Last Friday I attended Playful’11 at the Conway Hall, an annual event that’s all about the latest developments and musings on an eclectic mixture of tech, games and play. It covered everything from the development of blockbuster games and the potential of talking buildings, to a number of speakers lamenting how the future promised us moon bases but ended upgiving us Argos. Playful was an enlightening and engaging day full of brilliant speakers and some eye opening insights on a rapidly evolving area. It also had probably the highest concentration of iPhones, tweetdeck and facial hair in the London area (excluding Shoreditch).
So what were some of the key points I took home from the day?
1) In gaming today, a lot of the best new innovations in visuals, narrative and gameplay come from indie developers – where they lead, the bigplayers are sure to follow (and then copy).
2) That this generation of young children have undergone a massive paradigm shift in how they interact with technology – with an assumption that every ‘glowing rectangle’ they see is a touch screen (check out the video at the bottom of the post).
3) That as developers we need to remember that playing is about allowing people to be spontaneous and use their imaginations – and not always about competition, the racking up of scores, xp points or ‘pwning’.
4) That we still aren’t anywhere close to trusting machines on their own to fulfil anything beyond the even the simplest of tasks (as anyone who’s had to use an automated checkout can testify).
5) That the Internet of Things needs to be approached from a totally different angle – there’s no magic, joy or silliness to be had. Just boring efficiency. If anyone can properly address this problem, there are ridiculous amounts of money (and kudos) to be had.
Playful is a great event that had the perfect combination of insight and humour, and I’ll definitely be attending the next one.
Tom is a development producer at The Connected Set, to get in touch email tom “at” theconnectedset “dot” tv