Baby, I’m a Star

April 22, 2016 Comments off

I don’t have it in me to go into what Prince’s music has meant to me and the impact it had in my life when was younger. I do have a story about how his music came up in a very unexpected way for me many years ago.

My favorite Prince song is “Baby, I’m a Star”. I first heard it while watching “Purple Rain”. It was a pretty emotional movie. Sure, the acting wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t full of actors. But boy, did that movie  have heart.

When Prince & the Revolution played this song at the end, I heard it as a joyful expression of just playing music. The joy of music. Of performing. It was like everyone in the audience of that live recording was all in sync with Prince. Being a part of his joy. You can see it in this video.

So. I used to be a club DJ. Back in 1985, I was working in San Antonio. I was the DJ at the Hyatt, down on the Riverwalk. It was a slow night, in winter. Most of the customers around that time, were folks who worked in the bars, hotels, and restaurants on the River. It was super slow, as it was the downtime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a ‘school night’ to boot.


Normally, I stuck to a lot of the regular Top 40 dance tunes, but also a lot of my fave funk/freestyle tunes like Debbie Deb, Shannon, Freestyle, Trinere, Sheila E, Dazz, Gap Bad. On those slower nights, I also mixed in Lena Lovich, Nina Hagen, King Creole & the Coconuts. As long as the bar was full of “river rats” aka the folks who worked in hospitality, I could play what I wanted. After all, they were spending LOTS of money on drinks.

Anyway, so that December night, there was a KISS concert in town. There were heaps of young women and teenage girls running around the area. Apparently, they were staying at the Hyatt, I think? A lot of women tried to come into the bar, but since they weren’t 21, they were turned away.

I was playing some tune and folks were dancing. Until these two ROCK GODS walked in. I quickly saw it wasn’t Gene Simmons nor Paul Stanley, which were the only two KISS people I knew on sight. They were taken to a table with some security dudes and groupies.

Of course, the whole crowd wanted me to start playing KISS music. I figured that was the last thing they would want to hear. And the only song I had from them was “Lick it Up”. Yuck.

I put on a long song and went over to talk to them. ‘Hey, I’m the DJ here and everyone wants to hear some KISS. I’d rather play what YOU want to hear, and I’ll make a dedication or some shit”.

One of the dudes, “BABY, I’M A STAR! PLAY THAT!”

I was so jazzed and excited. Except, you gotta slam that one in right. Remember, this is Ye Olde Vinyl Dayes, so I have to be super precise on how I put this one in, for a couple of reasons. First, it comes very quickly after I Would Die 4 U. Essentially, you have a downbeat to knock it in on Baby’s first note. When mixing vinyl, you have to have a precise touch for matching the beats, which 12″ dance singles are made for. You match the beats, adjusting so it’s seamless. (gods, I miss this). With this one? You basically have to have your finger ready in the exact place, to hit the exact beat of the song already playing. You “slam” it in there. BAM. The song just HITS you.

I don’t even remember what I was playing, but I was talking over a part of the music with the “hey folks, this one goes out to you from KISS” and then SLAMMED IT.

Hard and loud.

It wasn’t what the crowd expected. But they went wild. Like jumping up and down wild. And that one dude from KISS…came out and dance in the middle of it all. People weren’t trying to do the best moves. They weren’t trying to show off, hook up, or anything.

For those few minutes, people were simply dancing joyfully. The feeling of oneness between the DJ, the crowd, and the song is one I simply cannot describe. It’s a feeling I think that Prince would have loved.


Categories: Main

NorWesCon 2016

March 8, 2016 Comments off

Luke, I am a Jedi...

It’s the time of year again, when I dust off the blog and post my NorWesCon schedule. I’ve got a pretty light year, with only 7 panels! Go me! I’m moderating most of them, so I really should email the panelists so we’re all on the same page regarding the discussion.

First, the non-panel things. We’ll have an OrcaCon table in the Club Table row. If you’re at NorWesCon, you can drop by and say hello. We’ll be handing out ribbons and promoting OrcaCon 2017. We’ll have a suite this year for #NachosBeerCon, which is really just having a quiet space to play games, eat nachos, and drink beer.

Now, on to the panel schedule!


