Meaningful Play Conference 2008

Somehow, I didn’t know about this even though it’s been in the works for a while: the Meaningful Play Conference 2008 at Michigan State University.

I’m glad they are doing this, although I wonder if the focus of the conference isn’t too broad. It also seems extremely lacking on the Art Game side of the fence (looking at the board and invited speakers), and heavily weighted toward the Serious Game side of things. Which is fine, I guess, but I think they are then missing the biggest chunk of “Meaningful”; perhaps they should call it the “Utilitarian Play Conference” instead.

If you’re a game developer, they have a Call for Games posted. (Their web site has been painfully slow sometimes, so if either of these links don’t work, try again later).

I don’t know if I will be there, because some friends are convincing me to go to the Tokyo Game Show which is happening at the same time.

Snippy note to MPC2008 organizers and people at other academic conferences I’ve seen lately: Please stop using dual-analog console controllers as the symbol of your conference or the big illustration at the top of the web page. We in the industry are not proud of these controllers; they are not cool. Also they are just a stereotypical surface signifier of games; they don’t say anything about interactivity or the nature thereof. Nothing says “We Have No Ideas” more effectively than a DualShock controller.

5 thoughts on “Meaningful Play Conference 2008”

  1. Ouch… I think you’re right. But input defines interactivity and games, not easy to find a simple graphic logo that represents that.

    (omg this is not a logo but a big fatty dual analog pic!)

    Please MPC2K8 organizers, change that.

  2. Reading their web site, I have an extra gripe about their submission policies:

    You will be notified in regards to your submission as soon as a decision is made. After which, you must confirm your plans to attend the conference. Your game will not be exhibited if you do not attend. Further, your game will not be eligible for the game competition if you do not attend.

    Wait, what? Either a game is good or it’s not — what does it matter if the developer can show up at your conference? They’re biased against poor, far-away people (which is the majority of people doing interesting work!) Against people who are busy and doing a lot of interesting things? Against Japanese people specifically (because of TGS)… hey guys, if you are going to make attendance a requirement then perhaps you shouldn’t schedule your conference at the same time as one of the biggest game industry conferences in the world.

    It’s hard enough to find compelling game work out there without adding arbitrary requirements like this. I was going to submit Braid (I’ve talked about it to death in game industry circles, but haven’t ever presented it to academia at all) but I just can’t do that seriously now… I can envision what their finalists are going to be like and it is not good.

    (Last year, I was a judge for the game competition of an academic conference and the submissions were mostly embarrassing to academia. And that conference didn’t have an attendance requirement! In the past year maybe academia has stepped up their game a bit — I hope so, as this is not an anti-academia rant — but there’s no way they have caught up to where they ought to be…

  3. I hear ya!

    Here in the netherlands there was a “big” national game making contest as part of the NLGD’s festival of games, you had to attend the party and without consent the games were put on a commercial webportal. I’m still ranting and raging against them. Which is a total waste of time. So I’ll shut up asap.

    The sad part is that I was expecting something like that to happen so I made just a tiny simple game. I got in the top 3 (there’s not much competition so nothing special) and it all happened like I expected.
    The emerging dutch videogame industry is more about economy and fame than about videogames or dare I say.. artistic endeavors?!

  4. Call me a philistine, but the phrase “interdisciplinary academic conference” doesn’t scream “meaningful progress in game development” to me. I say
    TGS = YES!! Now with Sense of Wonder Night bonus!

  5. “The emerging dutch videogame industry is more about economy and fame than about videogames or dare I say.. artistic endeavors?!”

    At least there’s another dutchmen more interested in artistic endeavors then… How could I, as fellow Dutchmen, totally miss that there was a contest? I would probably have taken first place if the competition is what I think it is… lol. Okey, that’s maybe not entirely realistic, but really the dutch videogame industry has to mature a LOT.

    Even on the indie side of things. Or perhaps especially?

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