Yesterday, the Guardian ran a GameCamp in London, helped a lot by Sony who provided the venue at their 3Rooms building in Shoreditch. By shear co-incidence, there was a Gamecamp in Toronto on the same day, the difference being that the London one was based on the BarCamp premise of a self organising day for sessions whereas the Toronto one was a more traditional planned conference. I helped organise this, insofar I input a lot of advice on running BarCamps and not so much the running around finding venues and sponsors which was all down to Bobbie Johnson.
After a few false starts, we ended up at the Sony 3Rooms as a venue. This is not an ideal place, being open plan so sessions could overpower each other, but even so, it provided a perfect backdrop to the day. Decorated with all sorts of stuff and full of Sony products, they provided the venue, the wifi and the food, often the most difficult things to organise for an event like this, so many thanks to them. We also got some consoles from Nintendo (I saw lots of bowling taking place) and Microsoft but the most popular by far was Rock Band, provided by fellow organisers Dan and Adrian from Six to Start, which kept people playing all day. I even had my first go on the drums.
About 100 people turned up and after a brief introduction the grid was opened and the sessions started to fill up. Even though many people had not been to a barcamp type event before, the format was embraced. Sessions ranged from how to kill someone (really) to religion in games. As with all such events, the sessions were of mixed quality and attendance but what made the day for many was just the chance to connect and interact in an informal environment. I never made any sessions on the morning, running around checking all was fine, but went to a few in the afternoon, such as ones on future of ARGS, hacking hardware, designing a game based on Jane Austen novels. Interestingly I never got my laptop out, but did take photos.
The feedback in the pub later seemed to indicate that the day was well enjoyed – now we need to arrange another one!
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