I went to GameCamp unconference for the first time on Saturday, puttering along to Elephant and Castle with a bunch of friends from the Brighton (MPC) games crowd and finding other familiar faces there.
To lift from the GameCamp website:
GameCamp is an annual one-day celebration and discussion of all aspects of gaming, held in central London. It’s an opportunity to meet, discuss, play and experience the latest and coolest in the contemporary games scene, from AAAs and indies to retro, tabletop, LARP, folk games, art-games and stuff that defies description. It’s an ‘unconference’, with no keynote speakers and only a few pre-arranged events. Anyone who wants to speak, or demo, or discuss can just turn up and use the Big Board to create a session – and people do, and they’re great.
Short story: it was pretty great.
The haphazard schedule board (made of masking tape and index cards) was populated with sessions over the course of the day; I went to sessions (which were generally more discussion than lecture) on interactive fiction game jams, game design books, genre, mental health in games, conversations for design, and authorial control. I played Camel Up. I jumped round in a circle with my eyes shut whilst shouting “Cat! Cat! Cat!”
A couple of particularly interesting things came out of Gary‘s session on gamejams for interactive fiction, including:
- The idea of producing text-based interactive fictions of video games as a means to explore and document the narratives. This could have potential as a preservation mechanism that would outlast hardware/software obsolescence and might be useful for memory institutions.
- The concept of a two-part gamejam. Part one is for writers, who produce short stories and interactive works on a theme. Part two is for developers, artists, etc., who are challenged to create games around the works. This could be an unusual opportunity for developing narrative-led games.
I was pleased to meet so many new people (a special mention to Dr Mike Reddy, John Salisbury, and Martha Henson) and really enjoyed discussing a host of different and stimulating topics on the subject of games and game design.
Thanks to the GameCamp organisers and participants, who stepped up to lead an unusual and inspiring variety of sessions. I’m already looking forward to next year.