A Blogpost ... Much Too Late

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Much has happened around me since my last blogpost. There is a new Black Ops  on the shop shelves and Altair's descendant is now in America. I didn't buy Assassin's Creed 3 despite the overzealous shop attendant's insistence. Kind of regretting it now. The past two months haven't seen a dearth of gaming activity though - despite the pains of my teaching job. I visited Pune to speak at the NASSCOM Game Development Conference and it is this experience that keeps coming to mind.

Of course, for the regulars in the industry, this post must seem to be irrelevant. Everything that could have been said has been said already. However, one likes to replay old games once in a while. This is such a reload. This year's theme was the rise of the Indies. Despite all the euphoria and the promise, I don't know how much of a 'rise' theirs has been. The stories I hear are still those of one-room offices, bit-work for third parties and teams getting smaller; however, it is my indie friends that give me hope when they tell me that they look for art in games, that one does not need to be born a coder to be able to make games and that passion and not downloads in the Android Marketplace can still be a factor to respect. I met many of the famous people in the Indian industry here - indeed, that was my main reason to go to Pune. Somehow, against all prevailing wisdom I still obstinately want to believe that the mobile phone is not the be-all and end-all for gaming in India; consoles and pcs have a future too. I also believe in the importance of good stories in gameplay and I believe in the day when arthouse games will be a reality.

My own talk was a rather loud shout into the air - another call for academia, designers and industry to come together. I spoke about walkthroughs, after-action reports and of course, as always, the story in the game. Met many interesting people after the talk (the curiously named Pinastro is one I will always remember) and certainly the many gaming personalities from all over India.

I simply cannot forget two things though - the panel of women game designers and the talks by two Italian game designers on two most strange game ideas. The women rocked! When they recounted their struggles in the industry and their vision, they had the whole hall clapping. One of the participants was Mousumi Paul from Calcutta - again giving me hope that there are possibilities to explore in the city. Paul has of course had to leave the city and start working in Pune. The next thing was the game that Stefano Gualeni (whom I had met in Athens) demo-ed. This was a game designed to test out David Hume's philosophy; Stefano then went on to show how biometric data could be used to change gameplay. The final presentation that I attended was  on gameplay that was all about glitches. Bizarre but impressive!

As I look at my conference mementos, this is a lesson learned: this was one of the best conferences in India that I attended and I did not blog it in time. Someday I need to rummage in my notes again.

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