It was Tuesday March 24th. The game had only been out for a week. There had been a few reviews but nothing compared to the deluge we’ve had since we got back home. Lots of people were in town for the Game Developers Conference. We invited about 80 people, friends and press, to meet us at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for a reception and live performance of the game, which up til then most of them had never seen.
This was the very very first time all the people who worked on the game were together. (Hans Zantman, who was the technical artist on the game couldn’t come to SF but) Michael and I and Laura Raines Smith and Kris Force and Jarboe were all there. It was amazing to see everyone together after working long distance off and on for 2 years!
Everyone had their part to play during that evening. After a bit of bread and wine we lead the crowd up to the Screening Room, a little cinema in the YBCA.
I gave greetings and introduced all collaborators. Then, Laura and Michael did the intro of all the characters. After that, the lights dimmed and main event started. I played the game on the big screen while Kris wove an ambient soundscape from the game soundtrack. Jarboe sang everyone a Lullaby and told them the tale of Little Red Ridinghood as only she can. The performance lasted for about 45 minutes. A lovely time was had by all. It was atmospheric and just a bit frightening. But then, that’s how we like things on The Path. 😉
Thanks to Amy, Lisa, Jose and Guy at the YBCA for all their good humor and help to pull this event off! Thanks to Creative Capital for their sponsorship. And special thanks to Michael Jennings and his crew at Small Potatoes catering for bringing all that bread!
We had so much fun doing the event that we do desire to do it again sometime. The combination of game and live performance was inspiring for us!
It’s been 6 or 7 years that Auriea and I have been attending one Game Developers Conference or other, first in London and the last few years in San Francisco. Over all those years, speakers have complained about the same thing: games are juvenile, games are only for teenage boys, games are sexist, games are not artistic, etc. The continuous frustration of a medium that wants to be (regarded as) something more and other than it is.
In the first GDCs we attended, this made us hopeful. Because we felt we had a solution to these problems. But as we continued to fail to find a connection with the commercial games industry, we lost that hope. We learned that, although the industry complains about these issues continuously, it had zero intention to change anything.
Last year’s GDC was the year when independent games suddenly seemed to be the new thing, the most exciting area in the industry, where at the very least, people were making games for the love of it. This year, the excitement was still there. And the complaints were still there. But they were expressed in the most vehement and passionate manner ever. Heather Chaplin’s raging rant about how game developers are stunted and sexist juveniles brought a tear to my eye. But the main point of her talk was that we should stop making excuses about the medium’s young age, and start working on solutions for the problems.
And this is where independent games come in. As opposed to the desperation that accompanied the complaints over the previous years, this year everybody’s hopes were directed towards independent games. So much so that Clint Hocking even warned AAA game developers that if they didn’t change their ways, they would be rendered irrelevant by indie games. And I guess the AAA took note. We have entertained both Hideo Kojima and Fumito Ueda at our little booth in the Independent Games Festival this year. Warren Spector came by several times but we sadly missed the opportunity to talk to him. I have spotted Will Wright circling the indie floor. And who knows who that guy was with the funny name on his badge but looking so much like Cliffy B…
Anyway. Andy Schatz was pleading for unity between indie games and AAA games during the IGF awards ceremony. But it seems like AAA games will benefit more from this relationship than we will. Last year’s plaything has turned into this year’s hope for the future of the medium. Now I’m really curious about what will happen next year!
Because it’s not just that indie games have always been around and suddenly became fashionable. It is also important to note that the quality and diversity of independent games has increased tremendously over the past few years. So rather than sitting on our mini-laurels, I hope we continue on this path and make games that push the medium into territories that it always hoped to reach (or falsely claimed it had).
It’s been a strange week. Wish we could have reported on it some more. But we were so busy.
If you are in San Francisco, swing by The Graveyard booth at the IGF pavilion in the GDC expo. I think we might be giving away some posters…
Game on! Art in a game is an exhibition in Objeto A in Buenes Aires that features works by Daniel Benmergui, Rod Humble, Jason Rohrer, thatgamecompany and yours truly. The Endless Forest, The Graveyard and The Path can be played in the gallery until Saturday April 4th.
And tomorrow, there’s an “afternoon about artistic gaming” at the Victorian Circus festival in De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, featuring Submarine, Angelo Vermeulen, Crew and Tale of Tales. They’re showing The Graveyard and The Path under the expert guidance of The Path tester Yhancik.
Villanella, a cultural organization for youngsters in Antwerpen, Belgium, and coproducer of The Path, has a brand new website which they have opened at the launch event they threw for The Path tonight in MuHKA_media. It was very nice.
IndieCade is a very interesting festival for wide variety of independently created games. We’re happy to say that we have been part of the festival (both as developers and jurors) at several occasions. So we encourage everyone who’s making something that is perhaps to special or strange for the usual game channels to submit their projects. IndieCade is quickly growing in size and importance and is run by some of the nicest and smartest people in gaming.
IndieCade invites independent game artists and designers from around the world to submit interactive media of all types – from art to commercial, ARG to abstract, mind-bending to mobile, serious to shooter, as well as academic and student projects – for consideration. Work-in-progress is encouraged.
A diverse jury of creative and academic leaders will select entries for top prizes at the IndieCade 2009 Festival. All entries for the Festival will also receive consideration for presentation at all 2009 IndieCade international exhibitions including:
IndieCade 2009 Events:
IndieCade @ E3, Los Angeles (June 2-5)
IndieCade Asia TBA
IndieCade @ SIGGRAPH, New Orleans (Aug 5-7)
IndieCade 2009 (Oct 1-10)
IndieCade Europe, GameCity, UK (Oct 26-29)
Submissions Deadline: April 30, 2009 at Midnight PST.
An epiphany is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has “found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,” or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.