I had an opportunity to interview Frank Kirby, the Video Game Department Head for Anime Central (ACEN)
I didn’t want to waste any time and I got to the most important questions first.
What is your perfect Sunday?
“My perfect Sunday. Well, it’s having people showing up and enjoying it and things are winding down. It’s where I haven’t stressed about things. My staff are showing up… We still have tournaments on Sunday so those going smoothly and still having people show up…I want the nice happy gaming buzz that you get when you’ve enjoyed your weekend and I just love the attendees and how things went, what they want to see, what we did well and what we can do better.”
How exactly do you choose the games that you will be bringing to the room?
“So, a lot of that is actually decided by our contractors who do multiple conventions and selecting those games as they come out. If there was something that we really wanted to see, we would tell them but they are very proactive. We have World9 that bring in the consoles and World9’s PC’s. They bring in the equipment that the tournaments run on and Tokyo Attack brings in the arcades that you see in the back of the room. They do a lot of the heavy lifting.”
With how large the new gaming space was at ACEN, I asked Frank if the rise of tabletop gaming at ACEN impeded on the space for the digital consoles.
“We’re both growing. Before, tabletop had the rest of the international center. We just had the international ballroom… But with this being the 20th [anniversary], we wanted to grow what we were doing and they brought in the Gen-Con gaming library and they got them to bring out all of their stuff. So, they needed more room. We needed more room. So it was something of a ‘we’re both getting to improve’ because I been asking for more space for a couple of years now…”
A couple of years? I wanted to know just how long Frank was the Head of this department.
“This is actually my fifth-year volunteering. I started as the ADH (Assistant Department Head) my second year…but I started to pick up a lot of the slack of the department head so a lot of the planning that went into the convention for 2014 was really my doing. 2015 was when I really become the department head and I’ve been the department head since so I’ve been directly responsible for it for three years but more or less was in charge of making sure it happened for about four.”
From the where the interview was going, I was getting a sense that he really enjoyed himself at ACen. I would hope so if he’s been doing this a volunteer for five years but everyone person has a “why” and his was simple.
“I love people. I love the nerd community.”
Those two sentences summed up Frank very well. It was pleasure to meet him and I can’t wait to see more of the game room on Sunday.