business, and I second all of this. He’s a great friend and a wonderful person to work with – even when we disagree about stuff! (Which, honestly, doesn’t happen very often.)

  2. Ken Burnside says:

    Cam and Jess are truly amazing, and wonderful, people.

  3. Cam pretty much gave me my start as a freelancer, and I can testify wholeheartedly that he is not only one of the best people I’ve worked with (and not just in the industry), but he is one of the greatest people I have ever had the privilege to meet.

    And because one goes hand in hand with the other, Jess is Shift X awesome as well! She amazes me every time I read her blog with the sheer mountains of knowledge she keeps inside her noggin, and the warmth with which she imparts said knowledge.

    If I could grow up to be them, I could die happy.