Larry Hosken: New: Tag: double-fine

Notes on "Presentation and conversation with Nonchalance" Adventure Design Group Meetup

I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to keep secret some things I learned at Nonchalance's presentation at the Adventure Design Group hosted by the lovely Go Game people. But I'm not sure exactly what; not all of the presenters were mic'd so well. So I won't say much; maybe I'm saying even less than is allowed. I'm not being coy, just not so sure what was requested; there were many syllables but not all reached me.

Not that the presentation was spoiler-y. A panel of GC members addressed the crowd. They talked about the feeling they were trying to evoke; I'm guessing the feeling they're trying to evoke with their experience-in-development. (Later on, they said that the games of Nonchalance had had the mood of whimsy and absurdity, but that they'd perhaps drifted into that instead of that having been the plan from the beginning. So…maybe it's interesting that they're telling us the mood they're going for, like a pool player calling a shot.) But there was plenty of coy we-can't-tell-you-because-oo-woo-secret-squirrel-club stuff going on, too.

(Still, even amongst the coyness there was stuff to gnaw on. A member of GC led the audience in an activity. That's not so weird. Except—this GC member also mentioned that she's very much into personal agency. So it was strange…out of all the members of GC, why have her lead the audience in an activity in which we weren't really doing things very deliberately, but just following instructions? Just a coincidence? Some manipulation by a leader GC who's spent a lot of time thinking about cults and Esalen? Or…or maybe I just needed more to keep my brain busy as we got past the crafted presentation and it was gnawing on stuff that wasn't there?)

Afterwards, there was Q&A, and it started out with more cutesy evasions. But then we got an answer that was, while not spoiler-y, not gratuitously hiding stuff either. Ellen Juhlin asked: why give a presentation then? But she was kinda hesitating as she asked it, because by the time the microphone got to her, we'd got a straight answer or two. On GC, Jeff Hull says he doesn't like to talk about his art. But Uriah Findley and Kat Meler were able to talk about what they're trying to do. It's not easy stuff to talk about; and when it comes to describing experiences, words are treacherous—the memory some word triggers in my head isn't the same as the memory it triggers in yours, of course. But you could get an idea: why choose this medium instead of another. What makes a compelling experience. If participants change their life in X way after playing, these artists might have a sense that they've succeeded.

So it started out as cute-but-I-dunno-if-I-wanted-to-stay-out-late-for-this, but the Q&A got interesting.

Before the event, many folks announced upcoming projects. Usually there are perhaps three announced; this time there were a lot. Maybe a dozen? A lot. Allen called for DASH volunteers. Nikolai talked about an upcoming SMS puzzlehunt that Mastermind is running(?). Other folks talked about other games.

Amongst the upcoming events: along with the usual artists-I-haven't-heard-of, a couple of familiar names: Brandon Dillon and JP LeBreton of Doublefine. I'm hoping that they'll talk about Hack and Slash, a game which "breaks the fourth wall" for computer nerds. I played a sort of proof-of-concept version of the game: it's a computer game that came with its source code. You could figure out how to do things in the game by playing the game... or by reading the source code. That's an oversimplification, but I really liked the way that game messed with the usual boundaries.

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