Make a Gaming Night Recipe Book / 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 12
A good thing to have for gaming nights is a recipe book with quick recipes that can be dished up away from the table, including good meals that are friendly to all participants and don’t get in the way of the evening’s games. For bonus nerd points you can give the recipes nerd themed names, which we’ll definitely be doing … because nerds.
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Lilith Whitewolf, Ogre Whiteside, SunnyJim Morgan, Donna Prior


Non-Traditional Gamers Speak / Fri 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Evergreen 1&2
Come hear how gaming is and be an even more inclusive environment.
Donna Prior (M), J. F. High, Burton Gamble, Mickey Schulz


Video Games 101 / Sat 12:00 PM-1:00 PM – Cascade 5&6
FPS, MMO, RTS, MOBA… What do these acronyms mean? How do I select a console or platform that suits my needs? How do I manage my time and not miss dinner? How do I deal with harassment and trolls? What’s good etiquette for various online interactions? If you’ve asked any one of these questions or have similar queries, come ask our panel of experts.
Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Annie Bellet, Burton Gamble

Internet & Real Life Trolls / Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
From Gamergaters to Rabid Puppies to the person who just doesn’t think that being “PC” is important… How does this affect the real people who are being subjected to mistreatment? What can we do take a stand against it? Should we and how should we?
Donna Prior (M), Mickey Schulz, Elizabeth Sampat, Rafeal Richardson

Is Fandom More Diverse & Accepting? / Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
The idea that fandom and SF/F is more accepting and diverse is often bandied around. Is that true? How do we move beyond the oppressive tropes? And what can we do to be aware of creating a truly accepting environment? How do we build inclusive communities?
Rafeal Richardson (M), Donna Prior, Brenna Clarke Gray, Sheye Anne Blaze

Geek Policing: Don’t Do It / Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Cascade 9
Geek policing and gate-keeping happens when someone evinces interest in something of the nerdy persuasion, and someone else starts quizzing them on it like nerddom is the Ivy League. It’s not okay. And we—all of us nerds of all races, genders, orientations, and ages—need to stop it. Period.
Donna Prior (M), Jeff Harris, Shubzilla, J. Rachel Edidin, Jonny Nero Action Hero

Star Wars: A (New) New Hope / Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM – Cascade 10
The Force Awakens came out last December, and fan passions are running deep. Was it a brilliant update that brought the saga to a new generation? Or a lens-flared fiasco of Jar-Jarian proportions? Either way, Disney is going all-in on all things Star Wars, so there’s much, much more on the way.
Donna Prior (M), Rafeal Richardson, Dee Wright, Jeremy Zimmerman, David Fooden

Categories: Main

GaymerX 2015 and me!

December 1, 2015 Comments off

Weee! I am so excited about attending GaymerX this year! I backed the first Kickstarter, but was unable to attend. I wanted to back the second, but I was in between gigs. Now I am super jazzed that not only can I attend, but I will be one of the RPG Bosses of Honor! *squeee* Look at the amazing Bosses of Honor!


I’ve got numerous panels and three RPG sessions, plus I’ll be running around playing games as much as possible. I’ll have copies of our game Love2Hate, plus other portable card/board games. Such a nerd. I’m also up for on-the-fly demos of Dragon Age RPG and Titansgrave RPG. I’ll bring plenty of character sheets!


Coming out in the Game Industry 1pm-2pm
From last year’s panel, we expand upon the struggles many have in coming out in the game industry, both on a personal level to friends and family, as well as a professional level to co-workers. If you are trying to find a way to be an open gaymer, come to this panel!

Titansgrave Friday, Dec 11, 2-4pm (4 spots open)
Explore the mysterious Rust Wastes, a technological graveyard in the city-state of Nestora that promises grave danger & wondrous rewards. Your characters will explore the mysterious Rust Wastes, a technological graveyard in the city-state of Nestora that promises grave danger and wondrous rewards. What secrets do the Rust Wastes hide? Titansgrave is the new RPG setting created for Wil Wheaton’s RPG show, “Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana”.

Building Inclusive Gaming Communities On & Offline 6pm-7pm
Community is the most important thing. But how do you build a community and make sure it is a healthy and welcoming one? Join us as we talk about building communities both online and offline around the things we  love the most. Because we know how important it is to find like minded people who understand what we go through. Let us show you how to make sure that happens by giving you the tools and knowledge to create it yourself.


