Report: Grand Rapids Schmooze 2005

I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 15th, 16th, and 17th for the Grand Rapids Schmooze. The GRS is basically an informal get-together of people involved in the shareware industry. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured it would be good to hear from people already in the industry I want to get into. I made my hotel reservations, printed out the directions, and away I went.

First Day

At the last minute my girlfriend decided to accompany me, and we both drove out from Chicago. I thought it would be a four hour drive, but we didn’t have to stop for gas. We got there with half a tank left, and plenty of time to spare. No traffic! We checked into the hotel. I brought my Gamecube, and we both brought plenty of books. Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect.

I was there fairly early, but I got to meet a few people, including our host Sheila Manning. There was plenty of food and drinks throughout the Schmooze, which is good because hotel food is expensive. B-)

The first day was full of talk of the Shareware Industry Conference and other events about which I had no idea, but I figured I would pick up on the inside jokes soon enough.

Second Day

After breakfast (read: donuts), a number of us went to see the ITT Game Design Club (WARNING: heavy use of Flash). We got a tour of the ITT campus as well as free lunch. I got a chance to talk to a few of the students and faculty there. I thought I wouldn’t have much to say compared to some of the other Schmoozers, but I was surprised to find that my throat was getting dry by the end. I was asked about what classes I would have found useful, and the discussion eventually turned to a number of topics including games in politics and female gamers. I even managed to procure a small toy cow provided by the Schmoozers from Tucows.

After returning to the hotel, we spent the rest of the time schmoozing. Some of the people from the ITT GDC came by and played Magic: The Gathering while a number of people went out for dinner. I missed out on going to Big Boy, but Applebee’s was good.

I found another fan of Total Annihilation, and everyone always gets a kick out of hearing about my fairy ninja in Wizardry 8. I also heard that Homeworld 2 had some serious flaws, but I’m still interested in getting a copy of the game. It’s a blast to hear some of Gregg’s stories from the trenches of Spectrum Holobyte and Thomas Hruska‘s TI-82 games.

Third Day

Besides Schmoozing during the day, Gregg Seelhoff hosted a campfire. A number of us attended, including my girlfriend, Thomas Warfield, Tim and Sharon Thousand, and Loren and Kim Brewer. We successfully started a campfire, successfully grilled some hamburgers and hotdogs, and I successfully got the beanbags through the hole of the game that Loren and Kim brought. And I just lost The Game.

While most of the people brought tents to stay the night, I drove back to the hotel with my girlfriend and Thomas Warfield. Before going to bed my girlfriend and I stayed up a bit to play more Wind Waker. We finally got the first piece of the Triforce!

The Return

I meant to go to the Schmooze Room to help Sheila clean a bit before leaving, but when I got there the room was locked. I assume she left earlier. Traffic was great on the way back…until we hit Chicago. It honestly felt like the trip time doubled once we got in the city.

I realize that the above is not very exciting, but since most of the Schmooze is basically Schmoozing, it is kind of hard to describe in detail. You had to be there. B-) I’m definitely attending the next one, which is apparently going to be in Indiana. No Big Boy there, unfortunately. If it is anything like this one, it should be a lot of fun.

After being gone for so many days without access to the World Wide Web, it is natural that I would miss out one some news. These items don’t all have the same relative importance, but I am simply listing them here:

I’ll have something to say about the last two items in separate posts. The last one especially shook me up pretty bad, and I didn’t even know the guy personally.

6 comments to Report: Grand Rapids Schmooze 2005

  • Rich Holler

    Evidently the blog editor didn’t like something about my comments, and only included the portion that I quoted from your original post.

    What I wanted to say is that if you’re willing to add an extra hour to the drive down, you could head down I-57 to Champaign and then take I-74 East to Exit 22o, where you’ll find one of the last remaining Big Boy Restaurants in Illinois.

    -Rich

  • Thanks for the tip!

    Looking at the Big Boy map on http://www.bigboy.com I can see that the next time I visit Ohio I can swing through Cleveland to go to Big Boy as well.

  • hey man what up?
    I’m Josh Molnar the web designer for the GDC, just curious what ya ment by “WARNING: heavy use of Flash” just cause theres an intro? it was fun at the schmooze i was only there for the lunch-in and then that evening, had to go back to work that weekend unfortinately.

    Josh M.

  • Hey, Josh! Welcome to my blog!

    I was actually referring to the intro, but when I had first seen it I didn’t see an option to skip it. Apparently it was way at the bottom of the page, which means I didn’t scroll down far enough.

    About the only other issue is the music that plays on the main site. I tried it in IE and Firefox, but I don’t see a way to turn it off.

    Otherwise, I’ll be keeping an eye on the ITT GDC. Tell everyone good luck for me!

  • when the page loads click the stop button in the toolbar. otherthan that thats the only way to stop the music unless you turn off the speakers. thanks for the greeting. i saw that blog was a referral for the site, if you were wondering how i came to find it. btw we’re starting up a company we haven’t done much yet but check out the site that is pretty plain so far http://supercowadventures.com.

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