Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The spirit of NG06

This year Nordic Game Conference was bigger and more international than ever before (this was the 3rd year of NGC). I was really delighted to see the presentations of Masuyama-san, Heather Kelley and Julian Dibbel. Masuyama was one of the first names which pop up at the mid 1990s when I started doing research on digital games. Masuyama & co had published a book titled TV Games in 1988. I remember grumbling how there were only a few books written of games and those book were either in Japanese or French (Le Diberder, A. & Le Diberder, F. L’univers des jeux vidéo. La découverte, 1998). I still can't read Japanese but at least I had an opportunity to listen Masuyama's talk of money games and his work as a curator.

Masuyama and Julian Dibbel both gave some fresh viewpoints to the discussion of real money trade (RMT). It is evident tha real world value system amongst other IRL activities effect to the virtual worlds and interaction between people (/avatars). Both of these gentlemen gave nice examples of RMT. Masuyama has made cash games for kids (playing cards) and Stock trading simulation for DS (Konami 2006). Mr Dibbel on the other hand had visited Chinese goldfarms and observed sweatshop workers taking two shifts: 8.30 am - 8.30 pm and 8.30 pm - 8.30 am when developing WoW characters. According to Mr. Dibbel they had 45 minutes lunch break and two hours for resting during the shift. And often during the two hour break they relaxed by playing WoW. How weird is that :)? Another noteworthy perception was that for example Americal Apparel had opened a store at the Second Life.
Check Julian Dibbel's book PlayMoney.

I can't say that much about Heather Kelley because I had my own presentation at the same time :( But you'll get an idea of her works from the Internet. She is great (see photo of 'Geeky girls' Heather Kelley and Åsa Roos (Sulake) at the Buddha Lounge).

Was Nordic Game worth of time and effort? Yes! Once again Scandinavian superman Eric Robertson had dragged an inspiring group of people to Malmö. I got some good (!) ideas and enjoyed delicious meals/good company :) The minus side was that there were too many parallel sessions. Also it was a bit difficult to choose between the sessions just on the grounds of a title of the talk.

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