Category Archives: Game Festivals

Braid playthrough with director’s commentary

At GameCity in Nottingham, UK in September 2010, I played through select portions of Braid and gave commentary. I had been under the impression the session was officially recorded, and I’ve been waiting for an official video to hit the internet, but at this point I am not sure this was done. Fortunately someone in the audience had a handheld camera, and has posted the footage to YouTube. This is by far the most I’ve said about Braid in one place…

See the video here.

The Experimental Gameplay Workshop 2010 is now open for submissions.

The Experimental Gameplay Workshop is an annual event at the Game Developers Conference where we show a selection of cutting-edge game designs. Each designer gives a 10-to-15-minute presentation.

We encourage all designers who are actively working on new and different design ideas to apply. Here’s a link for more information.

The deadline is January 26, 2010. (We had erroneously listed the date as February 16.)

A video interview with NextGen Player.

At the 2008 Montreal International Games Summit, NextGen Player interviewed Jonathan Blow about independent game development, games as art, and about how Braid was made. Here’s the video, which goes into some topics that haven’t been covered in previous interviews:

Sorry about the incorrect aspect ratio, but I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out how to fix it, with no success. The web is kind of sad sometimes.

Here’s the link to the article at NextGen Player.

About the WGA’s Video Game Writing Awards

The Writers Guild of America recently announced the nominees for their 2nd annual Videogame Writing Awards. Anyone familiar with the games of this past year, though, will consider this a very odd and deficient list. Conspicuously absent are most of the games that stand out as well-written.

Ben Fritz at Variety recently wrote a column wondering why there’s so little industry participation in these awards, and postulating that it’s because the industry is anti-union. After all, to be eligible for the awards, game writers only need to join the Video Game Caucus and pony up some cash ($75 a year). No problem, right?

Continue reading About the WGA’s Video Game Writing Awards

Experimental Gameplay 2009 is now open for submissions.

The Experimental Gameplay Sessions occur every year at the GDC; it’s a two-hour showcase of unusual and cutting-edge game designs. Each designer gives a ten- or fifteen-minute presentation of each game, including a live demo.

We’re now looking for submissions for the 2009 workshop, which will be happening in March. If you make unconventional kinds of games, I encourage you to apply. Our Call for Submissions document discusses everything in more detail:

Experimental Gameplay 2009 Call for Participation

Also, here’s the main page, for those who are just generally curious about the event.

Videos have been posted for Sense of Wonder Night 2008

This year at the Tokyo Game Show, the Sense of Wonder Night event was held for the first time ever. This was a session where developers from around the world gave 10-minute presentations on their unconventional game designs, the idea being to inspire the designers in the audience, and give them a good summary of some of the things being done on the avant-garde.

Even if you follow the Western indie game scene, there will probably be some surprises there for you; often games that are made in Japan don’t become well-known in the West, because of the language barrier.

You can follow that link to the Sense of Wonder home page, where videos of all the presentations are posted (they are on YouTube).

(In related news, the Experimental Gameplay Workshop page is a bit out of date, so we are going to update it soon and also put out the Call for Participation for 2009; and the fact that SOWN is posting videos seems like a really good idea, so we are going to try and do videos for 2009 as well).

[Note: Thanks to Tim at the Indie Games Blog for posting the original notice of this.]

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.

The Slamdance Games Festival has been canceled.

Sam Roberts has just posted an announcement that the Slamdance Games Festival has been canceled for the foreseeable future.

The trouble all started back when Slamdance leadership attempted to remove Super Columbine Massacre RPG! from the festival, after it had been selected as a finalist. Several other finalists (including this one) had adverse reactions to that.

As a compromise solution, Slamdance was going to hold the games festival in Los Angeles, where there aren’t as many mormons (and where, I guess, the games festival would be enough far-removed that it wouldn’t tarnish the image of the film festival. Or something.)

This is kind of a bummer, because it’s one less venue for indie games to get exposure, and I know that Sam Roberts put a lot of work into it. At the same time, there are other, more-active festivals now, and Sam is a director of one of the most prominent ones, Indiecade. Indiecade are having showings at E3 and PAX this year, as well as a stand-alone show at OpenSatellite in Seattle. Braid was in the IndieCade showing at E3 2007, and it was a good situation.