Nordic Game Conference

After the closing of Creative Coast we all got on a train headed for back to Malmö for the Nordic Game Conference starting the following day. I spent the trip sharing music tastes with new friends Alex and Vile. We had an audio splitter and took in turns to each play one song for the others to listen to. My taste was the best, obviously.

I had originally planned to stay in Copenhagen during Nordic Game and needed get keys from a friend during the pre-conference dinner. I decided to follow Raxter and Riker to their accommodation and then we’d all head to dinner from there. They were staying with another game developer by the name of Niklas. Shortly after meeting Niklas, he noted that he had a spare couch and offered it to me. It didn’t take me long to agree. Which turned out to be the best decision because Niklas is way rad and staying there was certainly more fun and convenient than staying in Copenhagen would have been.

Best thing in the whole city.

Best thing in the whole city.

We bailed on the dinner (cuz no veggie options) and instead went to a great veggie burger place. After meeting up with some other cool game developers, we eventually ended up at a bar where you could order beers for just 10 Euros each! I hardly ever drink, and I did not choose that moment to start.

Raxter and I didn’t actually have passes to the conference (600 Euros lol), so we had a nice easy and somewhat productive morning the next day. Niklas’ apartment is filled with cool stuff. From musical instruments he’s built, to his furniture, trinkets and record collection. The place is a treasure trove for nerds like me. Apparently he finds a lot of his cool stuff in flea markets, so we decided to spend the afternoon flea market shopping. It was good fun and makes me really want to go explore some flea markets in Cape Town.

Playing Niklas' guitar while he mans the insane effects switchboard that he built.

Playing Niklas’ guitar while he mans the insane effects switchboard that he built.

Our plan was pretty much to hang out in Malmö and then meet up with people for the parties afterwards. And so we did! I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I really do love partying with game developers. They’re the best people and I always meet someone that I want to be friends with.

Captured this snapshot of Mads in his natural habitat.

Captured this snapshot of Mads in his natural habitat.

Skybar selfie: Joon, Mads, Nifflas, Riker, Raxter's hands, beautiful stranger.

Skybar selfie: Joon, Mads, Nifflas, Riker, Raxter’s hands, beautiful stranger.

The next day we decided to sneak into the conference anyway. A confident gait was all it took. Nordic Game reminds me a lot of GDC, but on a smaller scale. As the prohibitively priced passes suggest, it’s a lot more industry focused. It’s a conference where Epic presents their new engine features and Hideo Kojima presents the keynote instead of, well… us clueless indies.

One thing I do really like about Nordic Game is that they provide food and drinks on location. It keeps everyone at the venue and all the socializing feels more focused as a result. At GDC a lot of the best stuff happens in the bars and restaurants around the venue. I like the way everyone was mostly together at Nordic Game. Also, shout-out the Unity guy who made me like, 8 cappuccinos.

Things are happening at Nordic Game!

Things are happening at Nordic Game!

I didn’t go to many of the talks, but I still caught some gems. Ste Curran gave an incredible talk (this is what he does apparently) called Double Tap; a moving, somewhat harrowing thought piece about gun violence and video games. It left me rattled for a good 20 minutes… and I don’t even make those kinds of games.

I liked Martin Jonasson’s talk too.

Jana gave a talk about Stugan! STUGAN!

Jana gave a talk about Stugan! STUGAN!

That evening was the Nordic Game gala dinner, which we also snuck in to. The food was delicious, the company was great, but the real star of the evening was Marioke. Marioke is karaoke, except all the songs are now about video games. Cotton Eye Joe becomes Jonathan Blow, Common People becomes Console People and so on. The lyrics are always well done and hilarious. The whole thing feels like one big inside joke and it’s all stupidly good fun. Especially if you already love karaoke like I do. After the dinner Marioke was running for about 6 hours, and I think missed maybe 30 minutes of that.

Nordic Game gala dinner! Shout-out to Martin's sweater and Armel's jacket.

Nordic Game gala dinner! Shout-out to Martin’s sweater and Armel’s jacket.

It's blurry, but this photo just about captures the Marioke vibe.

It’s blurry, but this photo just about captures the Marioke vibe.

Marioke is organised by the members of the One Life Left radio show, one of whom is the same Ste Curran who gave the Double Tap talk. Anyway, the first time I went on stage to sing, he saw my name on the sign-up and pulled me aside. “Are you the same Robbie who is making VR Cricket?!” he asked, catching me completely off guard. Turns out Ste is a massive cricket fan and understands the importance of playing it in virtual reality. So he’s now on the list of people who are potentially interested in collaborating on the project. He’s number seven on the list. People seem to like VR Cricket.

We eventually ended up in this hotel room. I think that's vodka and orange juice?

We eventually ended up in this hotel room. I think that’s vodka and orange juice?

Friday was the last day of Nordic Game and also the indie day. Which means the talks are more interesting and you can get in for the (still formidable) sum of 60 Euros. I got a chance to play most of the games in the indie showcase. Fugl (a VR bird flying game) earned my vote for the competition. It didn’t win.

One of the highlights of the day for me was Falafelerence: an independent conference organised by Sos where you have to present a short talk whilst eating falafel. Johan took us to the best falafel place in town (it really was excellent) and we all crowded around a single tiny table to gripe about the game industry through mouthfuls of delicious falafel.

#falafelerence 2016: Good looking chap, Sos, Armel, Ditto, Tatiana, David.

#falafelerence 2016: Good looking chap, Sos, Armel, Ditto, Tatiana, David.

Ditto presenting Tatiana with the Independent Games Falafel award 2016.

Ditto presenting Tatiana with the Independent Games Falafel award 2016.

The Nordic Game after-party was pretty fun. Although I didn’t stay too long because we ducked out to find food and then ended up at a different after-party. Which was equally great, if not better.

The after party. Niklas is hiding behind that man's legs playing his crazy instruments. Also: Towerfall.

The after party. Niklas is hiding behind that man’s legs playing his crazy instruments. Also: Towerfall.

Eventually I reunited with Raxter and Riker and we started our final walk home. It was great staying with such good company and I was sad when it was time to say goodbye to Riker and Niklas. Hopefully I’ve done enough to convince them to visit Cape Town sometime!

The last breakfast: Riker, Niklas, Rax, exceedingly handsome fellow. Thanks folks!

Last breakfast with the gang: Riker, Niklas, Rax, exceedingly handsome fellow. Thanks so much folks!

Such a good week though! Amazing!

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