Something’s brewing in Norway part 2

In part 1 I started introducing the game developers in Norway starting with Bergen. So far I’ve mentioned Rain (keep an eye out for them at GDC – they’ll be at the Nordic Game stand), D-Pad Studios, Henchman & Goon and Turbo Tape Games. I still have a few more I’d like to mention:

Mentalfish Mentalfish logo

This is pretty much a one-man band named Petter Sundnes. I’ve had the privilege of working with Petter on a few potential projects and I enjoy his visions and game developing skills. We’ve also worked with students together and he’s an excellent and patient teacher  while introducing Unity (I’ve even started dabbling with it). His game mechanic skills are excellent, creativity top notch and management skills are great. I hope to work more with him in the future and is my number one choice to bring along for meetings with potential new clients.

Read more about Mentalfish here.

Vostopia

Vostopia is slightly outside Bergen in beautiful Voss. Vostopia’s founding father is Bjarne Rene who has the most impressive game developing CV that I’ve seen around here. I keep describing him as a person with gravitas, by this I mean he is a man with experience and connections and we all value his opinion greatly. But he’s also a genuinely nice and fun guy who’s very willing to share and contribute to building a sustainable game developing industry in Norway. Here’s a little profile piece from our local paper, BT (again – in Norwegian): http://lisa.bt.no/btmultimedia/prosjekt/vestlendingen/#story_13

Vostopia offers avatars or avatar systems for game developers. They’re very versatile and fun and I think it’s a very smart business idea. Are you creating a game in Unity I would definitely recommend having a look. Here’s their demo reel:

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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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Wonderful geek tv!

Will Wheaton has a great new show on table top games on the new YouTube channel Geeks & Sundry. I wasn’t expecting to, but I actually watched the whole thing! So he invites guests and they play through a table top game entertainingly and informatively. This time around was Small World. There’s some great camera angles and it’s beautifully edited so that I learn the game as I chuckle and I don’t get bored. Extra kudos for inviting a woman! I hope they do Android at some time because it’s still in my closet after ending play with a big unison sigh after a dinner party over a year ago. Having a program like this to make me understand the goal and rules of the game will be lovely. And Mr. Wheaton is just the perfect game master for such a show! Very cool gaming table!

PS. For non Disneyland explorers, this is the freaky dolls he’s referring to in his intro.

Leigh Alexander on being a female game journalist

I just watched this wonderful keynote by Leigh Alexander on the challenges of being a female journalist and being labelled a feminist journalist because she writes about things such as computer games. She really gives a lot of her own personal experiences and I’m very thankful for that. I recognise a lot of what she brings up. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and a bit daunting being asked to have an opinion or a voice for an entire gender, speaking on behalf of all woman everywhere. I don’t even feel comfortable talking on behalf of female gamers. But Alexander is great at pointing out that we already have some wonderful female role models in the game industry out there and that we shouldn’t let ourselves be silenced for our gender or that the pressure of talking on behalf of a gender is too awesome. Her conclusion was absolutely great: “I believe that games can speak to more people than they already do and in order for that to happen they need all of our voices – they need you!”. Thanks Mathias Poulsen for recommending it!

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 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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Is Facebook a virtual world?

I remember being absolutely gobsmacked when I first read about Edward Castronova and his economic analysis of the online game Everquest. And it all spiraled from there … do you remember? We all got caught up in the rights of the avatar. I remember being enthralled in discussions about what is real and what is not real and what rights avatars have in games such as Everquest. Because we  saw avatars as extensions of ourselves, therefore we should have the same human rights as we have in our own ‘real life’. Ownership issues and freedom of expression where things that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and debating.

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Spillpikene and I are collecting used games for youths with cancer

A while back I read about this gorgeous room that was built at my local hospital. It’s a room for youths fighting cancer (plea

se note that they categorise youths as those aged between 15 and 35 – this pleased me so) to hang out and escape their everyday ordeals.

So for those who don’t know, I’m also blogging at another site in Norwegian called Spillpikene. I’ve blogged about them here before – but we didn’t start blogging together until spring 2009. Well – I say blogging – but I have to admit that I’ve been a slowpokey there as well, the girls have been good at keeping it alive.

Anyhow – I decided that it would be cool if Spillpikene and I started a drive to collect used games that have meant a lot to people in times of turmoil. Let’s face it – games help us escape – and by golly life needs escaping at times! And some games have helped us through hard ordeals and I wanted people to donate a game that helped them through a hard time. Of course loads of people thought this was a brilliant idea – but I have yet to receive a single one.

Why yes – I’m extremely disappointed. Spillpikene and I have, however, donated Playstation 2, Buzz handsets, 2 Buzz games and some more. Electronic Arts has also given a generous donation and Nintendo has donated a Wii. So it’s not all bad – I’m just wanting more!

So please – if you have a used game to help someone going through a hellish fight – send it to:

Linn Søvig
Aad Gjellesgate 12
5036 Bergen
Norway

Board games are definitely welcome as well!  And please do remember that we’re in Europe and under the zone 2 restrictions!

Play with your food


So – things have been dead here lately ey?

Well…I’m still busy being a communications consultant, which I’ve started blogging about a zillion times but never seem to dare to publish. A lot of that has to do about establishing several online identities that have nothing to do with one another and a lot about being scared about practicing what I’ve been preaching for the last few months. Also – to be quite honest – I’ve been trying to train my brain to think better in Norwegian. Only reading Norwegian and only writing in Norwegian. This blog throws me off the flow of Norwegian thoughts – and I need to be good in both languages. That said!

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