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8:17pm on Thursday, 30th October, 2014:



I went to Nottingham today to speak at the GameCity event. I only had to do three things:
1) Be interviewed then give my future of VR shaggy dog story.
2) Be on a three-person panel talking about how great text is for games.
3) Sign a wall.

Only now, as I type this, have I remembered about 3). Sigh...

GameCity now has a five-storey building in the middle of Nottingham, which it has secured as the National Video Game Arcade, a cultural centre for video games (although from what I saw they have board games too) (and text games, which is why I was there). It's really impressive, there's a lot of space there. Having access to the contents of the National Videogame Archive (which is split between Nottingham Trent University and the National Media Museum in Bradford) will help them fill it, but they have a lot of plans so I don't expect they'll be able to display much.

Nottingham Trent, by the way, is one of two universities in Nottingham. To give a footballing metaphor, Nottingham University plays in the Premier League and Nottingham Trent is in League 1, pressing for promotion to the Championship. The fact that it's Nottingham Trent that has backed this, rather than Nottingham, speaks volumes about the way that computer games are treated by the academic establishment. Nottingham University should be ashamed of itself that it hasn't got involved with this project somehow. Ian Livingstone, the country's most senior and respected games industry figure, was at the event. I didn't see academics from Nottingham University queuing up to speak to him, though...

I had to leave the event early to get back to Colchester by 7pm, which meant I missed the talk by Zoë Quinn — currently at the centre of the GamerGate controversy through no fault of her own (unless you count being female as something that's her fault). I'd have liked to have heard what she had to say, although I don't think I could have said anything to her myself without sounding patronising, albeit well-meaningly so, which is probably not what she needs right now. What she does need, as she said in a BBC interview today, is for industry figures should "stand up and condemn" GamerGate. Personally, I'm not one to condemn organisations, because that means I'm attacking a veil, not the people behind the veil. GamerGate seems to consist of griefers, trolls, dupes and naïve gamers. Some are bona fide criminals; some are merely misguided, but they're giving legitimacy to the griefers by associating with them (and are still wrong). I condemn the former; the latter will come round eventually when they realise their fears are unfounded.

Hmm, given GamerGate, I can see how the academic establishment might actually want to talk to Zoë Quinn, even if they don't want to speak to Ian Livingstone. You could probably get a publication out of the former, but not the latter. It's not just a certain type of gamer who treats people as if they were NPCs...

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).