Re-mission 2

I recently had the privilege of giving a presentation on what games are, how they’ve IMG_0765grown to a serious medium and the potential of what games can bring to different forms of communication to a group of proffessionals in the health industry. The wonderful Ricki Sickenger from Sonat Consulting followed me to talk about the process of gamification. My main focus through the presentation was on gaming systems. True – the graphics within the industry have become “almost real” and truly beautiful but so has the system/game design. And I wanted to emphasize on this to point out that game developers should be involved early on in development processes and not brought in in the end with a simple note of “gamify this within 2 weeks”. At least I think I did – but this may also be the conclusion from the wonderful conversation we had after.

It gave me an opportunity to dip into some health games and I’m absolutely smitten with Re-mission 2 by HopeLab! I love this project! They put game developers together with kids who are going through cancer treatments to make games that are absolutely joyful and so much fun. The games helped kids visualize what their bodies are going through and understand what all the painful treatments were fighting. I love this idea! First of all just using kids that are already going through this to help create games must be such a great program in itself. Second of all – the games are gleefully great! They made me giggle.

I wanna do something like this in Norway! Who’s with me and where do we start?

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Huldraheimen

So Huldraheimen is my version of 826 Valencia and Ministry of Stories. I’ve been talking about this for over a year and the name of the project is credited to a dear friend from our work together with The World Peace Game Bergen. I’ve been smitten by the 826 Valencia project ever since I saw Dave Egger’s inspiring TED talk:

Dave Eggers TED talk

Isn’t he inspiring? How can we NOT help him fulfill his dream? So basically Dave Eggers and Ninive Clements Calegaristarted a tutor and writing lab with a street-front student-friendly pirate supply store in San Fransisco for lokal kids in the community, called 826 Valencia. It’s caught on in several cities around the world with different themes such as The Echo Park Travel Mart in LA, Brooklyn Superhero Supplies Co. and Monster Supplies in London.  So when Ministry of Stories was at The Story in 2010 selling Monster Supplies – I was even more smitten. But some ideas and dreams take a long time to take shape – and this one has for me. I’m still very uncertain why it’s so important to me to create such creative spaces for kids. I’m fairly certain that it is personal – so let’s not go there. One thing is for certain, though! I LOVE hearing children tell stories! Their imaginations are just so awesome, pure and uninhibited! There’s something so magical about these places and it’s lured me to start my own.

Huldraheimen logo by the fabulous Tini Malitius http://tinimalitius.com/

The theme I’ve chosen is Trolls. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback that trolls are too old fashioned and boring for kids, but I think so! I believe that through some fun writing workshops we’ll manage to spice up the Troll stories from ancient. I’m also extremely keen on not only focusing on traditional writing. Can we not, for example, have a workshop that is all about developing an app for a Troll? What kind of app would be useful for a Troll? And why not even consider creating a game that a Troll would enjoy? There are so many fun levels that we can experiment with!

Again – I only have the project proposal in Norwegian so far – I’ll get around to translating it soon, I’m sure: Prosjektbeskrivelse Huldraheimen 31_05

So I’m begging for money and also talking to as many educators as I can possibly find! If this is a project that you would like to help with please let me know! I’ve got the interest of the people building The House of Litterature in Bergen and I would so love to have something up and running there when they open in December!

There’s so much more to tell and I’ll be starting a new blog about this project soon so stay tuned! ;)

Linn – an agent for game developers?

This is the one that I am most unclear about, but it’s so closely related to part 1 of my next adventures – so I’ll let you into my foggy thoughts on the subject.

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From Walter and Marianne’s wonderful house!

I want to establish myself as some form of agent for game developers. I want to help them find the best publishing and distribution platforms for their games and I want to help them with professional PR and advertisement.

I’m very strongly influenced by Bandello and UKIE, and I hope to learn more from them.

I think game publishing and distribution is coming into a very good era, but I also think that it’s a growing into a challenging landscape to coordinate in. I want to be the woman who guides these game designers on to the paths that are right for them.

I have a lot to learn and the last couple of months have been good research for me. I’ve been using the gaming event that I’m organising with Spillmakerlauget as a base for this research, which is also why I gush so when I write about them, for they’ve been very open and welcoming. It’s been a great way for me to learn more about the game development community in Norway and what their needs are. Where’s the gap and can I fill it? I most definitely can (when did I become so arrogant?) and I see there’s a lot of potential for me to start a good business. There are some pretty amazing games in production and I sincerely want them to do well.

