Okay, okay, okay – we’ve been a little behind, things have been far busier than they usually are post-festival. In previous years immediately after the close of the festival the team would simultaneously collapse, catch a bad cold, rebuild their relationships with their families and wake up just in time for Christmas. 2012 was a little different.
We had an amazing festival last year, and straight after it dived into prep for the first three dates of the GameCityNights tour. There’s lots more to be said about that (not least because we’re about to go back out again) and I’ll post that up here next week, suffice to say we had a fantastic time in Bradford, London and Dublin and learnt a huge amount about putting on Nights gigs in other cities. Thanks SO much to EDGE, EA, Maxis and especially everyone who came out to see us – we’re really looking forward to seeing you again in a few weeks…
Following that I went out to visit the BIG festival in Sao Paulo where I was speaking, meeting amazing people and learning lots about videogames and the public. Thanks to the lovely BIG people, especially Jason Della Rocca for initiating the visit; and the British Council for supporting my work there. Again – lots more to say about that, which will be appearing here in the next few weeks – in the meantime, here’s Jason’s report – which includes that picture of me standing awkwardly in front of some beer that you were looking for.
Off the Map
You can get the main news about this over on the main site, but we should mention here a major new project that’s just launched. The projects that excite us most are the ones that bring together new partners to do interesting things, and this is really one of those…
We’ve been talking with the lovely folks at the British Library for years now. We first met them through our National Videogame Archive work and have since fed into their web archiving work and delivered a few talks at St Pancras.
Similarly, Crytek have been generous and imaginative supporters of the festival in lots of different ways over the years- realising some fantastic events and initiatives with us from educational workshops to large-scale experiential.
We’ve been trying to look for a way to make a different kind of competition platform for students within the project for a while. GameJam’s are fantastic, focussed events that can create a huge amount of momentum- but whilst they burn bright, they burn fast. We’re attempting to make something a little more long-term, which would focus as much on process and context as it would the finished work – and we’re hoping the ‘Off the Map’ will start to do that.
It’s our first year with the project, and as such we’re hoping to do a lot of learning about how to improve it before opening it out to the wider World. Again – we’d really appreciate your thoughts as we get going…
You might have arrived here through the core gamecity.org site, the more astute amongst you might have noticed that a things have changed there. A few years ago, when we ported the site over to WordPress, one of the main reasons we did so was to gain the agility to allow us to quickly spin-up sites for new initiatives and projects that came up. That worked really well for us, but not so well for the user – and the main hub site slowly evolved into the kind of arrangement you’d usually see on the front of a fridge, with magnets.
When we started out, things were simple and GameCity was purely a festival.
It isn’t now.
It’s a platform for interesting projects which translate videogames and cultural technology to the broadest possible audience, so we’re trying to evolve the site that to reflect that more clearly.Lee has been slaving over this for the last month and we’d really appreciate your feedback on how it works.
Here’s what we’re thinking…
This is the main core site. It aggregates news from our other projects, and also forms the centre of our network. As well as pulling together information from the work, we’re going to use it for posting broad news about the main activity and as an announcement board for interesting things that our friends and partners are doing.
In the past we’ve had lots of emails from folks asking us to announce their initiative / project / thing – and we’ve not really had a place to do that. Now we have. If there’s anything you want us to mention – send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nights site is going to contain all the info about GameCityNights gigs – at home or away – and also a lot more information about the developers, artists and speakers who take part in them. In particular, we want to close the feedback cycle between event and site to make that a lot more rapid. You’ll notice this particularly with the tour in the next month when we’re going to operate with a hitherto untapped efficiency that will shock and awe us all.
Open is the place where you can make our work much better by adding yours. Whereas previously it’s been limited to just providing access to the festival, now we’re starting to use it for GameCityNights and other projects too. It’s hopefully going to make the whole pathway to events and onto coverage much easier – something that should be especially valuable with the EDGE partnership around the Nights’ tour. We’ll talk some more about that process in the next few weeks, but let us know how you get on with it…
Y’know – stuff about the Prize.
We’re going to continue to post-up the archive of our events to the YouTube channel, but more importantly offer some more framing and context to them on the rest of the sites. There’s some fantastic stuff there, but we don’t always present it as well as we should.
The strap-line for this project used to be, “we’re trying to find out what a videogame festival could be” – and we still are. This site is going to be the more candid, nuts and bolts process notes log about how that exploration is going. We like to think we’re pretty open about input into the project from the people who attend it, but we want to make that discussion more constant. Again, we want to deliver this on a sustainable cycle and more importantly also feature contributions from the rest of the team who work on the project. Hope you can join in, too.
Christopher White has left the building
Finally, we can’t let the first post of the New Year pass without paying tribute to Chris White who left us at the end of 2011 to new adventures. Chris joined us a couple of years ago after calling me up and bluntly asking for a job. It was weird because he kept calling me ‘Mr Simons’ on the phone, which I don’t think anyone has ever done before.
Anyone who’s worked with us over the last couple of years will know how central he was to everything we did, and everyone here wishes him everything he wishes himself in his new adventures in the promised City of London. Keep in touch, Chris!