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Archives for : Conferences

AdventureX 2016 – a total success!

The games event that I organise – AdventureX, had a big relaunch this year and was a massive success!

We maxed out capacity (230ish) at midday on the Saturday and had only 5 spaces left on the Sunday! With about 25 exhibitors over the 2 days and an amazing lineup of speakers and panellists from a range of narrative game genres, it was a great success and endorsement of our decision to rebrand with a broader vision than we’ve had in the past.

Thanks so much to all of you who came – it was a pleasure to put on for you and we look forward to AdventureX2017 already! Dont’ forget to join the email list if you want to find out about it in advance!

You can find out some more details about how it went on the blog, or here on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Look forward to seeing you all again next year!

AdventureX 2015

AdventureX 2015

A couple of weeks ago saw the return of AdventureX – as far as we know the world’s ONLY gaming conference devoted to games – return to London. Due to problems securing the venue we used last year (LSBU) I decided to step in and arrange for it to be at Goldsmiths. I’ve usually helped run things on the day (with a gap in my service last year due to the arrival of my daughter), but this year my involvement massively increased!

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Reception was overwhelmingly positive and things seemed to work very well. We had 18 exhibitors over the course of the weekend! Pretty sure that’s the most we’ve ever had and it just goes to show the commitment and dedication of fans of this genre, not to mention the hard work put in by Mark, Becky Berian and myself over the past 5 years.

Attendance was good – about 120ish individuals over the weekend, and certainly much better than you’d expect for a small event about a very niche genre that was announced at the last minute with almost no promotion at all (yes, we need to sort that out next year. What can I say? Not my ‘department’!). Hopefully next year we can up the promotion a little bit. My mind is already buzzing with the number of small changes we can make next year to help improve the experience for delegates and ourselves – the organisers!

A big change this year from previous years was collapsing down to just one track – which hasn’t happened since the 1st year when it took place in one room in Didcot! In previous years we found that the multiple tracks diluted out our delegates too much so that there may only be a couple of people in some of the talks. Besides, if there are multiple tracks, you’re always going to feel like you’re missing out on something – this way, you don’t! There seemed to be universally positive feedback about this so it may be something we stick with for the time being until we really feel that there are enough people to open up a second track.

If you want to catch some of the best coverage of the show, then the guys over at Adventure Treff are your best best. Every year those guys come and every year they do two podcasts, several interviews and film half of the conference! Thanks guys!

DiGRA 2015 Conference

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of presenting a paper at DiGRA’s annual conference in Luneburg, Germany. You can see that one here on researchgate or academia.edu.

I’ve been to many industry conferences over the past couple of years, but this was my first academic one. Luneburg happens to be a beautiful corner of Germany, if you’re ever thinking of somewhere to go.

Things that were different were no marketing BS or people stealthily pushing their product in the name of something else. At this conference at least people are upfront about pushing their initiatives or ideas – perhaps best exemplified by the ‘abstracts’ strand of talks, where people with semi-formed ideas not quite yet ready for a paper open them up to critique and discussion, which is refreshingly honest. True, some of them are better formed than others, but that’s admitted upfront. I’m not sure if this is usual for academic conferences, but it seems nice if it were the case that this exists elsewhere.

Things that were the same were beer, interesting conversations and meeting a wide variety of people with similar passions to you, which is always nice! It was a lovely atmosphere and you could feel all the ideas and thinking swirling in the air, especially after a few local lagers…

There were only a few things that I would liked to have been different.

  • It was a fairly small conference (about 250 people I guess?), although I was reliably informed that this is actually quite big for a Games Studies conference (not surprising really). Yet despite this there were 6 talks on at a time, meaning that you would end up with only 5-15 people on average in each one. Whilst I can see that DiGRA would like to give exposure to a wide variety of ideas, I felt that this was too much going on at one time (especially considering that many of the rooms were a big distance from each other). It meant that I missed a good number of papers I was interested in because there would be 3 per session, meaning on average there were 18 an hour being delivered! Again, great amount of content (and later reading), but I would have preferred a little more focus and thematic grouping to the papers. I had to miss several I was interested in because I was delivering my own presentation!

  • In a weird sense I felt as though being quite ‘grounded’, for lack of a better term at the moment, seemed to be frowned upon. It was almost as though I wasn’t using enough fancy words to be there (I usually try to avoid highly specialist terms when making a presentation because you can never assume that other people have a clue what they mean – neither should you.)

  • There is a very heavy humanities basis, which is understandable – it seems to me that the majority of people in Games Studies as it stands at the moment have moved across from disciplines such as film studies, literature or sociology. I would like to see some more design/HCI oriented thinking present. If DiGRA is to continue being a good focal point for what’s happening in Games Studies (and I think it should and does a good job at this in the main) then it might need to work a little harder on encouraging a broader range of disciplines to participate. Note, I said a broader range of disciplines, rather than more material – so I’m not contradicting my earlier point!

  • Few talks had ramifications on new production. Whilst new understanding of what’s already here is important (we really don’t understand much about games at all!), I would have like to see some more talks that really interrogate the core forms and structures of some games in a way that would affect new production. One paper I saw presented that I really enjoyed in this vein though was by Geof Kaufman from Tilt Factor on making games to change attitudes and prejudices.

So, next time, DiGRA is going to be co-located with the Foundations of Digital Games conference in Scotland. It’ll be interesting to see what backgrounds and disciplines are represented there. In the meantime, I’ve got CHI Play to look forward to, which I would imagine would be very different indeed!