I’m buried in putting Freeplay together and haven’t really found time to blog, which is a shame because this year has been fascinating for games locally and there’s lots to be said. Luckily, other people have said interesting things which means I can just link to them 🙂
Yesterday, Freeplay 2012 was announced, and along with it, the news that it will be my last festival. The decision to leave and the launch has got me thinking about the roles of festivals as they relate to other creative realms, to me personally, and how Freeplay fits into both of those things as well as the surrounding game creation & playing culture and community.
Rambling thoughts follow…
This is the presentation I gave to the government round table at GCAP. Present there were representatives from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, The Office for the Arts, State Government, and others. During the discussion, PricewaterhouseCooper presented details from their Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, the IGEA talked about their recent Digital Australia report looking at changing audience information, and I was asked to talk about games and culture.
Unlike last year’s talk where I tried to give a reframing argument of how to think and talk about games and culture, I – quite last minute – decided to look at the part of creative industries that haven’t had as much exposure in recent discussions about games and government support or interest – that of the essential maker communities.
At the very real risk of overexposure, I’ll be speaking about my usual mix of games, writing, and Freeplay related stuff at:
The ATOM Screen Futures conference on Sunday 10th July, 12:00 – 1:00
Teaching games and games literacy
While videogames sit firmly in the limelight, there is a whole world of games out there that are more accessible, more easily read, and which teach tangible skills that can feed into digital games and interactive development.
Drawing from a recent Department of Education and Early Chidhood Development research project into teaching games and games literacy, this session will look at games and design from physical and pervasive games, board games, improvisation, experimentation, and design exercises with the aim of separating out the creative skills from the technical and providing a base to support greater games literacy in the classroom – whether or not the final outcome is a digital game or something else.
Monash University’s Computer Games Boot Camp on Thursday July 14th talking about writing for games and indie development.
The next TEDxMelbourne event on the evening of Tuesday July 19th talking about Gaming and Innovation.
Flurry of activity before I disappear into a Freeplay wrangling flurry.
I’ll be running a session at the Emerging Writers’ Festival as part of their Business of Being a Writer Masterclass on Process and Organisation. This event has sold out (hurrah), but there are still tickets available for their myriad other events.
Early June, I’ll be up in Brisbane to talk at the IGDA / Creative Industry Precinct’sprogram. There isn’t much detail on the site, but this is what I’ll be talking about:
The words we use to describe the space we work in – development, industry, culture, community – all describe structures built, either deliberately or as a byproduct of other processes, by people. In the face of a shifting industrial landscape, how can we build new structures that might better reflect how we’d like to live and work, what would the values of such a community look like, and what does it mean to connect with a wider creative, critical, and artistic culture? This year’s Freeplay will explore these ideas – along with many others – but before it does, co-director Paul Callaghan will talk about some of the history and philosophy behind Freeplay, what to expect from this year’s event, and what to think about into 2012 and beyond.
After that, I’m going to be at the Continuum Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention talking games and storytelling. Look out for the launch of their full program here.
And lastly, I’ll be running a workshop with ExpressMedia on as part of their Big Splash series.
One of the things I noticed post Freeplay is the uniquely personal experience of conferences and festivals. Every one who attends the traces a unique path through the content, and as such it’s difficult to plan before the event what the ideal experience is and post the event figure out whether it hit those. The best you can do is to hope there’s enough interesting content that everyone finds something in their path that connects with them.
This year’s GCAP did that for me.
And disclaimer: as part of the board, I helped program it, but compared to something like Freeplay, my involvement was minimal.
This post is a little old now. I wrote it immediately before Freeplay and then let it sit there while I wondered what to do with it. I’m reposting it because it helps to frame my thoughts on GCAP, which I’ll get up in the next few days.
Freeplay 2010 was built around the theme of ‘Play is Everywhere’ and we approached it as a way of looking at the fundamentals of the creative process. As a result I ended up thinking a huge amount about the design of things – including a festival (and in light of GCAP, a conference too). Some of this is a little out of date where I’ve explored it in more detail since, but what the hell? It’s free content, right?
This is one of two posts I wrote for Invest Victoria’s gaming blog, reposted here because I think it gives some context to both the ‘social misfits’ post and also to my ongoing question of games & culture.
The gaming community is obsessed with numbers. According to the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, the average age of a gamer in Australia is 30 years old; 68 percent of all Australians play video and computer games; the average adult gamer has been playing for 11 years; and 80 percent of parents in game households play games with their children.
But what do those numbers actually mean?
Rock Star is just used as short hand for fearless. It’s worth remembering that there’s all manner of Rock Star archetypes to follow. There’s Rockstars known for their piercing, caustic intelligence and puritanical rage as much as those who are just a byword for narcissistic excess. Some already do it – I had the rare pleasure of interviewing an independent developer who argued that the conservative critics were right: games /were/ murder simulations. However, since we live in a world where such power is centralized in Authority who regularly use it oppressively, it’s important that we’re able to train ourselves to resist them if required. Essentially, the videogame reinvented as a part of the revolutionaries toolkit alongside the trusty AK-47.
You can read the whole transcript of his talk here.