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Exhibiting Difficult Games

I think a lot of games curators will have spent today thinking about this post by Nathalie Lawhead, in which Lawhead recounts a recent experience of showing her game Everything is going to be OK at an event. The experience as she tells it has positive elements but was overall pretty stressful, with a lot of moments where players performed youtube-style “what is this WEIRD GAME” baffled screaming. Her experience was clearly not the best; Lawhead’s game is in some ways inaccessible and it rejects many of the conventions that make games easy to grasp in a crowded expo or exhibition environment. She writes:

I feel like, if you show games like this to total consumers audience, you have to prepare the audience for it. The setting and context has to be differentiated. You HAVE to create a space that basically screams “THESE ARE ART DON’T EXPECT A TRADITIONAL GAME”. You have to make some kind of point that people have to be open minded. Create a space that encourages respect.

August physical play roundup

The word "big" chalked onto bricks

It’s August! As always there’s some open calls and conferences and games going on, but there’s also a lot of interesting writing around this month.

Open Calls

WordPlay is back in Toronto and has an open call out for games and talks relating to the use of words in contemporary games. Games that are accepted for the showcase receive an artist fee of $80.

And Game on! El arte en juego, in Buenos Aires, also has a call out for an event to take place in December. The google form to submit a game is here. (No artist fee or travel support currently available, but past iterations of the event have obviously been great). They’re keen on experimental games, interactive playful objects, strange controllers and all sorts.

July physical play roundup

July! And here’s some of what’s going on in city play and physical games…

Open Calls

The Interesting Games Lab is back in Bristol, after a long sleep of quite a few years! This is really exciting –  Iglab was one of the earliest regular events for games with a big physical component, letting people meet up and playtest and  discuss their medium. It’s so fantastic to see it back with a run of events over the latter half of the year. The next Iglab (now run by Free Ice Cream) is on 25 July, or you can submit a game (there’s a selection of themes) for another event in the run.

And in London, Beta Public – a night of performance and videogames – has been announced for 13 November. They don’t have a call for at a bit of info about the event (or book tickets).