Skip to main content

GDC 10 Serious Games Summit: Seriously, Make Your Game!

Via: Game Developers Conference 2010 - Serious Games Summit

SGS Session: Seriously, Make YOUR Game!

Speakers: Jason Rohrer (Independent), Paolo Pedercini, Ian Bogost (Associate Professor, The Georgia Institute of Technology)

Session Description

Two top indie developers inspire us to get things done.

Featuring a talk by Jason Rohrer (Passage, Between) titled E For Everyone: Making a mature game for the DS and by Paolo Pedercini (aka La Molleindustria, Every Day the Same Dream, McDonald's Videogame) Corrupting your Children.

The talks will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with Ian Bogost about the creators' work and what Serious Games developers of all types can learn from it.

About the Speakers

Jason Rohrer is an independent game artist, programmer, and critic. His 2007 release, Passage, received widespread critical acclaim, with Wired's Clive Thompson writing “More than any game I've ever played, it illustrates how a game can be a fantastically expressive, artistic vehicle for exploring the human condition.”

Passage is an art project that shows you life till the end.

There’s no prescribed objective. This app is an effigy of the real life. You start your journey alone and after a short time you meet a woman. Together you go through life, manage problems, grow old and die at the end. The whole experience takes five minutes. It has a beautiful soundtrack and an old school pixel graphic that strangely make the whole idea behind passage even more real and touching.

His 2008 release, Gravitation, won the Jury Prize at IndieCade, and Between won the Innovation Award at the 2009 Independent Games Festival. Rohrer was featured in Esquire's December 2008 Genius Issue along with 27 other innovators.

In Between, you know exactly what you need to do -- you can see it shimmering right there in front of you. You can see it while dreaming, too, and the difference has become subtle. Dreams wake into dreams, and people blend in and out: real characters and dream characters, all woven into the same script. Finally, they fade completely, and you're alone in the expanse with the construction. With time, you feel something growing, a pinhole that eventually yawns into a deep ravine of longing. The construction languishes, though the expanse seems indifferent.

One night, in a dream, they appear: things that you clearly could not have conjured on your own. Not snowflakes. Not the self-similar forms of leaves. Not distant planets' erosion networks as viewed through telescopes. Not those things that are beautifully external but lack the signatures of consciousness. These things that appear are ugly and non-procedural: indecipherable transmissions bubbling up through static, faded messages floating in bottles, and charcoal handprints on cave walls. Evidence has reached you through time of unknown duration and distance of unknown magnitude, but stale evidence is still evidence.

-- Jason Rohrer, November 4, 2008

Between is a game for two players linked by a network server. You can play with a friend or find a stranger on the server. There is no single-player mode. (If you must play in the same room as your partner, do not look at your partner's screen -- it will spoil the effect of the game).

Paolo Pedercini was born in 1981, somewhere in Northern Italy; he's currently based in Pittsburgh after surviving in Milan, studying in Troy, NY and lounging around in Brooklyn.

At the present moment he's a visiting professor, teaching classes as Game Design for Artists, mavericks and troublemakers or Electronic Media Studio I at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Art: a game designer working under the project name Molleindustria.

Molleindustria is an Italian team of artists, designers and programmers that aims at starting a serious discussion about social and political implications of videogames. This will involve media activists, net-artists, habitual players and critics and detractors of videogames.

They chose to start with online gaming in order to sidestep mainstream distribution channels and to overcome their lack of means. Using simple but sharp games they hope to give a starting point for a new generation of critical game developers and, above all, to experiment with practices that can be easily emulated and virally diffused.

They believe we can no longer consider videogaming as a marginal element of our everyday lives. In recent years, the turnover of the videogame industry has exceeded that of cinema, and there is a growing number of adult and female players.

There are more frequent overlaps with other media: there are videogames for advertisements (advergames), for educational purposes and for electoral propaganda. How did videogames become such a central element of the mediascape?

During the second half of the nineties, major entertainment corporations extended their activities in this sector and extinguished or absorbed small producers.

Now videogames are an integral part of the global cultural industry, and they are in a strategic position in the ongoing processes of media convergence. These developments inhibit the political and artistic emancipation of this medium: every code line is written for the profit of a big corporation.