Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NLGD 2008

Wow. A great conference.

I think I got more out of this one than I did from the Lyon Game Connection last year, even though the Lyon show had more high profile names and sesssions. The difference is probably that as a presenter, I was able to talk much more easily to other presenters while still being open and accessible to the visitors.

The sessions that I saw were excellent and I'm sad that I missed so many others:
Ralph Baer, who invented the first Pong game and the Magnavox Odyssey machine, spoke about his experiences in creating the first video game.
Margaret Robinson did a great keynote on where games have come in the last 40 years and what we may look ahead to. I most heartily agreed with her opinions on comparing games and films (it's meaningless; see previous blog entries) and on what we should be doing in the industry for the 40 years to come.
Tom Armitage, a very smart guy who seems to know a bit about everything, spoke about social networks and on-line social communities and what the game industry should be thinking about. I was impressed by his examples and by the range of ways in which social networks are invading our free time (in both overt / gaming and subtle / everyday activities).
Chaim Gingold, the genius behind the Spore creature generator, gave an excellent presentation of the whole aspect of play in games (he's one of those from the games-as-toys side of the business), as well as the way in which projects evolve to ensure that the sphere of what the player wants to do is made as congruent as possible with what the player should do in the entire space of what the player can do.

I gave a presentation on game writing, which was enormous fun to do and seemed to get some decent feedback. I'll try to post it eventually for those who may be curious.

Many thanks to the organizers, who did a great job, to the city of Utrecht, which was very pleasant, and to Marjoleine Timmer, who handled all the details.