On November 14th, from the bustling halls of Gamercamp Lv2, some key members of Toronto’s games media sisterhood came together to record an impromptu video podcast. Featured here is Toronto Thumbs’ Jorge Figueiredo, Don Tam of GameNorth, freelancer Dana Russo, who contributes to both Thumbs and GN, Comics & Gaming Monthly’s Eric Weiss, Electric Playground’s Shaun Hatton and me, Brady Curlew’s Brady Curlew. Look out for epic cameo appearances by Zen Rankin’s Super Mario Bros. vest and chiptuners Anamanaguchi.
Since this recording was rather spur of the moment, it’s a nice mix of playful irreverance and insightful, in-the-moment commentary about this year’s Gamercamp. Indeed, we share our thoughts on everything from Mathew Kumar’s pointed Gamercamp keynote which furiously critiqued the state of the gaming press to the corporate evils of those who manufacture Lucky Charms cereal. Residents of Moose Jaw, SK should observe the following with several grains of salt.
On Sunday November 14th, as Gamercamp Level 2 was winding down, Comics & Gaming Monthly’s Eric Weiss, GameNorth’s Don Tam and I spoke with event organizers Mark Rabo and Jaime Woo. For the uninitiated, Gamercamp is a now-annual celebration of the art, creativity and community involved with games in Toronto, featuring everything from developer presentations to retro gaming stations to a nostalgic cereal breakfast at which attendees were encouraged to wear pyjamas. Over the course of our time with Mark and Jaime, we discussed the roots of Gamercamp, their thoughts on the Toronto video games community and what the future holds for their event. Finally, the pair revealed details to us about the recently announced Gamercamp Jr.
Brady Curlew: We’d like to have a general, post-event discussion with you guys to get your impressions about Gamercamp Level 2. How do you think the weekend went?
Jaime Woo: Mark and I are very proud to have organized this year’s Gamercamp. We tried to listen to what people wanted, and it seems now like people liked what they experienced.
In 2001, author Ray Bradbury gave an interview to Salon.com in which he suggested video games were “a waste of time for men with nothing else to do.” Since Bradbury’s judgement is undeniably true, it means the many men who invest time in the culture of digital games are free on the weekend of November 13-14, 2010. I wonder if women players are free then as well?
Let’s hope so, because that just happens to be when Gamercamp Level 2 plays out in Toronto. The enchanced sequel to last year’s inaugural event, Gamercamp 2010 promises to be an insightful and entertaining celebration of games, game makers and game players.
The weekend includes twenty-five speakers, including keynote presentations by Jim Zubkavich, creative mind behind UDON Entertainment, Stéphane Boutin, artist behind the look of Ubisoft’s recent Scott Pilgrim game, exp publisher and journalist Mathew Kumar, as well as the dream team behind the upcoming Swords and Sworcery iOS game. Also featured are talks by, among others, Untold Entertainment’s Ryan Henson Creighton, OCAD’s Emma Westecott, IGDA Toronto’s Lesley Phord-Toy and a host of local indie game development talent.
However, far from being a simple industry event, Gamercamp taps into games as conduits of play that tie together developers and players. Unlike events that focus only on the technical or economic side of gaming, Gamercamp provides an opportunity to bridge the distance between creaters and audiences by being designed to provide insight and context about games and their makers, something organizers liken to the DVD commentaries for films.
I asked Gamercamp’s founders Mark Rabo and Jaime Woo about the root motivations behind organizing an event that aims to provide such context and commentary about digital game culture, while providing opportunities for attendees to engage with, learn about, and get inspired to create games.