Junction 54: Blasting off with Otronicon

I was lucky back in 2006 to be part of a video game design panel at the first Otronicon (Orlando Electronic Interactive Convention).

I hadn’t even started working on Fallen Earth yet and Knee Deep was years away, but I had spent the previous eight years developing online text-based games such as OtherSpace and Chiaroscuro. Under normal circumstances, I might not have had a seat next to developers from EA Tiburon. But I knew a guy.

The mind behind Otronicon, Jeff Stanford, is one of my favorite people. We’ve known each other since our days at Valencia Community College. My wife is also a fan of his, but perhaps more for his participation in the Nerdspresso podcast, which is her frequent addiction. Jeff still works at the Orlando Science Center, and – back in the Before Times – any time my family made a trip back to Florida, we’d do our best to spend at least one awesome day among the stars and dinosaurs.

This weekend, 15 years later, I’m back at Otronicon…only virtually.

This time, I’m taking my son, John Michael. During remote school today, he declared that he wants to be a scientist someday. (For those keeping track, he appears to have moved on from his obsession with becoming a firefighter.) So, we watched a virtual seminar about science of the Moon, which I really enjoyed. John Michael told me it reminded him of a free VR game he downloaded on the Oculus Quest about spacewalking, and that, in turn, reminded me to make sure to change the software-purchase permission settings on the Quest, just in case.

The virtual event runs through Monday and includes more presentations about space science, video-game design, coding, and STEM/STEAM topics. Family passes for the entire weekend are just $35. It’s crappy weather in the Triangle, and Otronicon makes a great rainy day deal for the whole family.

See you there!

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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