#Konsoll13

I’m so extremely proud that we’ve successfully managed to put together a game conference in Bergen again this year!

#konsoll13 will be in Bergen 3rd and 4th of October this year! For the observant readers you’ll recognise that this coincides with The Philosophy of Computer Games conference. Same city, same time and a wonderful opportunity for game academics and developers to co-exist in the same space.

This year I’ve received some wonderful help. Yngvill Hopen and John Edward Armstrong have put together a wonderful program with guests such as Ken Wong, Emmy Jonassen, Ernest Adams, Ole Andreas Jordet, Ragnar Tørnquist, Jory Prum, Dag Scheve, Nils Anderssen and our dear friends Alex Trowers and Luke Dicken. We’ll be having talks and workshops simultaneously.

Yngvill will also be this year’s Game Master. We had a great chat this weekend and I guarantee that you will enjoy!

We’ll be in an amazing house called “The Literary House”, which I love! It’s a beautiful place for cultural happenings in Bergen and I’m pleased to offer game developers something so aesthetically pleasing and warm as the back drop for celebrating their craft!

We’re also having a Dragon Den where game developers can pitch their projects to our

Dragons Den illustration by Øyvind Lien from Turbo Tape Games

Dragons Den illustration by Øyvind Lien from Turbo Tape Games

expert panel. We’re already filled up with game developers willing to fight the dragons and there are some suprises in the mix that make me so incredibly happy! I’m also very pleased with this year’s panel which is Alex Trowers, Ernest Adams, Helge Hannisdal (founder of Its Learning) and Tor Ole Rognaldsen representing the film and game fund, FUZZ. Dungeon Master this year will be Bjørn Alsterberg from BTO.

A huge thanks also to Morten Formo who’s designed our wonderful website and will be in charge of media!

There’s so much great stuff happening in Norway these days and you’ll be able to witness all of it by joinging us:

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 1

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 2

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 3

I’m still short on funding though, so if you want your logo with our work – please let me know so that we can make this the best exprience! We offer the following packages:

1) € 1300 for logo on our webpage
2) € 1900 for logo on all our advertising material, screens and t-shirts.
3) € 2500 for all of the above and a stand with roll-up or whatever you wish for.

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The Story part 3

I’m determined to get my thoughts from The Story documented somehow, although a week has passed, I shall continue on.

7) I was late coming back after lunch and missed the introduction of Paul Bennun & Nick Ryan. This is a session I would have loved to be more prepared for. I didn’t know who they were and wish I’d looked them up and played their games before attending, because their story was astounding!

Their story was sound. Together they have created a game based entirely on sound called Papa Sangre (downloading now).

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The Story Part 2

I’m sitting at the airport with bad internet connection – (I mean seriously! Why do they make this so hard?!)  – but I need to get this off my chest before I get to Bergen, for I know that everyday life will distract me.

So where was I?

4) After a brief coffee break came the remarkably enchanting Karl James to talk about the wonderfully simple yet difficult skill of listening. Sometimes, if you just shut up you’ll hear remarkable stories that you never thought you’d hear. And what beautiful stories he had to share. Like the extremely powerful story of a rape victim he had been talking to. An extremely powerful woman who had worked through the grusomeness of being raped when she was 14. A man had snuck in the back door of their house and raped both her and her mother. Gruesome, right? Absolutely horrendous. But my tears didn’t start flowing until he told us that when they were supposedly finished, he forgot to stop recording and they stumbled upon something heartbreaking. The woman told him that she didn’t regret the rape – she had learned to cope with it, survived and it was a large part of who she was. But then she said something completely unexpected “I do regret what it’s done to my brother” – my eyes are welling up just thinking about her minor break down then. She began to cry and talked about how her brother had become completely secluded and was much more troubled than anyone else in the family. It was heartbreaking and a story seldom told or shared, but because Mr. James was so good at listening, we were given this precious gift. I completely agree. I’ve been thinking lately that I’m very good at articulating other’s feelings when they’re sharing them with me. In fact I take pride in being able to describe what they’re going through better than they themselves can. It makes me feel like an excellent writer and gives my ego a boost. This is totally wrong of me! Of course I should give them room to find the words themselves! I’m looking forward to discovering all the magical stories I will encounter.

Please listen here – I know they will fill my ears in the next coming weeks.

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The Story 2011 part 1

So I’m on my annual (2nd year this year) pilgrimage to London. Why? The Story! This has got to be the most inspirational day (I hesitate to call it a conference) of the year. The Story is the brainchild of Matt Locke. As he says, he just wanted to create the conference that he really wanted to go to.

I was there last year, but was unable to rearticulate the pure joy that the day brought me. So much inspiration! This year – all I want to do is write about it. I haven’t felt so inspired to write in FOREVER! But that’s the whole point of this pilgrimage – to be inspired, hear new good stories and celebrate storytelling. I must admit that I feel exceptionally geeky travelling from Norway for the event, but it’s just so worth it. And after, I have the whole weekend to work on my inspiration and write in lovely London.

