New month and new chapter released, now it’s the turn of education.
April started like February and March did before, with a new pilot chapter of the series. In this case, the film focused on education and video games, a recurrent topic that has generated interest among researchers, parents, teachers and a large number of players. I thought it would be very useful for a different audience if we compare it with other topics covered by this documentary series. Besides, we have tried to make it as simple as possible in terms of language and concepts, so that everyone interested in the field could understand.
Two events to follow: Madrid Game Conference and IDEAME 2012.
The Gamer Inside is an open project in constant evolution, as we could see this month when I was lucky enough to go to Madrid and attend two astonishing events where I learned a great deal. On one hand, a series of conferences were held in ESNE last Thursday (May 12th) about the role of the video game producer, where some experts in the field shared their experiences in one of the toughest jobs within the industry. Felipe González opened the talks. He is producer at Enigma SP and explained some interesting experiences on the development of Alien Spidy, a game which going to be released in the next months for many distribution platforms for download. He also shared some key reflections on the different jobs he had since he started in the video game industry.
The speeches of Juan Tamargo and Jesús Martínez (from Bitoon Games) were remarkable too. They talked about free-to-play video games and their experience as producers. Their thoughts on the case of Basket Dudes and the challenges to expand the reach of the game in the world (Chinese market, for example) were really interesting. Last but not least, the talk of the veteran César Valencia, who did not mince his words and used a direct and natural style, transmitted an in touch perspective and a dose of realism to the audience about the situation of world industry, in particular the Spanish industry. At the conclusion, I was able to approach the speakers and congratulate them for their expositions. It was an honor to talk with people who have been for so many years working in the video game industry. Alberto Moreno was among them. He is part of Crocodile Entertainment and I shared some conversations with him about social media. He was a really nice in person. I told them about the project, and I could not believe my ears when they all agreed to participate.
On the other hand: IDEAME.
IDEAME is an event organized by Nintendo and UCM (The Complutense University of Madrid). This year was the 4th annual event. Once again, the young Spanish developers and all the people interested in learning more about how an independent video game is developed came together to talk about their experiences and listen to the experts. There were two days (April 14th and 15th) of various and interesting conferences.
Particularly, I enjoyed very much the first conference, with well-known creators like Jools Watsham (Dementium saga), Brian Provinciano (Retro City Rampage) and Magnus Palson (VVVVVV). The moderator was Federico Peinado, professor and researcher in the Master’s Degree on Video Games of the Complutense University. I was granted an interview with Brian and Magnus to ask about their careers and experiences as creators, as well as to know more about their tastes as players. I really liked Magnus’ natural approach, as someone who is constantly learning and evolving his musical style. He also has a big interest in creating his own games. Talking with him in private, I had a feeling that he is going to be one of the important names in the independent scene in the near future. As regards Brian, he is someone who will surprise you with his huge capacity for hard work and discipline. His story with Retro City Rampage is epic. He invested all his money after five years of hard work to create his game and create his own company. Brian knew when to bet and he took it to its logical conclusion, because he knew he would not see the success of his game until it was very advanced, after substantial development.
Lots of amazing interviews, but one was really unique.
My travel to Madrid ended with some interviews with Javier Domínguez (ex-worker of Nintendo Acción), Oscar del Moral (Koch Media) and Amalio Gómez (Axel Springer). But the most shocking and unexpected interview was the one with Neil Harbisson, the first cyborg to be officially recognised by a government. I met him when I visited Audiogames staff members. Harbisson came to try the game prototype, which uses auditory perception as the main component to find our way in the world. For those who do not know who is Neil, he is a young British man who suffers a strange illness he’s had since birth. It is called achromatopsia, a disease that only allows him to see in black and white. He cannot perceive colors in a normal way. To overcome this limitation, Neil installed in his head a third eye (a camera), which allows him to perceive colors. These colors are transmitted to his brain and it translated into musical notes.
It was very inspiring to speak with Neil about his experience as player, musician and composer. I also asked him to know how technology had changed his life. As I was interviewing him, I realized that his life was much like a video game and he a form of avatar. He is in a continuous search to improve his cyborg abilities and a great help for others who want to follow in his footsteps (such as in the cooperative mode of a game). He is an example of the desire in all of us to improve on what we have. The desire to go one step beyond every day.
Before I say goodbye, I would like to tell you that next month we will be finishing the first season of The Gamer Inside. So, you will be able to enjoy the fourth and last pilot chapter, focused on the video game industry in Spain, very soon. On Saturday, May 5th, at 5.30 in the afternoon, the official premiere in RetroMadrid fair, to be held in Matadero de Madrid (metro Legazpi). We hope to see you all there!