Mad Brew Labs

Fusing Media, Storytelling, & Technology

The Izzy & Mike Show

The Izzy & Mike Show

Izzy & Mike return to Gravity Falls, Oregon, to explore the mysterious cryptid residing in Lake Gravity Falls, the Gobblewonker! In this episode Disney’s Gravity Falls, The Legend of the Gobblewonker, we discuss other famous cryptids, like Nessie and Ogopogo, satellite map imagery, the homage to Jurrasic Park, and most importantly, why it was important for Dipper & Mabel to spend time with their Grunkle Stan.

Please join us and follow along as a dad strengthens his relationship with his daughter by talking about the shows they both enjoy while she seeks a little bit of internet fame. You can also find us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. Subscribe to us via RSSiTunes, Stitcher!

References: Loch Ness Monster news story, List of Reported Lake Monsters

Music: DEgITx created the awesome metal cover of “Made Me Realize,” the spectacular theme song from Gravity Falls.

Game of Thrones 402 – The Lion & the Rose

Posted by Mad Brew On April - 20 - 2014ADD COMMENTS
Faceless Men - Game of Thronees Podcast

Faceless Men – Game of Thronees Podcast

On this episode of the Faceless Men: A Game of Thrones Podcast, Michael & Jesse round up the usual suspects that could be responsible for Joffrey’s breathless, purple fate while Jesse surrenders and fails his two-week challenge. We also learn some new warging rules and ponder whether or not Bran is strong enough to break them and suggest the possibility of the young Stark entering the mind of a dragon? Come sit on Jesse’s seat of flayed faces and listen to us recount Game of Thrones episode 401!

Be sure to RSS Subscribe or iTunes Subscribe and follow us  on TwitterGoogle+, and Facebook!

Music: Remix Fix have graciously published their metal remix of the Game of Thrones theme song under the Creative Commons license and we appreciate their awesomeness, be sure too check them out on SoundcloudYouTubeTwitter, & Facebook!

Gravity Falls 101: Tourist Trapped | Izzy & Mike Show

Posted by Mad Brew On April - 14 - 20144 COMMENTS
The Izzy & Mike Show

The Izzy & Mike Show

Izzy & Mike tackle their first episode of their first animated series, Disney’s Gravity Falls. In Tourist Trapped, we meet the characters and find out how Dipper and Mabel Pines ended up with their Gruncle Stan at the Mystery Shack. What is with the weird voice at the end of the opening sequence? What kind of cipher is needed to decode the message in the credits? Why do gnomes vomit rainbows? We may or may not answer any or all of these questions!

Correction: We named the voice of Dipper as John Ritter, but meant Jason Ritter (John is his dad).

Please join us and follow along as a dad strengthens his relationship with his daughter by talking about the shows they both enjoy while she seeks a little bit of internet fame. You can also find us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. Subscribe to us via RSSiTunesStitcher!

Music: DEgITx created the awesome metal cover of “Made Me Realize,” the spectacular theme song from Gravity Falls.

Izzy & Mike Show 000 – Introductions

Posted by Mad Brew On April - 14 - 2014ADD COMMENTS
The Izzy & Mike Show

The Izzy & Mike Show

Welcome to the Izzy & Mike Show wherein my daughter and I will discuss all our favorite animations, from serialized cartoons to feature films, and maybe some other stuff too. We’re excited to introduce ourselves and the first bit of animated entertainment we want to cover, Disney’s Gravity Falls. We’re also thinking about covering Frozen, My Little Pony, and Adventure Time.

Please join us and follow along as a dad strengthens his relationship with his daughter by talking about the shows they both enjoy while she seeks a little bit of internet fame. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes!

Music: DEgITx created the awesome metal cover of “Made Me Realize,” the spectacular theme song from Gravity Falls.

Game of Thrones 401 – Two Swords

Posted by Mad Brew On April - 12 - 2014ADD COMMENTS
Faceless Men - Game of Thronees Podcast

Faceless Men – Game of Thronees Podcast

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Faceless Men: A Game of Thrones Podcast! Two swords dominate the story arc of the season four premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones.  Join Jesse & Michael as they recount the exploits of Ice, the former House Stark heirloom greatsword, and Needle, what might be the new House Stark heirloom rapier. Michael introduces Jesse, a first-time podcaster, long-time cohort, and they discuss the finer points of chicken dinners from ol’ Colonel Sandor, Michael’s crackpot predictions, and Jesse’s 2-Week Challenge (he thinks he can read all the A Song of Ice & Fire novels in two weeks!).

