Beer and tech people meet up in Arlington

Members of the area’s game developer community came together for GameRoulette, a day to meet each other and sell their wares. Hundreds gathered inside Le Diplomate in Arlington on Tuesday to mingle, drink and…

Beer and tech people meet up in Arlington

Members of the area’s game developer community came together for GameRoulette, a day to meet each other and sell their wares. Hundreds gathered inside Le Diplomate in Arlington on Tuesday to mingle, drink and chat with fellow publishers, developers and professionals.

GameRoulette is one of a handful of monthly meetups hosted by North of Fifty, a nonprofit organization that connects developers in the region to find each other and collaborate with one another. Co-founders Juliette Christopher, Mark Jones and Brian Kenyon have also hosted monthly meetups in Redmond, Wash., and continue to do so in Denver and in New Orleans.

“North of Fifty is really about helping each other grow,” said Jones, a veteran game designer who attended the Arlington meetup. “Without them, it would be challenging to be an entrepreneur or a small business person who wants to run your own business.”

Members of the North of Fifty network will eventually hold weekly meetups to gather and sell products. The Bethesda meetup, though successful, is missing the weekly element so Christopher and Jones said they hope to add a fifth Bethesda meetup to the group’s schedule.

Christopher said one of the main reasons GameRoulette exists is because there aren’t many other opportunities for people to meet in the community.

“There is nothing else out there like it in Northern Virginia,” Christopher said. “There really is a lack of networking in the game industry. It is difficult to gather people who are in similar fields for things like this and we think it will benefit developers and that they will be really happy to learn more about our product set.”

North of Fifty kicked off this year’s meetup with a retrospective film from the game “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic”. The location on Tuesday was chosen to reflect the game — two cities and two female main characters.

“At our inception, the girls in the film (weren’t) encouraged to do gaming. They were encouraged to take up other things like science or journalism,” Christopher said. “For us, it was very important that we choose Bethesda, home of a very strong gaming community.”

Also, it’s cool.

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