Industry Guests Natalie Zina Walschots, Sen-Foong Lim, and Shiraz Sheikh will be attending Breakout 2020!
Natalie Zina Walschots is a novelist, essayist, video game writer, ARG developer, and (unfortunately) poet. She cultivates fandoms, builds new communities, leads interactive fiction workshops, designs alternate reality games, constructs branching narratives, and most mornings opens Tumblr before opening her eyes.
Natalie first novel, HENCH, was recently acquired by William Morrow, and will be released in Fall 2020. HENCH is not a novel about supervillains, but about henchpeople who work for them. It involves millennial office politics, an accounting of the human cost of superheroes, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.
Her work with Syfy television show Wynonna Earp has been covered widely by journalists and academics alike, with the show's digital media winning two consecutive Canadian Screen Awards. She wrote the scripts for the live-action choose-your-own-adventure experience The Aluminum Cat (which is a 2019 IndieCade festival nominee), and the video game Terrorarium, which is about an ambitious space grandma trying to win an intergalactic gardening competition. She was also wrote for The Oldest Game, a newsgame about changes to sex work law in Canada.
As a essayist and journalist, you can find her work in the National Post, Buzzfeed, The Walrus, Exclaim!, Quill & Quire, The Globe & Mail, and beyond. She’s the author of two books of poetry: DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, and Thumbscrews, which won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her work composing poetry using the horror game Bloodborne was received critical attention from Kotaku and First Person Scholar.
Natalie has presented at MozFest, Breakoutcon, Console-ing Passions, CGSA, Digital Odyssey, TCAF/CSSC, and more. She is a board member of Dames Making Games, and has previously worked with Pixelles; Concordia’s Technoculture, Art and Games Lab; and The Hand Eye Society. She has often been in the newspaper for swearing.
tl;dr: free lance, writer, memesmith, bailed academic, nerd, gamer, metal head, SJW, world builder, supervillain.
Sen-Foong Lim started designing games as early as he can remember as a way to create new worlds to play in and systems to explore. Sen is best known for his forays into board and card games, co-designing titles such as Belfort, Akrotiri, Junk Art, D&D Rock Paper Wizard, and Men In Black: Undercover (with Jay Cormier), and others like The Legend of Korra: Pro Bending Arena, Batman The Animated Series: Rogues' Gallery, Dragonball Super: Tournament of the Destroyers, and Mutants (with Jessey Wright). Last year, he worked with Jessey and Helana Hope on Kingdom Rush, which brought in over $1 million on Kickstarter alone. This year, he and Jay are bringing Matt Kindt's best-selling graphic novel series MIND MGMT to the tabletop!
Sen has also had a life-long love affair with tabletop roleplaying games and has contributed to Kids on Bikes, Gears of Defiance, The North Sea Epilogues, The Curse of the House of Rockwood, and Never Coming Home. 2020 will see the launch of his first RPG with co-writer and co-conspirator Banana Chan. Their game, Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, focuses on their shared experience as the children of Chinese immigrants, the transcontinental rail lines, and (wait for it) vampires!
Sen provides other services in the tabletop space as a developer and cultural consultant. He also co-hosts The Meeple Syrup Show weekly webcast with Jessey and Erica Hayes-Bouyouris. Sen is a frequent panelist and moderator at conventions like San Diego Comic Con, Gen Con, Fan Expo, SHUX, AnimeNorth, Grand Con, ProtoTO, ProtoATL, and - of course - Breakout Con. Academically, he maintains regular involvement with Wilfred Laurier University's game design program.
When he isn't designing games, you can find Sen at Fanshawe College teaching developmental psychology, augmentative communication strategies, and behavioural / crisis intervention skills, or at the dojo training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or by the BBQ smoking or grilling something tasty!
Sen will always choose to play yellow if that’s an option. So just give it to him.