Be sure to RSS Subscribe or iTunes Subscribe and follow us  on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook!

Note: Michael wants to thank all the Night’s Watch listeners that reached out to him after its demise. If not for the overwhelming number of requests to keep ‘casting, Faceless Men would not exist right now. Also, due to the time constraints, we were short on audio equipment suited for the job and apologize for any quality issues with sound or just with our personality dynamic (we are just learning to work with each other), so bear with us as we dial in on the quality.

Music: Remix Fix have graciously published their metal remix of the Game of Thrones theme song under the Creative Commons license and we appreciate their awesomeness, be sure too check them out on Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, & Facebook!



Post Gen Con 2012 Wrap-Up

Posted by Mad Brew On August - 28 - 20125 COMMENTS
Gen Con Indy

Gen Con Indy

Another Gen Con has come and gone (been history for at least a couple of weeks now) and I’m sure there are plenty of gamers feeling the PostGenConBlues… which can manifest in both attendees (because they wish it could last longer) and in non-attendees (because they didn’t get to go). I didn’t do a lot of the events, but I certainly saw all the exhibit hall had to offer…

Best Game I Demo’d: Cryptozoic’s Hot Rod Creeps

Hot Rod Creeps

Hot Rod Creeps by Cryptozoic

For those readers who don’t know, I also moonlight as a gearhead and grease monkey wannabe. So when I walked by Cryptozoic’s booth (they are known for their World of Warcraft card game) and saw their tribute to Kustom Kulture, I made sure I got an opportunity to demo the game with its designer, Matt Hyra.

Cryptozoic’s president, Cory Jones dreamed up the concept and tapped Matt to design a racing board game that highlighted some of their other properties (such as Food Fight and Epic Spell Wars). What we got is a fairly balanced, customizable game with six deck-based teams. Each team focuses on a different aspect of the leading to a different feel. The aspects of the game include upgrades (engine, weapon, wheels, and pit crew), the nitro deck (basically take damage for speed), your tank (draw deck, discard deck, and hand), and the track. The game is a blast to play and you can jump/race through (or land in) the hazards (ring of fire, shark pool, oil slicks, fan frenzy) as well as draft other players (not to mention fighting them). The track is customizable which is great for replay-ability.

The demo was so awesome I immediately went and purchased a copy (and got 4 promos for the demo). In fact, this was my only game purchase (other purchases included the novel below, the Pathfinder comic, and the exclusive Pathfinder Battles black dragon mini).

Publishers Need To Demo

My previous experience has led me to one maxim I live by as a gamer: I will NOT buy your game unless I can demo it. Publishers take heed, there has to be plenty of gamers out there like me. If I can’t easily and fully experience your game before plunking down money, then you will never experience my patronage. DEMO YOUR GODDAMNED GAMES! Also, demo means free.

Story & Soundtrack: Foreshadows

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

I really, really dig the concept behind Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero. It’s anthology fiction where each story has its own soundtrack. What I’ve read and listened to so far have been pretty good. It’s dark-dystopian sci-fi written by a nearly two dozen authors including roleplaying staples, Ed Greenwood and Ari Marmell.

Things I Was Interested In But Skipped

Mostly because there wasn’t a demo available nearby…

  • Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms RPG (it sold out quickly, but I would have purchased it after the press hour had there been a demo)
  • Pagan Publishing’s Delta Green RPG
  • Eden Studio’s Conspiracy X
  • Post Human Studio’s Eclipse Phase
Though I have to give accolades to Post Human for releasing a Creative Commons version of Eclipse Phase (and Conspiracy X has a free quick start that they also released for this year’s Free RPG Day), but it’s just not the same as demoing it with a competent player/GM.

Most Insane Fucking Retail Line: Fantasy Flight Games

I managed to get 5th or 6th spot in FFG’s Thursday opening line and it was fucking nuts. I promised a friend I’d pick up their new X-Wing miniatures space combat game and both boosters… which was a hot product and sold out before the end of the show. But the surprise [to me] hot products were Android: Netrunner and Infiltration. There was a huge nearly 5′ tall stack of Netrunner boxes that was laid to waste within minutes of the exhibit hall doors opening. Once I paid, I saw the FFG line probably had about 300 people in it within the first few minutes.

Pathfinder RPG

The Purple Golem Ousts the Coastal Wizards

After my initial foray into Gen Con on Thursday morning, I was left wondering what the hell happened to the official Dungeons & Dragons brand at the premiere roleplaying game event. The RPGA and its Living Forgotten Realms (and therefore the current edition of D&D) appeared as a mere afterthought, sharing the same level of support as the tactical minis game, Dungeon Command (or maybe they just decided to finally fully embrace the tactical aspect of 4e and totally ditch the roleplay element), and the D&D Next playtest… which was mediocre at best (not the games themselves, but the support/floor space).