Margaret Robertson was the perfect MC for the event. She excused herself for only being interested in games, but her storytelling geek surfaced quite well. So I’ll do the talks chronologically:

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The Story

I can’t believe it! Tomorrow night I’m off to London to attend The Story on Friday! I am soooo looking forward to it – and I’m just soooo hungry for someinspiration. And just the name “The Story” inspires me to start writing and creating!

The Story will be a celebration of everything that is wonderful, inspiring and awesome about stories, in whatever medium possible. We’re hoping to have stories that are written, spoken, described, enacted, whispered, projected, orchestrated, performed, printed – whatever form stories come in, we hope to have them here.

I hope so too!

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My Machinima presentation

I was honored to be asked to give a little presentation on Machinima at Scott Rettberg’s “The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice”. I had a great time and met some truly fantastic and inspirational people! I was squeezed in to the topic of Anthropophagy, which I’m still trying to figure out – but will write more about in another blogpost. My initial thought is Machinima is anthropophagic (not sure I can say that – but what the hell – I’ll give it a go) of game narrative – which opens up a whole box of interest worms. But … it’s not a cannibalistic media in itself. But…yeah… we’ll leave room for that somewhere else.

My presentation is available on Google Docs but I’ll cut and paste it here – as the notes are more important than the actual slides (although you can find them by opening the speaker notes).

GAMEPLAYING FOR THE ARTS

When gaming avatars perform for the camera, not for the game

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Aesthetics?

Yesterday UiB hosted the “New Aesthetic Technologies Conference”, which I really would have loved to attend! Firstly because I really want to know what my (?) university department thinks about aesthetics and new media – because I’m not sure I know. Two years ago (good golly – has it been that long?) – the brilliant Rune Klevjer put together a conference called “The Aesthetics of Play” – it’s just such an excellent title, don’t you think?
Look what I found!!

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State of Play Conference

It was fun!
The conference started off with a bang. We got to see Glenn Thomas’ “Ideal World. A Virtual Life Documentary” – which is brilliant (Glenn’s also a super dooper, charming and smart man, by the way!). He’s really managed to get the full compass of The Second Life story into it and I applaud him for it!
The panels were exciting and from vast disciplines – which I thought was great! Some of the conference delegates (220 attending) had some amazing questions to the panels, which brought some great insight and discussion. I’m not too comfortable writing in detail here, as I’m in the middle of writing other articles for a serious publication. I’m not used to all this journalism thinking and I’m not sure what’s allowed and not in duplication matters on my own personal blog. So let me tread lightly till stuff gets published.
I’ve met some truly amazing people which I hope to keep in touch with. Lots of bright and colorful minds were present and I felt so privileged to meet them. All shall be mentioned when I dwell deeper into stuff here.
I found being a ‘journalist’ quite hard, however. Finding stuff that was news worthy for ‘regular people’ was challenging, which is why we’re holding off publication till it’s all in a lovely understandable package. It’s also quite hard finding the correct Norwegian words for stuff – any Norwegian readers out there willing to have a go at ‘in-world’? It’s such a great way to pinpoint what you’re trying to describe, “they met in-world”, “in-world business transaction”, I just can’t seem to find the right Norwegian wording for it. I have also found a great appreciation for the word ‘business’ in English. I think we have about alternatives in Norwegian and I find none of the satisfactory! Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Singapore

Firstly – CNN launched it’s Future Summit: Virtual worlds today.

“Originating from Singapore and Palo Alto, California, the program features creative visionaries and entrepreneurs leading us into a new age of creativity and imagination.”

Impressive list of panelists really. I don’t even know who to list here – but it’s a good mix of social networking sites experts and designers and MMORPG experts and designers. I’m really going to enjoy following this!

So speaking of Singapore – I just got my ticket for 16 August. My apartment’s getting renovated 20 August by my landlords and my adorable father thought it would be a good idea for me to visit him instead of crashing on a friend’s floor. Not a hell of a lot of protest from me! It will be good to get away and have a vacation – there’s so much I didn’t get to do last time around. Besides, I miss him – chillin’ out with dad is always delightful.

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State of Play – New York Law School

So they’ve had a State of Play conference in New York and Mark Wallace does a wonderful job of summing up the whole thing – bless him! Looks like they’ve really been critical of themselves and looking to see what could be done in future research – which I think is good!

One thing that surprised me however was Jesper Juul’s post on the discussion of ‘games have rules’. I’ve accepted that ages ago, and I really don’t understand what the problem is in acknowledging that games have rules and most importantly NEED rules – but apparently, they still can’t agree on that. Juul breaks the discussion down to two positions – pro-rules vs. anti-rules.

“Pro-rules people generally make pragmatic descriptions of the gameplaying activity, and anti-rules people commonly apply a general poststructuralist skapticism towards descriptions of structure.”

I’m baffled that this is still disagreed upon. In my thesis (which I’d love to write all over again) I broke everything down to two issues – gameplay and societal -> rules and identity. Just because some players choose to defy some of these rules doesn’t mean that they’re not complying with them. Rather acknowledging them to then defy them. The gameplay rules are what makes the world a game – and we mustn’t forget that worlds like, Second Life are NOT games – so we should stop using them as examples. The societal rules are something that is considered by your gameplay method and social communication. Um – maybe I’m not ready to talk about this yet.