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and copywriter Sean McManus

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May 2011

What I learned about writing games at GameCamp

Photo of Pac Man board gameWhat happens when you get a couple of hundred gamers and game creators in a room and ask them to dream up their own conference?

Last weekend the fourth GameCamp took place in London, a so-called unconference event where attendees were encouraged to set their own agenda on the day. Anyone could propose a talk by writing it on the whiteboard. Anyone else interested could join them in the same room at the proposed time. You might think thatís a recipe for chaos, but there were enough people with good topic ideas, and plenty more willing to chip in during the discussions, to create a sparky and fun conference, fizzing with ideas.

The day included sessions dedicated to playtesting a board game created by an oil company to promote environmental awareness (which got a hearty laugh when announced), "lemon jousting" (a game where two players each balance a lemon on a wooden spoon while trying to knock their playerís lemon off with another spoon), and several board games, including Pac Man (see my photo, above).

There were lots of ideas and discussions on the day, but here are some of the things I learned about games and game writing:

Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas on the day. Because of the nature of the event, it isnít possible to credit everyone who contributed with the ideas above, so apologies if Iíve missed out any important credits. Contact me to let me know if so.

You can play my Javascript games here and if you're into retrogames, you can download my games for the Amstrad CPC here.