I was appalled that Wizards required event tickets to play the damned playtest! That’s either marketing genius (why, yes, I’ll pay you to help develop your incomplete game) or horrible service to their fans (I’ll let you determine where I fall on that axis).

But for the unofficial D&D brand that is known as Pathfinder, things were looking big. Paizo’s organized play arm, Pathfinder Society, has more than doubled its space from last year and may have actually rivaled the RPGA’s space (formerly in the Sagamore Ballroom) during the height of 3.5 or 4e. However, I was pretty disappointed to find that there were no dungeon delves happening that I quickly jump into.

From my perspective, it definitely seemed as if Pathfinder had beat D&D at its own game, but it could just be Wizards giving 4e players the middle finger and putting all their focus on D&D Next. At least WotC did the GenCon Keynote right, even if it was a lot of talking in circles… but maybe that’s because it was Gen Con’s keynote (I believe Peter wants Mayfair Games to do next year’s).

Gen Con Educational Partnership

Mat's Paradox League Multi-verse

Mat’s Paradox League Multi-verse

One thing I was definitely excited about was Gen Con’s new partnership with my alma mater, IUPUI (though word on the street is that it may soon just be IUI, or Indiana University of Indianapolis). The partnership is being spearheaded by (at least on the school side of the program) by my former prof and good buddy, Mat Powers (who also had section in the Art Gallery).

Things are still pretty nebulous (as I reported earlier) as far as the direction of the program is concerned, but one thing’s for sure: Gen Con wants to grow the presence of the educational sector at the convention. Whether this targets serious gaming (the application of games in teaching) or more on the teaching game design remains to be determined. But there does seem to be a desire to connect educational programs with the industry and I saw the seed of this first hand. Gen Con hosted an exclusive event that brought IUPUI students, faculty, and alumni together for a question & answer with Gen Con’s Peter Adkison and Mayfair Game’s Larry Roznai, probably two of the more interesting (if not eccentric) characters you can meet in the gaming industry.

I’d definitely consider obtaining a Masters (or maybe a Doctorate) if this new partnership guaranteed some collaboration/review with entities in the gaming industry (you reading this Powers?).

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Overall, I came away from this year’s Gen Con feeling less enthusiastic than previous years (been attending since it came to Indianapolis in 2003), but it has less to do with the convention itself and more to do with my lack of planning and fact that I was rear-ended on my way home from the event… which has no doubt colored my memory of the 45th year of the best four days in gaming. So next year, I’ll be sure to adhere to the 7Ps.

Listening to: Foreshadows – The Ghosts of Zero – Graveduggery

Gen Con 2012 Interactive Map Update

Posted by Mad Brew On August - 1 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

The Gen Con 2012 Interactive Exhibit Hall Map has been updated. I’ve also applied additional company logos where booth space permitted (unless the vendor is just a reseller).

Gen Con 2012 Interactive Exhibit Hall Map

Gen Con 2012 Interactive Exhibit Hall Map

Interactive GenCon 2012 Map

Posted by Mad Brew On July - 9 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

Last year I created a simple interactive map for GenCon that was very popular judging from all the feedback and Google Analytics, so I figured I’d follow up with one for this year (since GenCon recently made their PDF map available).

Interactive GenCon 2012 Map

Interactive GenCon 2012 Map

I’m not yet finished with the GenCon 2012 map, but I do have all exhibitors from 5th Street Games to Collector’s Cache (or the first two columns from the alphabetically ordered list from the official map). I’ll be adding vendors to the list daily, so check back here or follow me on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook for updates.

There does seem to be an error on GenCon’s PDF, both Asmadi Games and Clever Mojo Games are assigned the same booth…

Listening to: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage -L’Enfant Sauvage

IUPUI: GenCon Educational Partner Pilot School

Posted by Mad Brew On June - 26 - 2012ADD COMMENTS


It was recently announced that my alma mater, Indiana University & Purdue University of Indianapolis was selected by Gen Con to be the pilot school in their forthcoming Educational Partners Program. So I called up a former professor of mine, and good friend, Mat Powers to find out more about what this partnership means. Mat, who is a lecturer for the Media Arts & Science program at the IU School of Informatics, spearheads IUPUI’s part in the partnership.

