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John Bergman
Gaming Guru

The one-room den of game development – where Guild Software in Wauwatosa is building the next version of its popular multiplayer shoot and trade-’em-up Vendetta Online – features a neglected billiards table, somewhere underneath strata of computer equipment and other miscellanea. John Bergman, founder and lead designer at the studio, spends the majority of his days tending to a subscriber base of several thousand space pilots and plotting new reaches of the mini-universe that launched in 2004. We quizzed the longtime resident – who moved here at age 14, after a colorful childhood spent on his family’s sailboat – on creating a video game based on Milwaukee. Here’s what he came up with:

Concept: “One possible design could allow the user to run Milwaukee as its mayor, beginning with the founding of the city and progressing through and dealing with events in its actual history. Another could be making a game based on an industry strongly associated with Milwaukee, like running a simulated brewery.”

Pros: “A real setting allows one to draw from the rich tapestry of a society’s culture and history in a given location, much like a ‘period’ setting in a movie or novel.”

Cons: “Milwaukee as a setting might not be familiar enough to seize the imagination of consumers in a global marketplace.”

But we can dream.

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