This week we all went to the GamesDev Wales meet up. The event is a slightly more structured version of their there monthly social with two speakers coming to talk about their experiences. I think what was slightly disappointing was the introduction of the event. For us we have developed a games festival for the last three years that has pulled in over 100 people every year. The event is playARK and has had talks, street games, board games and digital games yet when discussing the games industry within Wales the event hosts only referred to a few events that BAFTA and gameslab Wales had hosted. No mention of playARK which I think on a few levels is disappointing due to the significance of that type of event for game makers (a point I hope to discuss more of later in the article)
Anyway back to the event the first speakers were game makers Paw Print Games who over the last four or so years have released a number of games for the iphone app store. Games include kami retro and wacky rapids. The talk was a really lovely insight into becoming your own boss. Something that being a new company ourselves I think really helped to consolidate what we were doing this for. Setting up a company is not an easy thing. There are so many things you have to consider and these are not just about money. There is the time you have to put in to make it a success. There are the sacrifices that need to be made and there is the idea of investment. There is also perversely on the other side, that if you do end up employing people that you are more than likely to earn less than them!!! I enjoyed the insight into their thinking of how they have developed as a company. How in some respects they have had to change the way they create games to accommodate for the new app store format.
Second up was Alexis from story nexus. I have heard Alexis talk before however last time it was slightly more technical. This talk revolving around the long running argument of story and game and whether there is space for stories in games. With the work we are involved in there are some really interesting issues that we grapple with on quite alot of our projects. We strongly believe that story has a strong place within the games we create and it was interesting how Alexis was arguing the same when it came to online story platforms such as his storynexus.
All in all I think the event was a good start to hopefully something that continues and grows. The games industry indeed has a lot credence at the moment. I can’t remember how many times I have heard about the amount of money the industry is making. But I get the feeling that the industry unfortunately is still in a ‘screen industry’, and at the moment I feel that is currently GamesDev Wales’ emphasise. The console, tablet type games are all fantastically high grossing markets but I keep on asking myself is that really it? Do we really have to use a controller to simulate movement or play?
Recently we were at this years playful conference and Mark Sorrell of Hide & Seek spoke about computer mediated games. Games such as J S Joust. These are games that use computers, consoles etc to mediate a game. The difference with these games are the lack or an obvious screen. There are graphics of course but these are generally projected or actual real live objects that are interacted with. I kind of feel that this is the disruptive monster walking over from another valley. These are the games I want to play. I don’t want to play homage to a screen I want to interact with my friends face to face and in a sense I want to get back to being around a campfire. Looking into people’s eyes and seeing their souls.
I will try and write some more on this as I think about it. But in short I hope that some of the future GamesDev Wales events will look at these different types of gaming styles and theories. Because for me you develop industries very rarely from the core of that industry. It comes from outside or on the edges – that’s where true innovation happens. It also comes from art which feels like it could also be represented further.
Finally to contextualise it further. Would you have ever thought a conveyer belt would work in a restaurant?