Diversity in Games – What’s Next? 12pm-1pm
In this panel we will explore what developers can do to include all types of players. We will also encourage open discussion with the audience to learn how the community feels the industry needs to change to make a more inclusive generation of games.

Queer as a 3-sided Die 3pm-4pm
Industry panelists lead discussion of gender and sexuality issues in gaming from design and publishing to game-play and community.

Titansgrave Saturday, Dec 12, 6-8pm (5 spots open)
Explore the mysterious Rust Wastes, a technological graveyard in the city-state of Nestora that promises grave danger & wondrous rewards. Your characters will explore the mysterious Rust Wastes, a technological graveyard in the city-state of Nestora that promises grave danger and wondrous rewards. What secrets do the Rust Wastes hide? Titansgrave is the new RPG setting created for Wil Wheaton’s RPG show, “Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana”.


Dragon Age Sunday, Dec 13, 10am-12pm (2 spots open)
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop.

All Your Culture Are Belong to us: Appropriation, Erasure, and RPGs 1pm-2pm
You favorite game might be problematic… but it doesn’t have to be. This panel will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of RPG’s while pointing out examples of cultural appropriation or erasure.

NorWesCon 2015 Schedule!

February 2, 2015 Comments off

It’s that time again, the time we all love! CONVENTION SEASON! I’ve got heaps of things going on with Emerald City ComicCon, GottaCon, NorWesCon, Gen Con, and more. But for right now, I wanted to get my NorWesCon schedule online so I can link it around. For the times I am not in a panel, I will be hosting the OrcaCon table in the Fan Table hallway. Other than that, I’ll be enjoying NachosBeerCon in the bar!

Thursday, April 2nd

Your Grandma’s a Gamer, Too – Cascade 7&8 5:00PM-6:00PM

The accessibility of games is increasing due to phones and tablets, so who is actually playing all these new games? Let’s talk about what is out there and how to find the good ones.
Donna Prior (M), Adrienne Carlson, Jonny Nero Action Hero

How to Give Good Panel – Cascade 12 6:00PM-7:00PM
Tips and tricks on being a good moderator, panelist, or presenter at a convention. What’s your job, really, when your name appears after a panel description in the program book? How do you keep it on-topic and interesting for the audience? And what do you do when some blowhard in the back row thinks they know more than you?
Margaret Organ-Kean (M), Donna Prior, Bart Kemper

Is Fandom More Diverse & Accepting? – Cascade 6 8:00PM-9:00PM
The idea that fandom and SF/F is more accepting and diverse is often bandied around. Is that true? How do we move beyond the oppressive tropes? And what can we do to be aware of creating a truly accepting environment?
Sheye Anne Blaze (M), Amber Clark, Maida ‘Mac’ Combs, Donna Prior

Friday, April 3rd

How are Games & Gamers Changing the World? – Cascade 9 12:00PM-1:00PM
A discussion about the rising sun of the gamer, and all the different ways that this generation who grew up on video games has changed with how the world works. This will cover both the good and the bad.
Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, David J. Peterson, Jonny Nero Action Hero, C0splay

Building a Community – Cascade 9 1:00PM-2:00PM
You have a passion that you want to share with the world. You know there are other people out there with similar interests, but how do you find them? Share and learn tips on building your passion into a community.
Mike Robles (M), Tifa Robles, Donna Prior, G. Willow Wilson

GOH Q&A – Grand 3 3:00PM-4:00PM
An interview and Q&A session with Norwescon 38 Artist Guest of Honor Julie Dillon.
Julie Dillon, Donna Prior

The Future Belongs to Everyone – Cascade 5 8:00PM-9:00PM
Recognizing positive examples of race, gender, and sexual identity in popular media.
Dennis R. Upkins (M), Sheye Anne Blaze, Maida ‘Mac’ Combs, Donna Prior

Saturday, April 4th

Creating Inclusive Gaming Groups & Events – Cascade 10 5:00PM-6:00PM
Enjoy board games? Love the idea of painting miniatures? Want to know how to find inclusive groups for gaming? How do you create your own gaming meet-ups? Our panelists will give you tips on creating game groups, finding public game meet-ups, and enjoying gaming conventions as a newbie. Want to be a better organizer? We’ll work with you to build positivity in your current groups, how to find new players, and how to encourage their participation.
Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, Gwen Yeh, Bijhan Valibeigi

