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Folks I Admire: Double Exposure

Today, I want to say a few words about Double Exposure — a New Jersey company that puts on a few different conventions a year, including Dexcon (which is next weekend), Metatopia, Dreamation, Maelstrom, and First Exposure at Gen Con. I’ve been to Dreamation a few times in my earlier indie days, and I was at Metatopia last year as a guest.

More to the point, I want to say a few words about Avonelle Wing, Vincent Salzillo, and the whole Double Exposure crew. Avie and Vinny are tremendous, generous souls. Dreamation is the reason that several of us today are indie designers, as they saw the community that flocked to their convention. They carved off a sizeable section of Dreamation (and I assume Dexcon, though I’ve never been to it) to cater to the new indie/story game crowd, and many games and creators were forged in that melting pot of awesome.

Seeing how often Dreamation and Dexcon were used as a playtest ground, they then made an entire new convention around playtest, design, and the culture around it. But it wasn’t just about that — it was also about transgender inclusivity, about mental health, about community support, about the things that the community felt passion toward. You may have heard about how they rebranded the con area bathrooms to be unisex. Lillian Cohen-Moore shares many of her thoughts on Metatopia 2013 on her old column.

Of course, here I am talking about the con and not explicitly the people behind it, but that’s the thing: every great endeavor like this is due to the hard work and awareness of not only those who run it but those who do the small jobs. Everyone I’ve met at DE is awesome (I even roomed with two DE staffers, whose names I sadly cannot recall right now). Vinny and Avie have been tremendous supporters of indie creators, of social issues, and of people in general. I love these people, as shining beacons and as human beings.

I am personally grateful for the creatively catalytic space they’ve made. A Penny For My Thoughts was made much better for playtests at Dreamation, as was Mythender. And my now-Kickstarting Backstory Cards was first tested at last years Metatopia. (Shoot, going to Metatopia was the kick I needed to make the initial prototype, two days before flying out.)

I look forward to seeing them at this coming Gen Con. If you’re also going to Gen Con, may I recommend their First Exposure playtest hall?

– Ryan

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