This Friday, at Camden People’s Theatre and as part of their Festival of Feminism, videogames will meet performance art with Beta Public. The night is a mix of performance and talks, curated by two men: the ineffable Thomas Martin and the remarkable Pat Ashe.
Having seen and enjoyed Pat’s An Oasis In Five Parts and Several Remarkable Things About Tetris (1984) last year, I am piqued by this event. The Tetris show was a mixture of story-driven gaming and frustrating puzzle, where Pat read out several interesting things about the game as long as the player, a member of the audience, didn’t lose. I learned how annoying it is to see someone lose after 10 minutes, knowing that I’m going to have to sit through 10 minutes now of the same facts while the next challenger competes. I learned that I’m quite happy to do that, probably thanks to badly designed videogames and a patient childhood. I also learned that Terry Cavanagh, as well as being a modern games design hero, is pretty good at Tetris, and happily managed to draw Pat’s entire cache of facts, without losing.
What will you learn at this event? Lot’s, I’m sure. The show is on the 8th November at 7.30pm, tickets are £10.
In line with their growing indie outreach efforts, Sony are running an open invite developer event on the 7th and 8th of October. Prospective developers can learn all about getting their games on PS Vita and PS4. There will be talks from various Sony bods including developer relations account manager Agostino Simonetta and 3rd party relations VP Michael Pattison. The latter had this to say:
We are excited to be opening our doors to developers who are interested in exploring PlayStation development and what its like to work with us.
The event takes place at Sony’s offices in Soho and you need to email DeveloperEvents@scee.net in order to grab one of the 45 places available on each day. More similar events are apparently planned for next year too, in case you can’t get to one of these.
This weekend is Eurogamer Expo weekend. A big event in the UK games scene, with big publishers as well as small independents showing their wares. This year as in previous years, David Hayward will be running the Indie Arcade, a little island of small-budget wonder amongst all the AAA explosions.
Unfortunately tickets are completely sold out, so unless you already have one you’ll have to just imagine what it could have been like. There are some great games on show, from London and further afield. The full list is here, but my London-based highlights are Fist of Awesome by Nicol Hunt and Myriad by Erland Grefsrud, the latter I have been dying to play for a while. Sadly I don’t have a ticket either
For those of you in the same boat as me, Loading Bar in Soho (inside Madd, address here) are running an alternative event to coincide with the big Expo. They ran a similar thing when E3 was on (EToo), which was by all accounts a crowded success. If you fancy heading along and checking out some local indie game splendour, the event, run by Indie Haven, is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings this week (26th-29th September).
Games are still being announced, so check back at Indie Haven for the full list of what will be on show.
On Thursday 10th October Richmix cinema in Shoreditch will be hosting the Free 2 Play Summit. An event all about free to play games with talks on player psychology, how to monetise children, and Nicholas Lovell.
The F2P summit might have been free to attend with micro-transactions needed to buy Conference Coins and presenters only talking at half speed unless you share the link on Facebook. It might have been but they have decided to go for the traditional up-front payment model, early bird tickets are £195 (+VAT) before the 18th September and for us lovely Indies we have a coupon code: F2P4TE which will get you 20% off, so only £156 if you book early.
For those in the F2P arena, or those looking into it, the conference should be very informative. There are many more speakers and events to be announced in the coming month, you can check the website for more details.
I got an email today from Nisha, from the Government! But it’s ok, all those VPNs and Tor networks have paid off, and it was only good news!
IC tomorrow, which is a “Technology Strategy Board programme that stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector” and who don’t capitalise the “tomorrow” part of their name, have launched a Digital Innovation Contest, in the subcategory of Games. There are five awards of £25k each for 5 different innovative games. The contest is sponsored by the likes of Sony, Crytek, Google and Intel and each have set a different brief within which you need to bust out your innovation.
In order to grab that cash you need to submit an application in the category of your choice by the 16th October, and there is a briefing event in London on the 19th September. This is going to be streamed online too if you can’t make it in person. As well as the money you get to keep all the IP from any game you end up making, and the website says you don’t need to be an established studio to apply. It all sounds quite promising.
Read more about the individual awards and the contest details at here.
Frankie Hobbins and Peter Nicholls have just launched a Kickstarter for their free-to-play online hack and slash epic Legends of Firestorm. They are trying to fund the last year of development on the project, having been working full time out of their own pockets for a year already.
The game looks great already and will only get better as they get closer to finishing it. Go check it out now, spread the word, and back them on KickStarter.
We have a few lovely games events coming up for you in the next month.
On 30th July IGDA are having an evening of short games related talks. TECHNIQUES FOR TAMING/TRAINING ALL MANNER OF GAME BEASTS: HTML 5 GAMES, GAME MACHINES, AND GAME CURATION is taking place at the Keyworh Centre of London Southbank University. London Indies regulars abound as George Buckenham will talk to you about DIY games hardware, Marie Foulston will demystify how to run a games club night, and myself, Joe Bain, will be spelling out HTML5 games and how to make them. Free entry and you don’t need to be an IGDA member to attend.
The 14th August brings us REZtron – Your Passport To SEGASM which promises to let you play all your favourite old SEGA games on suitably old TVs in a bar in Shoreditch. Downstairs at the Hoxton Pony this is an 18+ event with cocktails, karaoke and “a few more suprises”. Here’s hoping for Richard Jaques knocking out a jazz version of the Outrun soundtrack whilst Yu Suzuki writhes around in a giant martini glass.
You might also want to mark 25th October in your calendar for Playful, “a one-day conference about games, play, design, interaction and behaviour”. It looks like a pretty decent line-up of speakers, with Jane ní Dhulchaointi, the inventor of flubber-style science goop, sugru, MoMA exhibited artist Stefanie Posavec and Sharna Jackson, head honcho from Tate Kids. Tickets are £65 and selling quick, so don’t miss out.
So plenty to look forward to then.
GameCraft is coming to London. Started in Dublin, this now international game jam organisation is preparing for an event in London on August 10th.
It’s a one-day game jam, being held at Skills Matter, who host loads of game and tech events in London. Turn up at 8.30 am, the theme is announced at 9 am, then you have 12 hours to get down and mak gam. Beer and pizza is provided for the hungry and there are prizes at the end for the best games. No word yet on what’s up for grabs, but there will almost certainly be t-shirts and that special I-made-a-game feeling.
That’s August 10th folk, entry is free but you need to sign up for a ticket.
Another London(-ish) game developer has come out of the woodwork, Essex based Dwight Breley of Coconut Island Apps is just about launch his first game, an iOS platformer-shooter called Blastronaut.
The game looks like a fun arcadey romp. The trailer has a dubstep soundtrack, and the game itself features 32 levels and some pretty graphics. There is also a thrilling story about a young space cadet lost on the moon in the future or something. You have to shoot stuff and the stuff you shoot dies.
The game is launching soon for iPhone, so look out for it on the app store.
This week graduating students from London College for Communication‘s Games Design course will be showcasing their games. The event runs all week (Tuesday to Friday) at LCC’s Nursery Gallery in Elephant and Castle and is free to attend.
There are also free drinks if you get there early, so hurry along and check out some of the upcoming talent London has to offer.