Mat was contacted a couple of months ago by Jake Theis, the senior marketing & communications manager for Gen Con, LLC about participating in the program. Unfortunately, I can’t share much  about what they’re cooking up, because IUPUI and Gen Con don’t want to announce anything too early as they are still working out the details. Since the program is in its infancy, the partnership is exploring all their options.

What Mat could tell me is that the focus seems to be on educational games, or serious gaming, as well as connecting students to the gaming industry. Gen Con is also very committed to growing its presence in Indianapolis with a recent five year contract to keep the convention in the city and breaking attendance records in recent years. This is definitely another opportunity to expand Gen Con’s influence in the gaming industry. Mat informs me that the real exploration will occur post-Gen Con, when the students are back in classrooms for the Fall Semester and more details will be available as the program becomes defined.

Gen Con Indy

Gen Con Indy

However, for this year’s Gen Con, the partnership has begun developing relationships with the student body by extending free badges to several influential student organizations including the Gamer’s Guild, Cosplay Club, Anime Club, and the 3D Game Developers Group and giving those students access to meet with industry insiders and guests of honor. Mat hopes to get the Women in Technology group and Q-Media (the film/animation group) involved too.

I’m certainly a little jealous that this opportunity didn’t exist while I was attending IUPUI. Having graduated from the Media Arts & Science program, I would have definitely been on point with at least one project.

The press release follows:

Gen Con LLC has entered into a partnership with the Indiana University School of Informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis that will make the campus the first institution to participate in Gen Con’s Educational Partners Program.

“Given the academic reputation, enrollment size and proximity of the campus to Gen Con, partnering with IUPUI seemed like a natural fit for Gen Con Indy 2012,” said Adrian Swartout, CEO of Gen Con LLC. “The IU School of Informatics at IUPUI offers some innovative specializations such as storytelling fundamentals and gaming, and their students and faculty will add a unique voice to discussions on current topics in the industry.”

With its new Educational Partners Program, Gen Con hopes to give programmatic access to selected academic institutions, allowing students and faculty to interact with key members of the gaming industry and participate in educational, informative seminars.

“We are proud to collaborate with Gen Con on its Educational Partners Program,” said Mathew Powers, assistant professor at the School of Informatics. “The School of Informatics uniquely integrates computing, social science and information systems design to explore how people use computing and technology to live, work, play and communicate, so it only made sense for us to collaborate with Gen Con, which is known worldwide as the best place for the creation and development of truly original gaming fare.”

Gen Con will celebrate its 45th anniversary this year, as well as the 10th anniversary of its show in Indianapolis, Aug. 16 to 19. According to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, Gen Con Indy 2011 provided more than $36 million in economic impact to Indianapolis, largely attributable to its record turnstile attendance of 120,000.

For questions regarding the Education Partners Program, including how to get involved, please contact Jake Theis, Gen Con senior marketing communications manager, at

Gen Con LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science-fiction and adventure game convention in North America. It was acquired in 2002 by former CEO and founder of Wizards of the Coast Peter Adkison. Gen Con is a consumer and trade experience dedicated to gaming culture and community.

As one of Indiana University’s campuses, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is known as Indiana’s premier urban research and health sciences campus and is dedicated to advancing the intellectual growth of the state of Indiana and its residents through research and creative activity, teaching, learning and civic engagement. Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and other notable publications, IUPUI has more than 30,000 students enrolled in 21 schools, which offer more than 250 degrees. IUPUI awards degrees from both Indiana and Purdue Universities.

As the first school of its kind in the United States, the Indiana University School of Informatics is an innovator in a fast-paced and dynamic field. The school uniquely integrates computing, social science and information systems design to explore how people use computing and technology to live, work, play and communicate. We then apply that insight to develop innovative IT solutions impacting fields like health care, biology, business, law, entertainment and media. With nearly 2,000 students currently studying informatics on IU campuses, top-notch programs and highly regarded faculty, the School of Informatics is dedicated to preparing students for the power and possibility of computing and information technology.

Listening to: Suicidal Tendencies – The Art of Rebellion – Nobody Hears

Beyond GenCon: Local Gaming & Entertainment

Posted by Mad Brew On June - 21 - 20122 COMMENTS

Gen Con

I know most gamers who converge upon at the Crossroads of America in Indianapolis for GenCon rarely have time to do anything else but game, talk about games, or shop for games. However, just in case any of my readers have some free time, arrive early, or leave later, I am writing a series of articles that present attractions and events that might pique your interest. This second article of the series deals with the local hobby game scene as well other types of gaming.


