I’m extremely embarrassed that I haven’t been blogging for such a long time! I have so much to tell. I haven’t even mentioned Insert Coin here yet – which is an insult to my communications profession. Can we just say that I’ve been very busy and I’ve been having a hell of a lot of fun!
So remember how I was writing about a game event in Bergen in October? Well we frakin pulled it off!
We collaborated with several others in getting this done so the program tended to confuse people, and at certain times even ourselves. So it was a difficult concept to communicate which will be much better next year when we’ll be more independent.
Thursday 18th of October
During the day JoinGame had a workshop which focused on computer games’ impact from both the positive and negative perspective. You can see their program here: http://www.konsoll.org/en/program.php
Unfortunately I really can’t say too much about this. I was mostly behind the scenes talking to our hosts, Bryggen Museum, talking to journalists
and doing lots of other logistic work. If I was at all in the auditorium, I was most probably writing e-mails. I feel incredibly guilty about this because people were very enthused by the topics and were eager to discuss afterwards.
Lunch was where I work, at The Hub, which could’ve been organised a bit better – and that’s totally my fault. We managed to create our own long line of hungry computer game developers outside while waiting in line to be fed.
So sorry guys – but don’t I work at a nice place?!
The Konsoll party was a complete joint venture between JoinGame, Spillmakerlauget and Bergen International Film Festival (BIFF)– and it rocked (can I say that without sounding like a pathetic teenager?)!
Game Master for the evening was Jørgen Engen Napstad from Henchman & Goon and I cannot praise him enough for his work and effort. He had complete control and managed to be a pleasant host without any hint of stress. We would never have pulled this off without him!
So the evening started with a screening of the wonderful documentary Indie Game: The Movie at a wonderful new place called Østre. Also, because this year is JoinGame’s fifth aniversary they made sure we were fed with lots of great tapas! After the screening the chairs were packed up and computers and laptops were opened to reveal games created by local developers. It was so much fun seeing people interact with these games and I loved the fact that most were pleasantly suprised by the quality of the games. I certainly had a lot of fun and I hope everyone else did as well!
Companies showing off their stuff were: Vostopia, Henchman & Goon, Turbo Tape Games, Rain, D-pad Studios and Nils Norman Haukås.
Here’s a little edited video from the talented media people working at BIFF: BIFF at Indie Game: The Movie
Friday 19th of October
This day was supposed to be a day for computer game developers in Norway to be inspired and learn. Judging from everyone’s faces our mission
was indeed accomplished. We had about 115 visitors and everyone was buzzing with enthusiasm which I interpret as a huge complement to me and Superman Stefan Alexander Svellingen as we built the program for the day. Of course – having totally elite presenters might have something to do with it also- ;)
So our day started with just regular social mingling and coffee drinking and getting to know each other. I may have had a minor meltdown when my super smart electronic sign in crashed and I realised that I had nobody there to help me – but lets all forget about that, shall we? Because the main event is the wonderfulness of the whole thing.
Our Game Master for the day was the fabulous Bjarne Rene the master mind of Vostopia and also a board memeber of The Game Developers Guild in Norway. He did a wonderful job introducing all the speakers and keeping everyone within their time frame, although sometimes I sensed that he wanted the speaker to continue even though time was up.
I’m hoping that we’ll have audio from the talks up and running very soon – please be patient with us. ;) I’ll post the links here as soon as they’re up and running.
James Portnow was absolutely amazing! What an incredible man! What he knows about the game industry and what he can tell you within an hour is truly amazing. I really felt like he was giving us a heart to heart about where the independent games industry is at and where it will go. Unfortunately I had a few loose ends to tie, so I missed some of the talk – so I’m desperately waiting for the audio recording. He was a truly amazing and inspirational man to meet – but we already knew that as huge fans of Extra Credits. Thanks again to Superman Svellingen who convinced James to come all the way to Norway for Konsoll!
Silje Hommedal had the daunting task of following such a star attraction and she did so with flying colours. Silje is currently writing her PhD thesis on the difference between young male and female gamers at Digital Culture, University of Bergen. She gave us an insight into her research and shared with us some fascinating conversations that she had had with her subjects. I’m very glad that she agreed to come talk to us because everyone found her research interesting and I’m glad we had one talk dedicated to players.
Lunch – which I unfortunately couldn’t attend because I needed the time to rig up,
0ur Dragons Den.