I’ve been wanting to get into the computer game industry for a while now, I just didn’t know how. But I truly believe that this is something I could do well.

So this is where I’m at right now:

  • I’m setting up meetings and introductions
  • I’m writing a business plan
  • I’m trying to think of a good name – but struggling. Suggestions are very welcome!
  • And I’m reading wonderful blogs such as Games Brief to get a grip on the industry
  • I’m making my own map of what publishing and distribution looks like today in the computer game industry
  • Strongly considering bankrupting myself by going to GDC Europe to start establishing the relationships I need. Are you going?

I’m sure that this will be a forum where I brainstorm more openly about how to do this. Cause I’ll be honest with you – I’m kinda scared about this whole “found my vocation in life” thing. I have days of feeling very alone and vulnerable. But then I have a meeting or a phone call with a non-believer of the industry and I find myself doing well and sounding pretty convincing (yes – I surprise myself!).  I soooo hope that it is not an illusion and that I can make this work.

Game event in October with The Game Developers Guild

It dawned on me that I haven’t written about what I’m up to on my own blog! So in no particular order – let me list them up for you

1) Spillmakerlauget

Not “the” official picture but I love that they’re all cracking up! From the back left: Peter Wingaard Medahl, Ricki Sickenger, Espen Thomassen Sæverud. Infront from left Bjarte Sebastian Hansen and Stefan Svellingen.

I think the jury is still out on the direct translation of the wonderful name – either it’s Game Developer’s Guild or Game Maker’s Guild. Either one is pretty wonderful in my book. Basically they are a bunch of hard working game developers in Bergen, having a few beers and having a vision about making game development more accessible and open in Norway. The result has been a wonderful space where game developers can learn from each other, exchange ideas, exchange resources and of course – dreams. Their morals and goals are pure and sincere – and needless to say – I adore them!

The event – Console

I was introduced to the guild in february and when I learned that Indie Game: The Movie was being considered for The International Film Festival in Bergen (BIFF) I felt that I had to make my move. We HAD to make a gaming event worthy of the documentary and game developers in Norway. I got in touch with someone that I knew was on the board at the guild and he agreed to let me speak at their next board meeting. I remember being rather nervous. I have a lot of respect and admiration for game designers and I desperately wanted them to like me.  I got to make my case to the board of the six wise game developing men and I let my passion and enthusiasm have free flow – which is always a scary thing – but I just couldn’t help myself. I honestly had trouble catching my breathe at times. Thankfuly – they were in agreement! We should create an event in unison with BIFF and do something fun! I was also happy to hear that they were interested in making the games industry more available to the public. So we decided to make the event two-fold. One part for game developers and the other part for the public that may not know games as well as we do.

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Naval War: Arctic Circle

I’ve been looking forward to this game being released for a long time. And I therefore have to give a little personal rant before talking about the game:

I’m a huge fan of Turbo Tape Games. They’ve done so much excellent work in bringing the computer games industry into the spotlight in Norway and doing an excellent job in preaching the value of the industry. These guys have opened so many doors and broken down so many barriers for the future of game development in Norway – I hope that we can do it justice. I remember meeting Fredrik Sundt Breien (Managing Director) at a First Tuesday event about games (OMG! 7 years ago!). He has the charisma and enthusiasm to charm any audience into believing that games are worth investing in – which he’s done! And continues to do so as he’s speaking at (Bergen’s new innovators and The Nordic Media Festival). In many ways I guess I’m kinda jealous, cause I’d like to do the exact same thing some day.

I met the technical director, Jan Haugland, at the Industrial Gaming conference, which was also one of my first presentations of Machinima hungover – thankfully come a long way since then! We had an indept conversation about game mechanics and the genious of Tetris, the details elude me, but I remember the happy feeling of meeting a good friend that day.

As for the rest of the gang – we still haven’t reached the threshold where hugs are a natural greeting. 

So when Turbo Tape Games was established, it was only natural for me to invite myself and the cHixOrs (pre Spillpikene) to visit the headquarters at Pixel Park. My what a long way they’ve come! I remember spending a good hour in their cramped office and still having absolutely no clue what Naval War was about. All I saw was a lot of code I did not understand and a lot of indication that this game was going to be just a tad too complicated for my taste.

