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.