You might have been a craft geek all your life, but if you’re a millennial in the Midwest, the movie and game crafters and entrepreneurs behind some of the most popular and talked-about franchises of all time are not just your grandparents.
They are the stars of your childhood.
“There’s a lot of people who grew up with games, and then there’s a little bit of nostalgia, and a lot that’s just because of nostalgia,” said Mike Stork, who co-founded the Minneapolis-based video game and board game maker Mondo Games and co-produced the critically acclaimed The Hobbit.
“They’re still around, they’re still playing, and they still want to get back to the fun of making something.
We are just trying to help people remember the good times and the good places.”
The molds that make video games and tabletop games have changed a lot over the years, but the craftsmen and women who work on them have remained remarkably unchanged.
“When I was in middle school, we had the video game companies, we did all these different projects, and the game companies would come in and just sit there and play games,” said Chris Harkins, who created the first board game ever, the Dungeons & Dragons, in 1982.
“We had our own game studio, we started building games.
We got together and started making games and games came in and we were like, ‘We’ve got to go do that again!'””
But the way video games are made is that you don’t know where the next piece of content is going to come from,” he continued.
“You’re like, OK, I want to do this, I need to make that, and I need it now.”
While video games have evolved from a niche hobby for a lot more than a decade, the game makers who still dominate the industry remain the same.
“I would say the video games industry is a little more niche than it used to be,” said Stork.
“A lot of the core gamers that are really into video games today, the ones who grew into that industry, the hobby is still in it.”
As we all learn to appreciate the value of craft and the hard work of those who work in it, Harkens and Stork are hoping to make it even easier for those who grew outside of gaming to return.
“It’s kind of like a little extra layer to our childhood,” Harkos said.
“If you want to make something you need to go to the craft store, if you want a movie or a game, if the store doesn’t have it you can find it online, and if you do, it’s the same thing.
If you’re an adult that’s into a hobby, it just kind of falls by the wayside.”
Stork and Harkinos first met in 2011 at a party, when they were both attending a party together, where Harkin was making the game for a friend and Stinson was trying to get his daughter involved in a craft project.
Stork and Stiner were working on a new game called The Hobbit and had come up with a simple idea to share: They would make a game called Dungeon and the Hobbit, which was based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“That’s the first time we had this idea, this idea that we wanted to build something that we all shared, a game for kids to be able to share our passion for,” Stork said.
After a couple of weeks of brainstorming, they hit on the idea of a board game, because they wanted to share their love of the world of Middle Earth with their kids.
They started out by building a board for The Hobbit, and while the game’s rules were fairly basic, the core concept of building your own dungeon and making your own weapons and spells made for a fun, challenging game.
“We were just playing around with ideas of making it so you can build a dungeon and play your favorite characters and it kind of made a lot sense,” HARKINS said.
“The board was pretty basic, but it was still a fun little game.
We all kind of went crazy over it and we kind of put the pieces together, and we just made it and it came out super fun.”
After playing The Hobbit with their friends, HARKIN and StONE were able to put together the first version of The Hobbit game, and after that they had a ton of feedback on how to improve it.
“At the time, the video-game industry was kind of the Wild West, and there were a lot things that weren’t quite right, but we felt like we had a lot going for us,” Stinson said.
Stork was able to hire some experienced game designers and developers to help him make his first game, which they christened The Hobbit: The Card Game.
This was just one of the many things that they worked on together.”He worked