Posted by : Jameson Durall Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I've been getting a lot of questions about how the Hall of Fame went, so here's a post to sum it all up for everyone.  It was a crazy week jam packed full of awesome events and fantastic people.  But it started with us getting stuck in Atlanta overnight and flying into Orlando on Saturday morning.  This wasn't all bad...since they gave us two free flights EACH and put is in a hotel :)  So my wife, son and I will get two free paid flights to Disney World.

Of course when we did arrive on Saturday, we met up with my parents and sister to spend the day at Magic Kingdom.  This was their first chance to experience the parks with Kian, so they were just as excited as he was.  The park was open until midnight, so arriving late morning didn't affect us too much and we got a great full day in.

Now onto the festivities!  We checked into the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios and it was really nice...Full Sail took great care of us.  We had a room overlooking the water and was a short walk to the restaurants that were waterside.  I had a lot of family come down for the event and it was great having them all close by as well.  Full Sail also provided transportation around town and assigned us a Concierge who took care of anything that we needed.   It was truly all-star treatment and made us feel quite special.

I headed to Full Sail along with my presenter, Jim, and the other inductees on Sunday morning so we could get familiar with the location of the ceremony and get last minute info.  It was quite humbling to be included with some pretty incredible people and was nice to get to know them better.  You can read up on them and their achievements here: http://www.fullsail.edu/news/headlines/2011-08-16-2011-full-sail-hall-of-fame-inductees-announcement

On Sunday evening we had the first Hall of Fame event at the Velvet Lounge in the Hard Rock Hotel.  It was a laid back event with plenty of food and drinks which went well into the evening.  This was my first chance to meet and get to know some of the previous Hall of Fame Inductees and was humbled even further by their achievements.

Induction Ceremony
Monday was the big day which started bright and early by getting all of us to the Green Room in a building adjacent to the Full Sail Live venue where the ceremony would take place.  They then had each of us walk across the red carpet to the main building as we were introduced by Tracy Wiu.

Once inside, they gathered together all six of the inductees for a quick photo.  They had us wait out in the main entrance area so they could set the stage and have us enter and take our seats.  It was nice that we began the ceremony sitting with our families so we could enjoy things and be a little more relaxed before our time with all focus on us individually.

Once my turn came around they played a fantastic video put together by the Full Sail crew that included pieces of an interview that I did with them and some footage that they came to Champaign and took earlier in the year. The video did a great job of giving insight into my career.  Then Jim went up and did a fantastic job introducing me and talking about what it's like working with me now.

I told people the day before that I likely wouldn't make it through my acceptance speech without getting emotional...I was right.  It was already such an overwhelming experience and once I started talking about my family it was over.  At one point Garry Jones came up to give me a hug when I got a bit choked up, lol.


Watch live streaming video from fullsailuniversity at livestream.com
Here is the entire Induction Ceremony for those who would like to see it :)

After the ceremony was over, they took us over to an adjacent building where they keep a permanent Hall of Fame museum.  They lined us up and on the count of three we all pulled to unveil our new Hall of Fame Wall.  I'll be forever placed next to my new pal Culley Bunker.

One of the photographers got this great shot of my son holding my Hall of Fame award in front of my picture on the Hall of Fame Wall.
The evening included a really nice catered dinner that included all of my family and friends that came to visit.  It was nice to spend some time with them after all the pressure was off.  The night was capped off with a great concert from Marc Broussard.  I hadn't heard of him before, but he has a great sound and we really enjoyed it.

Volition Day
The next day was focused around the group of Full Sail grads that now with with me at Volition.  They recently finished working on Saints Row: The Third and came down to promote the game and talk to students about their various aspects of it's development.  Jim and I moderated a 2 hour panel where I let them dive into their rolls on the project as well as questions from the audience.

No trip to Full Sail is complete without the customary signing of Omar's head.  It's a tradition that started a couple of years ago and this was my second time participating.

Final Day
I checked out of the hotel and headed to campus to spend some time with students.  I began by visiting a class and taking questions for about an hour before chilling in the main lounge area for a bit.  That afternoon, I was on a panel talking about "Where the Gaming Industry Is Headed".  The room was packed and we got some great questions from the audience.  Once that was over, I had to hurry to the airport to head back home.

It was a fantastic, though very busy, trip and we had an absolute blast.  It was really nice to be recognized for my achievements and it helps put in perspective how lucky I've been over the duration of my career.

I think my favorite part of the trip was when I returned to the hotel room my first night and found this gift from my wife and son. <3


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