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A Look Back at Nordic Game 08
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Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:12 am Reply and quote this post
The Nordic Game conference feels a little like a family gathering.Despite taking place in a giant corrugated box on an industrial estatein Malmö, Sweden, it’s a considerably more informal and intimate affairthan GDC, with a sense of easy familiarity between delegates – at thisyear’s event, there was even a bit of a singalong.

Ofcourse, this convivial atmosphere partly comes from a sense of sharedpurpose: the conference’s remit is to encourage a unified regionalstand on the international stage, and a good portion of this year’sschedule was given over to worrying about – and celebrating – the stateof Nordic gaming. You might not have known it from the keynotespeeches, however, which were dominated by names from beyond theregion.

UK developer Traveller’s Tales opened theproceedings with an entertaining retrospective on the Lego Star Warsseries. Lego may be a Scandinavian icon, but the story was largely aBritish one – and it was perhaps surprising that this should have led aconference dedicated to Nordic games.

The closing keynoteof the first day similarly strained its relationship with the Nordic,but seemed well received by the audience nonetheless. Zoë Mode’screative director Ste Curran was joined by friends to deliver a seriesof stories about gaming and the videogame industry – climaxing whenTraveller’s Tales’ Jonathan Smith led the audience in a song lamentingthe tedium of so many videogame plots.

Thistheme was more explicitly laid out in the following Q&A session:the best stories about games aren’t those that emerge from their plotsbut one that gamers construct – often with other players. Curran andSmith voiced frustration at gaming’s tendency to ape other linear mediawhen interaction should be the focus. Perhaps this argument was alittle diluted by the fact that so many of the stories related tomultiplayer games; much of their value was clearly a phenomenon ofsocialization, rather than being unarguably the result of interactivemedia itself.

The UK wasn’t the only non-Nordic countryto receive a fair amount of stage time. A rare appearance by FumitoUeda outlined the idiosyncratic production of Ico and Shadow Of TheColossus, while Keiichiro Toyama, creator of Silent Hill, showed Siren:New Translation, the latest game in the franchise.

Despitea greater global influence on the line-up, there remained a largeamount of Scandinavian material – an awards ceremony doled out gongs toThe Darkness and World In Conflict, while another event issued grantsto promising developers – sparking discussion over what the Nordicgovernments should be doing to ensure the region retains creatorsdespite rising costs. It was an issue raised in the conference’sclosing discussion, which brought together representatives from Nordicheavyweights CCP, Remedy and DICE. Even if the conference’s headlineacts strayed from the message of Nordic ascendancy, one thing wasclear: whatever the difficulties that lie ahead for Nordic developers,there’s a resolution to face them together – that’s what families arefor.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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