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GameCity Meeting – Connected Nottingham, National Videogame Archive and …Charades!

Literal "Seed Analogy", sigh

Groan. Seed analogy for a company who is in Biosience.

Last Thursday evening I was able to attend some Gamecity things – firstly, the Connected Nottingham set of talks, which were from companies involved in the initiative and stating what they’ve done and are doing. See my gallery for some shots of this, the most groan-worthy one was the seed analogy on the right. It does seem there are some good active projects, and some totally business buzzword ones too.

Gamecity - The wanted reaction

How Iain wanted everyone at GameCity to react

The most interesting one was Iain Simons putting forward his great plans for GameCity:

  • GameCity TV – Free, online, HD footage from the previous years and newly recorded footage.
  • OpenGameCity – An open platform for user generated content.
  • GameCitizens – A community site, feedback, forums and integration into existing sites like Facebook

He did also explain about the National Videogame Archive – they have an updated site, and the work done through Nottingham Trent University is going well.

Iain and James

Iain and James (with their Wii avatars) discussing the archive

After this we went along to The Peacock to hear about the NVA from Dr. James Newman and Iain. It was going to be a curry at the Mogal, but this was called off due to a wedding ;)

The talk was enthusiastic, with a lot of great information on how the project was going and a lot on why it is going. The first thing they brought up was “Where’s Horace?” – the game Horace’s Ski Run was shown, and is a game that is unplayable today since no where sells it. Iain said he wanted to start the idea with James after reading James’ The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame. Iain wrote to James and got the idea rolling. They wrote the book 100 Videogames, where they found they could have put thousands of entries in – but the problem was, where do you find these old games to play?

Supersession was the main topic that came from that – the form of forced obsolescence (in software and hardware) and the nature of being dissatisfied with the current games, since magazines do so much previewing and everyone is putting out the idea that the next is always the best.

They set out the mission statement (below) but categorically stated that the archive is not to play the items, and it is different to a museum. The final main point was the archive had secured funding from the DCMS, and had visited the National Archives, so are setup to be a very permanent project.

Mission Statement

The archives mission statement

The talk was also a discussion too – people did shout suggestions and bring up topics or points to agree or disagree with James or Iain (some merged into the notes above). Horace was also spotted a few times for prizes :) Interesting stuff! Some more pictures in my gallery too.

Next came, of all things, Game Charades. I made a video, which was is both of half-drunken quality and terrible sound (my camera keeps peaking and cutting out sound). You also can’t see much. For those brave of heart, or who want to hear how no one got Defender, go take a gander (it’s not on Youtube, it’s 12 minutes long so won’t go on. Thanks Google! :( ).

The final thing was GameCity itself – Iain wanted to discuss the name – currently it was planned to be “GameCity [squared]” since it was fully going to be based around the main square (somehow, since I’m not sure how talks would do with trams running past!). Suggestions ranged from not using anything more then GameCity (my preference) or maybe having just a subtitle left out of the main logo, to some ideas like Game4City, GameCity 4, GameCity 2009, and others (many I can’t remember, I hope they wrote them down).

The other thing to take away from the event was it was advertised only on Twitter and Facebook – everyone I chatted to commented that Iain needed to send out a proper news announcement more then 2 days in advance ;) but it was an interesting experiment.

I hope to see those GameCity sites go up soon :) and also maybe see more NVA news which I am sure to report on Preservation SIG blog.

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