The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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2:58pm on Friday, 13th August, 2010:
A while back, I was told by someone from the Game Developers Conference Online that the organising committee had suggested I give an historical perspective talk there this year. Was I interested? I said yes, I was, so they asked me to fill in a proposal form. I replied that I wasn't interested enough to fill in a proposal form, and that was the end of the exchange.
The thing is, if I have to submit a proposal then that means it may well be turned down — there's no point in asking for one otherwise. If it's not going to be turned down then it becomes an invited talk, in which case I don't need to fill in a proposal form. There are three reasons why submitting a proposal isn't appealing to me:
As it happened, the first point did come into play. About a week later I was asked to speak at a conference in Copenhagen (that came with a €1,000 honorarium on top of travel/hotel costs), so I accepted.
Just before I went on holiday, I heard from GDC Online again. It turned out that the request to give a talk on the history of virtual worlds, while genuine, was also a ruse to get me over there. They actually wanted to give me an award — the first Online Game Legend Award. Somewhat thrilled, I accepted, told the people in Copenhagen the bad news that I had to pull out, told my wife the bad news that I was €1,000 down, and told the Head of Department at Essex University why I would not be present for Freshers' Week.
The press releases went out yesterday, so it looks as if I'm not the victim of an elaborate hoax. I really am, apparently, going to be a legend in my own lifetime. I'm humbled, gleeful, disbelieving and grateful all at once. I'm also surprised — I thought you had to make millions before qualifying for such an honour. (Strictly speaking, of course, I have made millions — just not for me).
Responses to the press release so far include paraphrases that make it sound as if I designed Ultima Online and one that cheerfully begins "Whether you like Richard Bartle or not".
Oh well, tra la la, I don't care — I get to be an official legend.
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