I went to Gamecamp. It’s becoming quite common in reports of this event to wax lyrical about the location for a little while first, so I’ll do that. It was held at 3Rooms (I’m sixth from the left in that photo), which is a PR venue belonging to Sony’s PlayStation division. Effectively, it’s where they take journalists to demo new products.
Level 1 is white. It’s a large loft-style space, split into areas with screens and curtains and shelves, with textures and soft furnishings everywhere, bright splashes of colour, Huge Sony Bravia TVs everywhere (all with PS3s attached) sunken sofas, shelves full of interesting-looking tat, bright and airy and absolutely glorious.
Level 2 is black. It’s a dark bar with mirrored surfaces and a (non-alcoholic) bar, with a raised area surrounded by sofas and a coffee table with board games. There are huge jars of Jelly-Belly scattered around, and a large projection screen with a PS3 attached.
Level 3 is green. It’s is a roof garden with views over central London, wooden tables and chairs, sofas and plants. Relaxing and bright.
The entire building is exactly where I would live if I didn’t have limitations of money. I am not in any way kidding, it’s wonderful, and designed specifically for me.
Enough about the venue.
Reports about the event are around from mssrs Gillen and Curran, and are entirely accurate and worthwhile. It was an “Unconference” style thing, in the style of Foo & BarCamp and other such events. I ended up going to a session on “Indy tabletop RPG games are flourishing. We’re not competing with computer games. Really. We mean it. See? They don’t scare us with their billion dollar budgets. Not even a little” and another on how to play a russian card game called Durak. After that I kind of got distracted by Echochrome and Rock Band. I went to a session on “The Revolution” in which under-21 gamers got shot, the Wii didn’t, and mandatory installs did. The sessions I did go to were fun, and though them I’ve become more interested in indy roleplaying games – since that was the aim of my first session, that’s probably a good thing – including Dogs In The Vineyard, a game about Mormon cowboys. I should set one of these up at some point. Also there was the inventor of the game Baron Munchausen, which various people in Cambridge were playing while I was Maelfrothing a couple of weeks back. The entire event was wonderful, and I look forward to the next.
The (video) games that I played:
Echochrome, upon which I’ve splattered forth fanboyism before is quite good, but doesn’t live up to the idea. The controls are a little slow – often you’ll fail a level because you simply can’t rotate the screen fast enough – and imperfect (Sometimes you’ll connect up a ledge but it doesn’t connect because it needed to be connected at the edge 90o instead). It may have been that the demo came from early code, though. Either way, since I have neither a PS3 or a PSP, it’s all distinctly academic.
Rock Band Rocks. There is little more I have to say. I spent more time on guitar than anything else, simply because there were two of them. Drumming is hard, singing is easy, YMMV. Guitar is the most polished of the experiences, fairly obviously, but the ability to declare both players as lead guitar fails on 90% of the library as it simply randomly assigns one to be the bass line if it only has one guitar track. I sang Creep, by Radiohead. I do that a lot.
GTA4 also rocks, but you possibly don’t need me to tell you that bit.