Sunday, April 5th

The Geek Secret Handshake – Cascade 7&8 12:00PM-1:00PM
School, work and social environments sometimes make it hard to fly your geek flag as prominently as you might like. Get and share tips for recognizing kindred spirits without freaking the mundanes. (I have Opinions(TM) about the term “freaking the mundanes” and will certainly share it)
Mike Robles (M), Donna Prior, David Shoemaker, Michael G. Munz, Minim Calibre

Fandom in Daily Life – Cascade 3&4 2:00PM-3:00PM
Are you weird, geeky, or a total nerd, and proud of it? Do you express your fannishness in daily life, or do you tone it down for your day job? Come participate in a discussion and share how you show your fannish colors.
Victoria Shaffer (M), Donna Prior, Mike Robles, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Shubzilla

IGDA Board 2015 Statement

January 28, 2015 Comments off

After reading a criticism regarding the IGDA Board of Directors selection for the four current openings, I remembered that I had meant to put my statement here on my blog.  The criticism of the election was regarding the lack of diversity; there isn’t a single woman up for election.  I am not sure how many women were nominated, but I did nominate myself. I am a firm believer in the saying, “Be the change you want to see”, so I took a stab at running for the board. Below is the statement I submitted. I also had two interviews via voice/phone, but ultimately was not selected.


My name is Donna Prior and I humbly submit my nomination for the IGDA Board of Directors. I have been in the game industry for 7 years working in Community Management for both digital and analog games. I have worked for independent studios such as Flying Lab Software and Heatwave Interactive, and also for AAA studios like SOE and Bioware. I am a frequent speaker at PAX, Gen Con, and other conventions presenting on community building, making safe and inclusive spaces, and mentoring.

My passion for community building is why I wish to foster the professional community within the IGDA. I have a deep love of transparency and supporting volunteers who dedicate their time and passion to game development.

With that in mind, these topics are my focus.

Community – Developers are beginning to see the value of strong communities, within the industry and their players. As a Community Management professional, I am able to bring feedback from Chapters, SIGs, and individuals to the Board.

Transparency – There is a gross misunderstanding of what the IGDA is and how it can support the developer community. We need more transparency to highlight the work of the IGDA and open up public feedback channels. Non-members should understand the work of the staff and the hundreds of volunteers running SIGs and Chapters. The reputation of the IGDA hasn’t always been positive, and showing the work of the IGDA regularly would be extremely helpful in underscoring the organization’s benefits.

Volunteers -. I’ve volunteered in the GDC Conference Associates program for four years, the last two as CA Staff. I manage the GM Volunteer program for Green Ronin Publishing and created my own volunteer-run games convention, OrcaCon. Volunteers are the backbone of the IGDA and there should be better recognition and support for what they do. We need to provide better training of chapters and SIGs leaders and make it easier for people to get involved. There are amazing people doing incredibly important work within the IGDA and we need to make sure they are valued.

In these things, I believe I am the best candidate. The IGDA needs Board Members who will listen: to advocate, to support, and to inspire. As a Community Manager, I know how to do this.

You can find me here:

Thank you for your consideration.

Donna Prior
Founder IGDA Community Management SIG
GDC 2015 Community Management Summit Advisory Board
GDC Conference Associate
GDC Conference Associate Staff


August 26, 2014 Comments off

I am pretty darn excited about PAX 2014 this year. I won’t be working for a games company, which is odd. But, I will still be there working! And when I say working, I mean working for my own community efforts. I’ll be mostly found up in the Diversity Lounge on the 6th floor, hosting a table for my group, Inclusive Geekery. If you’re looking for Backup Ribbons from the Backup Ribbon Project, I will have them at the table and also be carrying them around! 