First up are Indianapolis’ friendly local gaming stores. These stores serve as hubs for the local hobby gaming community and we’re lucky enough to have several fine establishments in the area.

Arsenal Game Room

Indy’s only downtown location dedicated to hobby gaming. The Arsenal not only has three themed game rooms (dungeon, back alley, and board rooms) but they also have a cafe that offers modestly priced food (I recommend Troy’s pulled pork sandwich). It may actually be the cheapest place to grab a bit to eat in the immediate vicinity. A buddy of mine, Mr. Givens, has secured the Arsenal for a couple of old WoD LARPs he is currently running. The Vampire game is held every 2nd Saturday and the Werewolf game is held every 4th Saturday.

If you are looking for a decent place to play outside of the con, I recommend you check out the Arsenal and see if you can set up in the board room.

Downtown Comics

Downtown Commics has been around for 15 years, and is a very established geek hangout. Though not only focused on gaming, Downtown Comics does support a lot gaming, and they have an annual post-GenCon Heroclix Big Battle (1200pts). Also, since they are celebrating their 15th Anniversary during GenCon, you can get in on some special deals (check out their website for more information).


Not far to the south, in the suburb of Greenwood, is Gamerz. It is a fairly new addition to the hobby community and has recently changed proprietors. Though it is new, I believe it is making excellent strides in providing gamers a friendly place to network and organize events. Gamerz is often the meeting place of the Indy Gamers meetup group (boasts 413 members on their site) Last I checked, they were also gearing up to open a new cyber cafe for LAN and online gaming.

Games to Die For

Located north of the airport in Indy’s west side suburb of Avon, Games 2d4 is also a new fixture in the local gaming scene. I haven’t been there recently, but the store was heavily focused on wargames (and there is certainly nothing wrong with that) when I visited. In fact, I picked up my Lich Lord Terminus from Games to Die for while I was there (it was after the price increase by Privateer Press, but it still sported a pre-increase price tag).

The Game Preserve

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Game Preserve. TGP is a local mainstay and it has been around as long as I can remember (the original store being established in 1980). It now has four locations: 86th Street (northeast), Greenwood (south), Bloomington, and West Lafeyette. So not only does The Game Preserve serve the Indianapolis area gamers, but it is also an icon for the two largest universities in Indiana (IU & Purdue). The Game Preserve locations in Indy are small but pack a lot of merchandise.

Saltire Games

An official sponsor of GenCon, Saltire Games is a new face among the Indy area friendly local gaming stores. I have yet to visit, but I hear it is mostly gaming space and not a lot of retail, though they’ll order you anything you want. It’s located on the eastside off of Pendleton Pike.


If you scratch a tabletop gamer, you’ll often find pixels. Many hobby gamers also play video games, albeit just to fill the downtime between being at the table. I’ve also included action pursuit gaming, because who doesn’t like live-action wargaming? Besides, sometimes you need to get off your rear and move around.


Previously, Gameworks Studio, Tilt is located on the 4th level of the Circle Centre Mall and is your typical arcade. I mourn the old Mechwarrior pods that used to be located here, but there are plenty of the newest generation arcade games here to throw your quarters at.

Dave & Buster’s

D&B’s just got an Indianapolis location, situated on the northeast side in Castleton. It is a nationwide (located in Canada too) restuarant, bar, and arcade. I haven’t been there yet, but I have heard good things.

Great Times

A family-fun park located on the southeast side of Indy, Great Times is a 5 acre complex with go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, indoor playground, and arcade. There is also bowling lanes and lazer tag nearby.

Fastimes Indoor Karting

Indy is the racing capital of the world, but this is probably as close as most people are going to get to open wheel racing like the Indy 500.  Fastimes has an indoor, bi-level track with karts that get up to 40 MPH… which is blazing fast when you’re that close to the ground!

Dark Armies

Dark Armies was my first paintball experience, and it was fantastic. DA is located in an underground warehouse and takes place in almost absolute darkness. It really exudes a post-apocalyptic/survival vibe. Especially when they send out the guy in a Predator costume (don’t know if they still do, but I hope so). In October, Dark Armies is transformed into the Necropolis haunted attraction.

White River Paintball

Located in Anderson, about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis off of I-69, White River Paintball offers 125 acres of paintball field. They have eight signature fields: air strip, woodsball, Bedlam City, Omaha Beach, battlefield, dunes, Fort Field, and Skid Row. They offer open play, scenarios, and private parties. They also have a Pro Shop on the premises.

Other GenCon Articles:

Listening to: Stabbing Westward - Darkest Days - Drowning