I was very pleased with and proud of our panel which was, Alex Trowers from Boss Alien Ltd, Bjørn Alsterberg from BTO, James Portnow from Rainmaker Games and Tor Ole Rognaldsen from Fuzz. These four would be judging and giving feedback to 3 very brave game developers pitching their game ideas. These three were:
Thomas Viktil from Mandarin
Ricki Sickenger from BadgerPunch Games
Abel Bordonado Lillo from More Than Gamers
I was very nervous about this, but with such an incredibly talented panel I should’ve known that it would be excellent, because it really was. The dragons were fierce as hell but were also very educational in their feedback. Abel got the most money from the panel and won an espresso machine from Kaffehuset Friele. I hope everyone else in the room found
it as interesting and educational as myself. I’ve started a “lessons learned” to improve for the next time around, though (its a long list).
Special thanks to Ricki who stepped up when I asked. We’re definitely looking forward to playing Gravity Run! He’s also written an excellent review of the experience on his own blog here.
Next up was
Luke Dicken who came to Bergen to speak to us about artificial intelligence in games. I met Luke at Edinburgh Interactive in August and I found him such a pleasure to talk to. And artificial intelligence in games seemed like such an interesting topic so when he accepted, this made me very happy! And it was such a joy to hear him talk about the importance of good artificial intelligence design in games. Yet again, the room was buzzing with enthusiasm and laughter.
Alex Trowers flew across “the pond” to talk to us about the future of game design. Yet another wonderful and inspiring speaker. He spoke very directly to the audience and had a lot of mentoring wisdom to share. If he isn’t already, he really should consider teaching on the side. But it gleams through, even to me, what a great game designer he is. It was an honour to have him here and I hope that we get to see a lot more of him in the future.
Beer and programing concluded the day with the most adorable presentation. Geeks out to make the world a better place with some programing and beer. I’ve been wanting to go for several weeks now, but can’t seem to get myself there. One day, I promise! Either way, I applaud their initiative and love that there are programers out there drinking beer and making the world better! ;)
And then I mumbled a series of thank you’s and ended the wonderful day!
Sunday 21st of October
Yes! You’re right we had a day of rest inbetween – although some enjoyed rest more than others. I completely lost my cool while rigging up the next event and I hate myself for it. Seriously, why haven’t they invented chill pills for festival organisers?
Anyhow! Next event was at The Bergen Science Center. When we first started out organising Konsoll we were all in agreement that we also needed to promote the games industry to the general public. So we hatched out a plan to be available for the public at the science center. We had the same games as were at The Party rigged up and in addition Amazing Peter Wingaard Meldahl and some wonderful Noroff students designed a fascinating game called Regelrett. The game was all about creating your own rules and it was a smash hit.
I was so extremely pleased with the activity at The Science Center and it felt so incredibly right for us to be there. We reached an audience that wouldn’t normally have seeked out game activities, which I think was exactly what we were looking for. I found it absolutely heart warming to see both parents and their kids enjoying these games. Most were surprised that there is a computer game developing community in Bergen and it was awesome when they became impressed by the quality of the games.
I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to the festival. A special thanks to the Noroff students who were absolutely fantastic: Kent, Kenneth and Endre. Thank you so much for your work.
And of course Torbjørn Aralt who made sure that things went smoothly.
Thanks also to Robin Garen Aaberg who took amazing pictures and made sure that we were on NRK Hordaland (radio – though we were live without recording), Level Up! , Direkte TV, Hardcore, BA and Linn og Spillmakerlaug BT! And also for having the insight to record the sessions!
A huge huge HUGE thank you to Superman Svellingen without whom none of this would have happened. He has amazing leadership qualities and a wonderful personality that just makes everything so much easier to handle! And he fixes things! AND he kept me on my toes through the whole process – to the point of being annoyingly naggy – but I SO needed it!
And of course our wonderful sponsors BTO, Fuzz, MediArena, Produsentforeningen, Bergen Kommune, Bergen University College and The Norwegian Computer Society. You have spent your money wisely – I promise!
I have several more reflections to share – but they’re more of a personal nature, like what I learned about my leadership skills and also what it’s like begging for money for such events. But I think I’ve shared enough for now.
Look out for more pictures on Konsoll.org – we should have them up soon as well as the audio files.
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