It’s that time again where those of you who couldn’t come along to the last VideoBrains, or just want to experience it all over again, get to experience the talks – and some of the best tweets – in all their glory. We had the theme of Uncharted this month – inspiring our speakers to talk about the places they’ve been, both in games and on this big ol’ planet.
We started off with Nicholas Rush, who told the unique stories he has about his time as a tour guide in Chernobyl. Some games have used the structures and areas in the exclusion zone as inspiration, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl being one of the most famous examples. It has been used so much that some people who visited actually recognised and could navigate the area. It’s common to recognise places in games set somewhere you live, but seeing the reverse is uncanny.
A tour guide describing his job as an escort mission. Apt. #VideoBrains
— Tom Kelly (@MisterTomKelly) March 29, 2016
It has been over 2 decades since a new episode of The Crystal Maze has graced our screens, but that hasn’t stopped a new Escape Game being set up in London set to the theme of the greatest of game shows. Luke Graham has played it, and found some interesting parallels (and differences!) between it, as a game in real life, and the videogames we play.
In his second talk as a resident speaker here at VideoBrains, Rob Morgan continued his series on the narrative utility belt of videogames, where he puts names and hashtags to the moments and devices in games we all recognise. This month focused gaming’s own usage of mimesis, dubbed me-me-mesis by Rob.
"Journey's lack of definite objective draws attention to how our attention is drawn" how eloquent #videobrains
— Jonathan Lilly (@JKBLilly) March 29, 2016
Open worlds can be fantastic lands to explore, or they can be a vast expanse of nothing that simply act as a link between points A, B, and C. Emma Boyle spoke about how these open worlds, and her love-hate relationship with them, especially with fast travelling.
There’s a big difference between how we move around spaces in real life and in games, and if you play games enough, you realise how the different rules work in games. Some games, though, don’t work in the way you’d think a game would, Alice Bell argues, and it’s sometimes hard to know how the places in games actually work as the rules between game worlds and real ones can blur together.
To finish off the evening, Thomas McMullan spoke about The Untameable City, and the ways games create metropolises that emulate the impossibly complex systems of the cities we get to play in. He closed out in a poetic fashion, with the wonderful poem The Seven Old Men, by Charles Baudelaire, ending VideoBrains March in a lovely manner!
Fear not, though, as VideoBrains April: The Swapper is just days away! Featuring James Parker, Helen Gould, Thryn Henderson, Sean Cleaver, Olivia Wood, and our resident speaker Rob Morgan, it will be fantastic. Get your tickets now!
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We’ll be seeing you at VideoBrains April!