The Gamers in Society conference in Tampere is over. And pretty good it was too. I got to present at the end, which was lucky as I managed to ignore my notes and go off in all sorts of tangents, horribly over-running my allocated time. But some of the audience seemed to find it interesting (well, no-one booed and the "good cop / bad cop" commentary team of T.L. and Daniel in the front row didn't rip my work apart, so I guess it wasn't too bad).
I've come away with much to think about. As at the best conferences and events, the stuff that gets discussed around, before and after the event is often the most useful. So I have a pile of notes, especially relating to some work possibilities.
There's also the contention that games research and library/information studies are so similar as to be in many ways the same discipline. There are weirdly similar things going on in both sectors. After this event, talks, and seeing how the Game Research Lab view themselves, there's something in that; to be blogged about soon.
Of the event itself: one of the main parallels between the digital game and digital library academic sectors is how cool many of the people are. They dress cool, go to cool places, are generally cool, and write cool blogs. Check out this blog entry from Huevos (a picture of him in a bit), the first person I met at this conference, as well as blog entries from this attendee, and him, and this speaker, and Frans. And it's also noticeable that some of the coolest people, such as Frans and T.L., have dreadlocks, something not usually found in academic subject disciplines (certainly not in the UK).
In terms of cool, remember this event is run by a research group who party in style. Here's some of the attendees and speakers at the Tampere conference (picture by Frans):
See how cool they are, in between presentations? Here's some of them in a bar in Tampere after event:
Here's Annakaisa and Olli (complete with "rabbit ears") - both extremely cool dudes from the Game Research Lab:
...and here's Huevos - just beyond cool, and subverts the stereotypical worker media image from his company. As linked to above, he's also a damned good blogger who knows about wine. Katie Holmes will be ditching Thomas (why does no-one call him that or Tommy?) and hopping on the next plane to Seattle if she reads his blog:
I'm not cool at all, but I hope that hanging out with people such as this means some of their coolness will rub off on me. This would be useful as I might end up working with some of them; earlier today, I beat Professor Badger at Nintendo Wii bowling in the Game Research Lab with my vastly superior sisu. Him losing means that under EU regulations he is now obliged to give me a research post in his team. I have a horrible feeling though that there is a mandatory "cool" exam in Finland, which I may struggle to pass before they let me in the country again :-(
So the conference is over. What now? I have nearly a week to spare before I get on a flight back from Helsinki, and the time to chill out, clear the head ("My brain is full; can I be dismissed?"), get through that pile of notes and do some planning will be most welcome. After leaving it to the last minute, I decided to head north to the city of Oulu, where I'm currently typing this on the free broadband-connected PCs that nearly every Finnish hotel seems to have (UK hotel industry: please take note).
Tomorrow is a day for further planning, but possibilities for the next week include eating a pizza with a topping of bear, and meeting the "evil Santa", who is apparently not the same as the real one. I have these recommendations on very good authority. Watch this space. But tomorrow on this blog - the joy of Finnish trains, and finally enjoying a Finnish sauna...