Welcome to the Experience Bar! Now, you may be asking yourself if the world (wide web) really needs another video game site. The answer is “Yes, dammit!” The very story of our evolution is what makes us unique.

A little history:

In 2011, site founder Dr. D., as part of his regular semester courseload, was given the green light to teach a course he developed titled “The Business and Technology of the Video Game Industry” in the Lee Business School at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Because the class was taught in a business school, it necessarily had to focus on the business of the industry as opposed to specific design tools and practices. The class did touch on those concepts, but only briefly. Instead, it focused on issues such as building design teams, the role of publishers versus developers, financials of game companies and projects, social and psychological impacts of gaming, legalities, new business models and distribution methods, and licensing to name but a few. Additionally, it assumed no knowledge on behalf of the students. Indeed, it had the hardest of hardcore gamers as well as absolute non-gamers among its students.

Because of that, the class also covered the history of gaming in detail over a period of weeks. It started by covering the ancient board games of Senet, Go, The Royal Game of Ur, Chess, Mancala and many others. The topic then continued on to pinball and its development from Croquet to Bagatelle to flippers, bumpers, prohibition, and the decline of the machines. Finally, electronic games were covered, starting with Crosses and Naughts and Tennis for Two and tracing the development of the industry through to today.

As far as any of us can tell, it was the only class of its type anywhere; a video game class that focused on the business of the industry as opposed to specific technical skills. With spectacular studio failures such as 38 Studios, endless acquisitions, and lawsuits, a class such as that is apparently sorely needed. Needless to say, it was also pretty popular.

As part of the course requirements, students were required to participate in a blog, via comments and conversation, that Dr. D. had set up. The posts, like the class itself, assumed no knowledge on the part of the users, were meant to be educational and were heavily populated with links.



The class at the PInball Hall of Fame

The class on a field trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame

However, all good things must come to an end. In 2013, because of budget cuts Dr. D.’s contract was not renewed but he was allowed to take his courses and materials with him. After all he had invested in his website, he didn’t want to see it fade away. In fact, because of its unique focus, he felt it could serve a valuable function among gaming websites by continuing its focus on the industry and containing more opinion and editorials as opposed to primarily re-posting news. It could focus on anything about gaming – if a contributor wanted to review an Atari 2600 game, or discuss the pros and cons of Ulala‘s wardrobe, or evaluate the impact of the Dreamcast VMU, then all the better! More importantly, the site would be welcoming to those who may not be familiar with gaming or its culture and terms.So he put the word out, and a couple of his former students, both of whom easily fall into the hardcore category of gamer, along with a few of their friends who do as well, agreed to become part of a new team. A beta site was put up, many tweaks were made, discussions – sometimes heated – were had, and here we are! I can’t thank them – Aston, Sean, Justin, and Danni – enough for their involvement, their time, their enthusiasm, and their contributions that helped get this site off the ground. Their involvement was and is on their own time, and that’s what makes it genuine and invaluable.

The Experience Bar is the evolution of the original website originally set up for the class. But now, it has a small yet devoted team of contributors and editors who have brought the site online on their own time as a real labor of love. Everyone involved is passionate about the industry and the experiences it creates, and there are strong opinions and varied perspectives that will make the site even better and more dynamic.

To quote Tangina from Poltergeist, “everyone is welcome!” The name itself – The Experience Bar – is meant to convey the sense of community and friendliness we aim to achieve. We want everyone to feel comfortable coming in. Whether you are new to the hobby or a veteran from the Pong days, whether you can speedrun Dark Souls or aren’t sure where the L3 button is, we’d love to have you. Opinions are welcome, as are discussions about everything and anything game related. You never know what you might find; a thesis on decision-making in The Walking Dead, a video of Guybrush Threepwood and Darth Vader (I know you don’t need a link explaining who that is) battling in the rain, or a review of Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast. Whenever you visit, it will always be an adventure.

So come in, and have a seat at the bar.

The Experience Bar.