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The First Gamer Zone Blog Entry

So after running Gamer Zone for nearly two years, I’m finally starting a Blog on the subject.
Wait… what is Gamer Zone, you ask? Well, it’s a Cyber Cafe / LAN Gaming Center located in Wichita, Kansas. For about 17 months we were located at Harry & Broadway. Wow – I could tell some intersting stories about that. If you aren’t a native of Wichita, Kansas, that’s semi-sortof the closest to a red light district we have. I’ve had our share of prostitutes come wandering into the store, along with the drunks and druggies.
But we finally moved – we’re now at 817 West Douglas, Wichita, Kansas on the second floor above Agents of Comics and Games. WOW what a difference. This place is AMAZING. I mean really Amazing. It’s big, it’s open, and we’ve got some coooooool ass work we did to create a place that’s visually interesting but completely functional at the same time.
But here I’ll pause on the Gamer Zone stuff, and explain who I am. I’m Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr, and I’ve been a game junkie since the Atari 2600 came out, and started programming when the Commodore 64 was released. I’m geek through and through – my family had in no particular order: A Vic 20, a C64, Timex-Sinclair 1000 (with the 16k expansion pack that you had to put a book of matches under so it stayed connected properly), Texas Instruments TI 99/4-A, Amiga 1000, Amiga 2000, and a couple of lame PC’s. 
I worked for Creek Electric for a little over 10 years, traveling the country (and some international trips – I’ve been to China a couple of times) doing industrial automation work. 
About 1999 I started Midnight Ryder Technologies a game development and technology company that I ran at nights. I wrote a couple of games (Boulder Panic!, Tile Panic!, Flip Panic!), then in 2003, I was laid off. Yep, after over 10 years, they killed off the section of the company I was working in. So I made a go of it on my own.
Since the layoff I’ve worked doing contract work for various game development companies (oddly enough, I don’t think a single one of them has released anything yet, but a golf game I worked on is getting pretty close to release – would be cool to point at that one :-), which included anything from working on AI to Voice over IP to helping others get up to speed on the Torque Game Engine to game design. Pretty much anything goes with me, programing wise, though some things are harder than others (particularly depending on the client’s ideas and requirements for the task)
I’ve also been a speaker at IndieGamesCon ’02, ’03, and ’04, co-speaking with David Michael on the subject of Starting, operating, and surviving Independant Game Development. (The profile pic I use, which is probably the coolest picture of me in existance, is from IndieGamesCon ’03. I’m the guy at the mike belting out ZZ-Top’s La Grange. Damn that was fun!)
Eventually, something wierd happened – a friend of mine, Greg Roberts, drug me into a new company he was helping to start. Yep, that would be Gamer Zone. Originally I was supposed to just be doing part of the marketing, but slowly I took over the core operations and Greg moved to managing the people there. Eventually that changed again – Greg moved on to a full time job, and Neil Harmon stepped up to the manager position.
SO, now I spend most of my days working the counter at Gamer Zone (during the week) and working on software development projects at the same time. Currently I’ve got 5 games in development, one new Cyber Cafe software package, and one new Industrial Control security and control project. I live, eat, and breath games and software.
Now you know all you need to know about me except one thing – yes, I’m married, quite happily. So, no, I didn’t start a MySpace blog meet da’ ladies 
Why the blog? Well, I used to be a blogger like 2 or 3 years ago (when bloging was a little less common), putting down my personal thoughts. I’ve always wanted to do a blog for Gamer Zone related stuff, but didn’t want to use the “official” Gamer Zone site. This is my chance finally, so expect to see a lot of stuff on here, ranging from rants to my own reviews of games, to some funny stuff that happens daily around here. There’s no “big plans” for the blog, just an outlet for a little fun.
Oh, and don’t expect all my posts to be this boring and blah – this just an intro one to get me up and rollin’ 🙂 I’ll make with teh funny later 😉

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