Gary Jackson was fondly known as the "Gawdfather of Gaming"
by millions of gaming enthusiasts around the world. His failing
wargame company, Hard 8 Enterprises, was about to close its doors
for good in 1977 when Gary tossed the dice on a hastily produced
role-playing game, The HackMasters of EverKnight. The first
print run was quickly snapped off the shelves and soon frantic
distributors were calling Gary's three-man shop with pleas of
"More!" Gary rode HackMaster spin-offs until his untimely
death in a plane accident in 2001.
(For those who want to know what 'hard eight' means, it refers
to the game of craps where Gary blew thousands of dollars of company
money over the years on his frequent trips to Las Vegas.)
Edmund Finely was once Gary Jackson's paperboy. One morning he
was coerced into filling an empty chair during a play-testing session
of HackMaster and became ensnared in 'Gary's Game'. That was twenty
years ago and Edmund has been on the Hard 8 team ever since (though
he's only been on the payroll for the past four months). Edmund
wears the proud title of "Director of Research and Development"
and recently oversaw the production of his first written work, Abe,
Babes and RollerBlades, described as a "sexy, zany, time-travelling
romp through history and fashion."
Jo Jo Zeke
Jo Jo is one of Gary Jackson's favorite, "yes-men." When
he bought out Battle Cry Games in 1984, Jo Jo Zeke came as part
of the deal. For years Jo Jo was considered the 'King of Hex-and-Cardboard-Counter"
wargames and has over forty-two titles under his belt. His most
famous game design was 'The Pope's Panzers' a 'what-if' wargame
simulation that rocked war gaming circles around the country. The
sequel, 'V-Rockets at the Vatican' earned him his first Gamers'
Choice Award for best game design. Jo Jo is now responsible for
writing much of the flavor text for HackMaster adventures (something
he has a knack for), and crunching rules. It is rumored he lives
in his office at Hard Eight Enterprises.
NO PICTURES EXIST - EXCEPT
POSSIBLY IN CIA FILES
Very few people have ever seen the infamous Antignano Brothers.
Those who have are usually reluctant to talk about it. It is known
that Gary Jackson has kept them on the Hard Eight Enterprises payroll
for years. Their checks are usually annotated with the cryptic words,
"for various services rendered". It is said that Vince
and Tony Antignano wear grey, pinstripe suits with solid gold twenty-sider
cuff links. A few years ago, Nitro Fergueson publicly insulted Gary
Jackson at a convention. A few days later, he FedExed a letter of
apology to Gary. It is rumored the Antignano Brothers paid him a
Pete has been with Gary Jackson since the beginning. In fact they
met in college where they used to play epic sessions of MERC ARMOR
and BLAZING GUNS. When Gary started his company, Pete came onboard
as his first full-time game designer (working for shares in the
beginning). In recent years the friendship has been strained as
Gary's projects have repeatedly over-shadowed Pete's pet projects.
In fact Gary usually targets Pete for his much-publicized verbal
abuse and ego bruising. Still, Pete is loyal to Gary and Hard 8
Enterprises and rarely complains.
Waco Bob is one of the original shareholders of Hard 8. He really
doesn't do much at the company other than agree with virtually every
word that comes out of Gary's mouth. Waco has done well, financially,
working with Gary and that seems to be enough to have earned his
undying devotion. Waco does sit in on every playtesting session
he can. But since he seems to love every game he plays, regardless
of its flaws, his value as a playtester leaves a lot to be desired.
He invariably fills out his playtester evaluation forms with, "This
game is the next HackMaster!!"
Tuley isn't an employee at Hard 8, nor is he considered an intern.
He originally came to the company as part of a Summer Playtester
program. He was tricked into running the company's customer service
department by being led to believe it was a 'virtual corporation
computer game' and that he was earning points based on how well
he 'played' the game, which involved answering the phone and working
out 'variable solutions' to each call. No one has mentioned the
'game' in quite some time and Tuley seems content to live in his
office, occasionally order out for pizza and man his station.
Norman Bowser is a role-player who made good and realized his dream.
He started out as a freelancer and began to pump so much HackMaster
material into the Hard 8 offices that he was eventually asked to
come on board. A few years ago he replaced Earl Slackmozer as the
editor of HackJournal magazine and has been doing a bang up job
of scratching the 'hack-n-slash' itch for thousands of fans. Gary
has become so comfortable with Norman's writing ability that he
has sanctioned all of Norman's material as 'official' HackMaster
material (even though Gary rarely reads Norman's work as of late).
Norman has a long-standing rivalry with Bitter Stevil. Norman cut
Stevil's column from HackJournal soon after taking the helm.
Eight year old Timmy Jackson is Gary's youngest son. He is also
the newly installed chief developer for the SpaceHack sci-fi role-playing
game. He had been responsible for development on the superhero frp
Heroes and Zeroes, but was reassigned due to a rash of complaints
following the release of H&Z's Background Tool Chest supplement.
Gary, uncharacteristically emotional, felt terrible about this and
has promised to make it up to Timmy by bringing his favorite TV
hero, Xena the Warrior Princess, to the next HackCon.