Monday, 9 November 2009

lambs, flowers and girls with guitars on day 3

day 3 started with even more gaming of the non-video variety at gambling lambs, a group of lovely people who meet at lee rosy's tea shop to play games together every month. if only MK wasn't so far away...

Playing medieval cards at gambling lambs @gamecity - i am the greater dalmuti!

firstly we were introduced to dalmuti. i realised i'd played it before with standard cards as president (which in turn is based on an old chinese game, dai hin min) but the new deck and setting made it even more fun as the power struggles soon got people into character :)

playing last night on earth: defend the manor house, i am the zombie lord \o/ @gamblinglambs @gamecity

i'd also played last night on earth before (a zombie board game that feels kinda like an interactive movie), but not this scenario. it was fun, but complicated, and we never did really finish the game, but had some interesting storylines come up along the way at least - far more hilarious than expected ;)

we left last night on earth in a mess of inappropriate zombie orgies, won at werewolf and now at @gamecity u panel for a breather :)

more werewolf, albeit in a bigger group and i had to be a wolf this time (which i hate cos i suck at it, amazed i lasted as long as i did...) - we were having so much fun we missed the start of the gamecity U stuff, but decided to go along for the afternoon session with rex who did the art on little big planet, babsy from papermint and robin hunicke who now works for thatgamecompany. not sure what i expected from a games design panel, but it was inspiring stuff - just frustrating that some of them were lucky types who were arty and visual (like me) and still managed to find teams to work with to make videogames despite a lack of technical knowledge (also like me). there had been some previous talk about games as creative, and how children love being creative from a young age, but it seems the barrier to games design is just so much higher than that of art or music: kids can experience either of those and then go and instantly make them themselves , even if it is just a crude attempt at finger painting or banging pots and pans - what's the games equivalent? how do people who have ideas, but not the mad coding skills, get a chance to do anything with them?

with this still on the mind, we went to a curry sessions debate on taboo in games, although it wasn't particularly debateful or indeed audible from where we were sat.

is about to experience flower: night blooms @gamecity :)

robin hunicke came back for the big live art performance of Flower in the exchange arcade. again, not sure what to expect, and on paper/screen it might even sound a little disappointing, but it really was a little shared moment between all involved. flower is a ps3 download game that i'd heard about but not played before - basically you are the wind, picking up petals and, in the words of robin, 'spreading love throughout the world'. one of the things that was particularly cool was how there was no words, no text or dialogue, in the whole thing - reminding me of one of my favourite comics, owly, in both how accessible it becomes to children or people who speak other languages, but also in how it makes the reader/player put their own emotion into the gaps.

Watching flower played big isnt quite like a film, better than video art installation, live dance with petals as ballerinas maybe?

the previous day, david braben and lord puttnam had both talked about videogames not yet reaching the stage where they can make people cry - as if this pinnacle of emotion is a sign of artistic legitimacy - but robin clearly proved them both wrong by admitting (and demonstrating) how emotional the game made her feel. all we, the audience, did was to stand, sit or lie down and watch someone else play a videogame, projected onto wavy muslin, but it was a unique and moving (in an undefinable sorta way) experience. (insert something about games as art, except i think that perhaps the more we go on about something is already blatently real, the more gamers as a whole sound as if we're just on the defensive...)

Also: wind turbines as things of beauty; colour reminiscent of Hero; and nice to see a bunch of gamers chilling out and soaking it in

and on that note, and later than planned, we moved on the 'world of wordcraft' event to see rebecca mayes (of gameswipe fame) play live, and also maybe listen to people talk about games writing too.

i have to say at this point, game city was horrendously disorganised this year, but it did have its benefits at times. flower overran its slot and we honestly made our way over to the gig thinking we were an hour late and would've missed it all, but because practically everyone was at flower anyway (including the organisers), it didn't actually matter. we just bumped the schedule on a bit, and still had time to play fluxx before it started. maybe not the most professional type of thing, but i think the nice community feel is one of the best things about game city.

World of wordcraft @gamecity was interesting: i still secretly want to be a games writer/editor. rebecca mayes is pretty cool too :)

there was a lot of discussion about games reviews, which, coming from ste curran of '7/10 onelifeleft' fame, and started by a statement that games reviews were pretty much meaningless these days, may hint at the slight irreverance to follow

RT @avalix "pacman is *almost* the most rounded video game character in video game history" @gamecity @steishere :D)

being a word geek, editor, zine contributer etc... i have a bias towards critical writing even if i do admit it bears very little influence on the games i buy anymore, but i like non-fiction writing as a creative artform, and was particularly impressed at the ability to put that into a musical construct with not just acoustic guitar but awesome pedal layering too. there may be more along this kind of front in the future...

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