I’m so very excited to have some great volunteers working with me at the table, so I can run off do do panels and game demos. Want to find me if I am not at our table? The Diversity Lounge has 2 tables set up for schedule meetups, game demos, roundtables, and whatnot. I’ll pretty much live in the Lounge for the weekend, and here are my panels (outside the lounge) and my actual lounge activities:


  • My panel, Building Inclusive Communities in Analog Gaming. 11:30am-12:30pm Hedgehog Theatre (Grand Hyatt 1st floor). YES IT WILL BE STREAMED! WHOOIEEEE!
  • Diversity Lounge (Meetup) Queer Meetup: 2pm-3pm
  • Diversity Lounge (Meetup) Bisexual Women’s Meetup: 4pm-5pm


  • Filling in on the panel, How to Love and Hate Tabletop Games. 11:30am-12:30pm Sandworm Theatre (Sheraton 2nd floor). I do not know if it is streamed.
  • Diversity Lounge (Meetup) – Gay Game Industry Professionals meetup 12pm – 2pm, although it overlaps a little bith with the panel.
  • Diversity Lounge (Game Demo) – Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG 2-hour demo 2pm-4pm. I’ll have pre-generated characters, dice, and such for you!
  • Diversity Lounge (Roundtable) – Roundtable discussion about creating inclusive game/geek spaces IRL 5pm-6pm



  • Diversity Lounge (Game Demo) – Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG 2-hour demo 2pm-4pm. I’ll have pre-generated characters, dice, and such for you!

Of course, I’ll be supporting lots of local inclusive groups who will drop flyers off and such. Plus, I’ll definitely be bringing information about OrcaCon 2016! Please drop by and say hello!

Updated: Gen Con 2014 Schedule

July 6, 2014 Comments off


Update: So, my games are all going to be in the JW Marriott. They’re all full, but there might be openings or I could fit you in as a sixth person no problem. So, due to the games being where they are, it means that I won’t make it to the Exhibit Hall at all, unless I am there early in the morning with an Exhibitor badge. My last game on Sunday ends at 1pm, so I’ll be trucking my arse over so I can give everyone at the Green Ronin booths some well needed wander around time. Here are some added things:

  • Wednesday – Booth setup and maybe hitting up The Stink. Or some other gaming thing. Or maybe just lay around the hotel to gear up for the amount of people I will be shoved together with for a con. Yay introvert! Really, I haven’t made any Wednesday plans outside of doing whatever Green Ronin booth needs me to do.
  • Thursday – Gen Con Gaymers Facebook group is having a Gaymers Dinner. I have a couple extra Gaymer ribbons on me, so I’ll be passing some out when I see folks who want them. You can get them also at the Gaymers Dinner and random other places.  After the dinner, I am not sure what I’m going. Maybe find some games?
  • Friday – Some nerds and I are going to pick a place to play games and drink beer. That is at 8pm, so I’ve got free time between my game and the dinner. Maybe I will just nap.
  • Sunday – Annual Ronin Gen Con dinner
  • Monday – Our flight isn’t until the evening so we’ll just be slacking around Indy once we’ve checked out of our hotel.

**If you want to see the entire Green Ronin schedule, you can find it here: Green Ronin at Gen Con 2014

It’s hard to believe it is almost time for another Gen Con. I had an amazing time last year, working part time for Green Ronin and Hostile Work Environment. Met a lot of new awesome folks and reconnected with old friends. I don’t think I managed to play any games last year, but really, that’s not why I attend. I love running my Dragon Age demos, and loving checking out the new games. This year, I hope to make it to some panels, since I’ll have some downtime between my demo games. If I don’t have anything else happening, I’ll most likely be found at the Green Ronin booth #1517.

This is my current schedule, which might change if I jump into any panels or events. My events are full, but people still have time to drop out of games, I think. So I might have something open up. Also, sometimes people don’t show for the game, or I can fit one extra at the table. I’ll most likely tweet out if my table has spaces right before each game in case you want that spot.

My demos of Dragon Age are RP-focused, and VERY accessible to new-to-RPG folks. Here’s a description of the game:

The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong?

Thursday, 8/14:

  • 11:ooam-1:00pm: RPG1458661 “An Arl’s Ransom”
  • 3:00pm – 5:00pm: RPG1458662 “An Arl’s Ransom”

Friday, 8/15:

  • 11:ooam-1:00pm: RPG1458663 “An Arl’s Ransom”
  • 3:00pm – 5:00pm: RPG1458664 “An Arl’s Ransom”

Saturday, 8/16:

  • 11:ooam-1:00pm: RPG1458665 “An Arl’s Ransom”
  • 3:00pm – 5:00pm: RPG1458666 “An Arl’s Ransom”

Sunday, 8/17:

  • 11:ooam-1:00pm: RPG1458667 “An Arl’s Ransom”
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