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But as you may have understood from the long personal rant and reminiscing – I adore them and on launch day of Naval War: Arctic Circle – I wanted to stop by and wish them good luck. I incidently had a meeting next door and thought I’d stop by with the gift of coffee and wish them good luck. They were surprisingly calm and relaxed and I felt like such a fan girl being so enthused and excited for them.

And then … I was allowed to try the game and I was scared.

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To be or not to be a girl geek

A little personal reflection …Image

If your reading list is like mine, you may have noticed the controversial (or tedious) blogpost in Forbes about Fake Girl Geeks. I initially hadn’t thought to comment it, but alas – I can’t seem to help myself. I remember our first Girl Geek Dinners Bergen meeting and when we started discussing who was allowed to come to our events and who was not, the brilliant Hilde Corneliussen just simply said “Why should we have to exclude anyone?”. And so began our policy that anyone who wanted to come to our events was welcome.

I sometimes felt torn about this decision. I relished every moment I had with these great women. It was so fun to talk about so-called geeky subjects at the same time as I could giggle foolishly without seeming insincere. But there was just no way that I would turn anyone away that was interested in coming. The word “girl” has also been an issue that’s been discussed on the subject of girl geeks. Some have felt that in order to be taken seriously we should call ourselves “women” (which we are). But for me, I loved the relaxed atmosphere and the unseriousness of the word “girl”. I desperately needed a venue to chill and talk about geek issues and could never think of these events as business networking opportunities. If we used the word “women” I feared that the atmosphere would become too serious and businesslike. But this is for the next generation og girl geek leaders to decide – I’ve stepped aside.

My geekdom

Another hinder we kept coming across were girls and women who wanted to join our dinners but feared that they weren’t geeky enough or that we weren’t geeky enough. I was constantly asked to define exactly what a geek is and this is the line I usually came up with:

“A geek is anyone who’s extremely fascinated about something and wants to share it with us. The subject can be anything from a favourite knitting pattern to a space shuttle design.”

I’ve always felt very pleased with that, although I never seemed to gather large swarms of crowds – but it felt right to me.

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Reaching the halfway point

If you follow this blog by RSS, I may have annoyed you this last week. First let me say a huge thank you for still following me! The reason that my blogg has been Picture of "geek for life" sign on burning candleclogging your feeds is because I’m actually doing a little (!) spring clean. Years ago I transferred this blog from blogspot to WordPress and in the process lost all my tags and categories so my older posts are hard to find. At the time I didn’t think it mattered but my frustration has slowly built up with time and now that I find myself at a crossroad – desperate to impress cool people – I want to make my enthusiasm and interests more accessible.

It’s almost been fun! I’ve forgotten almost everything that I wrote so sometimes I get a little burst of pride saying “Oooh! Was I already writing about this stuff in 2006? How cool am I?!”. Other times I just cringe and may just “forget” to tag and categorise the post (still available, though).

March 2006 is coming up and I’m dead tired of all this tidying up! And I feel rather disheartened that I had been blogging for one solid year in March 2006 and that first year consists of half of all the pages I have on this blog! But I’ll get there in the end and by golly people will be impressed! And I’m certain that the offers will come rolling in after that! I’m freelance now and I desperately want to FINALLY get into the games industry!

 

World Peace Game Bergen Part 1

I have so incredibly much to share from the week of playing The World Peace Game that I’m thinking it may just have to come in installments. I think I will try to break it down to three parts.

Part 1: My overall impression of what The World Peace Game is
Part 2: The beautiful people that I got to play with and how their unique minds and hearts contributed to a mind blowing experience.
Part 3: My thoughts on how the game can exist without it’s founding father.

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World Peace Game Bergen starts today

Super excited! Got to meet John Hunter yesterday and I was instantly smitten and very starstruck.

Setting up the board in Bergen

My partners in crime are generously letting me play which I’m super excited about it. I’ll be working during the day and playing afternoon/night – so any spare time I can get will be focused on rest. I won’t be blogging through the game as I suspect that my focus will be occupied. I’ll write a good debrief here after, though.

I will, however, be posting updates and pictures here:

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Peace-Game-Bergen/226364467399587?ref=ts

Twitter : https://twitter.com/#!/verdensspillet