Video Games Culture

Video games are an incredible, evolving art form which offer emotional attachment, moral exploration and team building like no other medium. Carrying on from last year's discussions on the culture and community surrounding video games, we're looking to hear more from the ones pushing the artistic movement forward: indie developers. If you want to know how to make that first game, make a game great for everyone or get people to see your games, then this may be the track for you!

Indie Game Jam: Fairytales Retold

We're hosting a game jam in advance of the event, concluding in a series of talks and workshops on the Friday of the convention, where submitters will get a chance to come and discuss their games, learn more about game making, and participate in an indie and newbie focused conference. This year's game jam theme is Fairytales Retold, and submissions are open from 15th June til 15th July. Find out more at the interactive FAQ.

Fairytales are told all over the world, so why not have a look for some you might not know? That, or take an old beloved and give it a brand new setting and an interesting genre swap. Whether you want to go grimdark or fluffy and light, we've got space for whatever you can create. Since Nine Worlds is all about inclusivity, the more diverse your game is, the better. Check out the game jam website for resources and inspiration.

Friday: Indie Game Jam Conference

Indie Haven chats
Time: 9:00-10:00 & various, room 38
The wonderful people from Indie Haven will be on hand all day chatting to indie developers new and old about their games and the rest of games culture.

Indie Marketing
Time: 10:00-11:00, room 38
You may have unparalleled art direction, the finest narrative immersion, and the most satisfying mechanics, but if no-one has heard of your game then no-one will be able to appreciate all your hard work. Our panel of press, marketing and PR people will give you the best tips on how to get people playing your games.
Natalie Griffith, Laura Kate Dale, George Osborn, Russ Clarke

Failing Faster
Time: 11:45-12:45, room 38
Every good game starts with a great idea - you know, for the story, the gameplay, the world-building, the scripting, the...wait. Stop. There’s a better way to get going, and that’s the idea of failing faster: you’ll have a lot of failures before you hit the right approach, and the sooner you find them, the easier they’ll be to fix. Instead of trying to do everything at once, we’ll talk about the best ways to get your prototypes up to speed - and avoid having to scrap everything over one tiny mistake!
Gemma Thomson, Dan Pearce

Meet ALL the people
Time: 1:30-2:30, room 38
Carrying on from the morning’s Indie Haven chats, the IH team will be around, looking to talk games with anyone and everyone! And, since we expect they’ll be swamped, we’re also opening this up to everyone. Got a game you want some feedback on? Looking to meet other UK devs? Or maybe you just really like playing games and fancy seeing what other people are up to? This slot will be whatever you want it to be, so come along and get involved!

Writing Better Characters
Time: 3:15-4:15, room 38
Game stories often get the short end of the stick when people are working out where to spend their time, but starting off with strong characters can help get you through that. Our panel of writers are here to help you get strong, unique characters into your games and avoid the trap of falling back on tired old defaults.
Jack deQuidt, Meg Jayanth, Helen Gould

Need-to-Know About The Indie Life
Time: 5:00-6:00, room 38
So, you want to be an indie dev. Or maybe you are, but you’re wondering if you quite ‘get’ how things are done. We’ll look at the pitfalls, the problems and potential financial woes you might encounter - alongside the best way to chat to your fans, and getting to know the UK scene. Basically, if it’d be a useful thing for you to know, we’ll talk about it. And if we don’t? There’s plenty of chance for questions!
Kim Blake, Quinn

The Mechanisms
Time: 6:30-8:30, Commonwealth East
The Mechanisms are a bunch of steampunk space pirates who enjoy telling stories about their exploits through the medium of music. Give our game jam theme of fairytale retellings, we thought we’d leave you time to enjoy them first hand! Go check out their sets: Ulysses Dies at Dawn and High Noon Over Camelot.

Sex in Games - with the Geek Feminism track
Time: 8:30-9:45, Royal B
Whatever your stance on the matter, there's no denying sex is a pretty big part of our culture, and any game that tackles the subject of sex is "clearly more mature and an example of the progression of the industry" ... or, is it? Our panel will be discussing the portrayals of sex and sexuality in games, from the good to the bad to the downright bizarre.
Cara Ellison, Meg Jayanth, Gemma Thomson, Laura Buttrick


Philosophy in Games
10:00-11:15, Room 38
Ever wondered whether video games have the potential to allow us to test out ethical theories and how practical they are (hint: yes). Or perhaps you’re wondering if the deterministic nature of the genre can tell us something about our own world (hint: yes). Maybe you’re just wondering about the nature of identity, and if anyone has looked at the implications of an online avatar (hint: yes). Come and join in our discussion of philosophy and games, where we’ll look at all this - and more.
Joseph Garvin, Jordan Erica Webber, John Brindle, Dan Griliopolous

Game Police vs. Indies
Royal C&D, 11:45-13:00
Video games are still a rapidly evolving medium which are trying to find themselves within the wider cultural context. And in such a medium, packed with talented people who are constantly pushing the limits of what games can be, is it even possible to say what a game is any more? Of course it is. According to the Game Police, anyway! Come see them take the indies who dare to create “things which are not games” to task!

Twine for Beginners Workshop - with the LGBTQAI+ Fandom track
Time: 5:00-6:15, Connaught B
Want to make a game, but feel intimidated by how much you'd need to learn up front? Well we're here to show you that doesn't have to be the case - if you can write some paragraphs (and follow some simple rules), then you can make a game with Twine! This session will cover the absolute basics: writing pages, linking them together and remembering what people do to change how the story behaves. If you can, bring a laptop and you can start getting your stories to a playable state!
Jack deQuidt, Laura Kate Dale


Advanced Twine Workshop
Time: 10:00-11:15, Connaught B
So you’ve got the basics of Twine down: you’ve made a few stories, remembered some variables and maybe even played with the styling. But maybe you want to see what else it can do? Well, this is the session to show you just that: arrays, objects, macros and more, we’ll show you how to get your games to do exactly what you want. Bring a laptop to work on your own stuff, or just check out the others.

Time 11:45-1:00, Royal C&D
Male, Pale, and Stale: Character Creation in Gaming
‘Ideal’ Control Methods and Antisimulation
Narrative Nobodies: The death of the characterful protagonist in videogames

Time: 3:15-4.30, Connaught A
Environmental Narrative and the Silent Story
Actions, Choices, and Immersion – What can philosophers tell us?

Cara’s Fireside
Time: 8:30-9:45
Once again, we'll be rounding out the convention in front of Cara's fireplace for a relaxed evening chat about life, video games, and whatever catches her and her guest’s interest.
Cara Ellison, Kieron Gillen


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