Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Freeplay and Other Haps



It's been a very busy and exciting week with a lot of things happening. First and foremost, Freeplay happened in Melbourne last week and over the weekend. It was my fourth Freeplay event in as many years. It was a really great event with plenty of talks full of fury, passion, and optimism. Not the generic kind of games industry optimism of "believe in yourself and be Indie and things will be cool, yay!" but a real sense that things are slowly changing. Actually, changing is a terrible word that gets thrown around at Freeplay as much as it does at every event. In previous years, there has always been some kind of 'politics' panel where politics and culture and games gets talked about. This year, that stuff just kind of permeated the entire event. That pissed off some people who were more excited about learning how to use Unity to make platformers or something, but for those of us attending Freeplay as a cultural festival, it was really great to see.

Also great was the large percentage of young and inexperienced speakers. So many young people saying so many great things instead of the old guard saying the same old old guard things. Great! Exemplary of this was Sam Crisp/Stephen Swift (I don't even know anymore) and Marigold Bartlett's "How To Destroy Everything" talk which was just the most phenomenal thing. I highly recommend you read the manuscript. Also, speaking of young and inexperienced people. The event was directed this year by Harry Lee and Katie Williams, who have never directed an event before. They did an incredible job. Freeplay was incredible, is what I am saying.

Andrew Brophy and Chad Toprack also did a great job with the Hovergarden party (pictured). On par with the Wild Rumpus and Kill Screen parties I've attended at GDC.

I've been trying to think of a US equivalent to try to explain to people why Freeplay is special. I think it would be No Show Conference, from what I have heard of that event. An event for hobbyists and people interested in the culture of games not necessarily connected to The Industry of games. I love it. Mary Hamilton's writeup for The Guardian gives a pretty good gist of things.

At Freeplay, I spoke with Leena van Deventer on a panel called "Travel Diaries". I spoke about Towards Dawn and Leena wrote about her Sim, Interrupted project. I recorded the talk and you can download the audio I recorded here. I didn't start recording until halfway through Leena's introduction, accidentally, so allow me to say that she is rad and does rad stuff and maybe check out Widget, her Women in Development project.

After Freeplay I had an Academic Conference at RMIT, the IE Conference. I presented a paper on Towards Dawn and permanent death. I've uploaded it to my Academia.edu page if you want to read it. The paper I presented at DiGRA on Spec Ops: The Line is there as well, if you were after that.

And, finally, I have two articles in the newest issue of Five Out Of Ten that just got released. I write about writing about 868-Hack and embodiment in games. This is the fifth issue of Five Out Of Ten. It's exciting to see an independent project for games writing be so successful!

Aaaaaand that is about everything for now.