Business: Brian Fahmie of Game Complex
Entrepreneur Brian Fahmie has patented a $78 million Game Complex, what he calls “the future of entertainment”
Brian Fahmie holds a sketch for his exciting new concept. But don’t steal—it’s patented. | Photo by Robert Benson
The concept of playing a life-sized video game, where you’re able to physically enter the surreal worlds depicted on TV screens, has been in our collective imagination for a long time. It’s part of the space-aged future we all envision, along with flying cars and jetpacks.
This is the key idea behind the development of Game Complex, the world’s most interactive entertainment offering to date. It’s creator, 28-year-old Brian Fahmie, along with business partner, Thomas Athanas, have designed and patented a gaming formula that places the best technology and set designs in a theme park-sized arena, giving players an experience they’ve only dreamed about. It’s been called the “real life Hunger Games” (minus the violence) and an adult Disneyland, but what separates Game Complex from virtual reality rides, laser tag, or other location-based entertainment offerings is that players are involved in the plot. It’s partly a physical challenge, partly a mental challenge, and partly a test of skill and dexterity, and the outcome of each stage affects the player’s progress in the game. As people move through challenges and make choices, the story unfolds, like you’re starring in a video game. “We think of it as a whole, immersive experience. Even before you go inside the game, you are inside our world, stepping into the role of your favorite video game or movie character,” Brian explains.
You’ll feel the humidity inside a cave on Mars, climb to the crow’s nest of a pirate’s ship, hear the echoing howl of a monster in the distance, and see it all in stunning detail. “We refer to it as Physical Reality Gaming. We’re not focused on augmented reality, or virtual reality, or any of the newer gaming technologies for the basis of the experience. Rather, we are breaking the mold and going a little less tech-heavy by physically putting participants into these worlds.”
Key word: physically.
Game Complex could be the answer to gamers adding fitness to their sedentary lives. “I grew up with duality in my life,” Fahmie says about his upbringing in the Mission Valley area. “On one hand, my school friends and I were the geeky, game nerds. I was overweight at the time, and our nights and weekends were spent playing video games, board games, and card games.”
But he also remained active. “At the same time, I grew up in a very weekend-warrior family with another set of friends, and we’d go wakeboarding or snowboarding, and play hockey,” he adds. “So I had this athletic, jock side.” Now a triathlete and still a gamer, Fahmie is finally pulling the threads together. “As my career progressed, those worlds started converging and combining. The experience I got from one of my first jobs as an international marketing and event manager that dabbled in video game design, combined with my first company, an endurance race production business, eventually caused these two worlds to meet.”
The game area is a fluid set that will be able to accommodate new worlds that change from season to season, year to year. An endeavor like Game Complex takes years of patience, persistence, and motivation to bring to life, not to mention a figure somewhere in the ballpark of $78 million. But Brian has always put in the hard work to do things his way. From racing through high school at Horizon Christian Academy in three years to starting and selling his first company before age 30, his approach to challenges has always been uncompromisingly bold. “I believe in what we’re doing with my whole being and am just excited about the concept,” he says, grinning.
There’s still a lot of work to do before the projected opening of a first location in 2018. “It will change the way people think of entertainment,” Fahmie explains. “People aren’t going to the movies as much anymore, because they can get the same or a better experience at home with their home theater systems. We are creating an experience that you literally could never have anywhere else.”