Casual Seattle

Since the Mobile Games Seminar in L.A. was cancelled, I spent my September travelling week in Seattle meeting interesting people. My host for the week was Alex Thayer from Microsoft Hardware and I had a chance to give a small speech to their team on Monday. Again, I was preaching about casual in games cultures and giving similar presentation as I did for the Nordic Game audience. Hardware team was eager to discuss about the issue and the presentation hour was rather pleasant for that reason. Later on that day I gave the same presentation to Microsoft Research (hosted by Daniel Pargmanand they recorded and streamed the speech. I hope that someone saw it online, since in the audience I had only two people. Well, the lecture was notified internally rather late, but still: I felt weird almost talking to myself. Later that week I had also brief discussion with Marc Smith from Microsoft Research.

Later that week I also had meeting in downtown with Big Fish Games dudes Nate Webb and Patrick Wylie. We had interesting talk about the casual, even though the lunch time was too short for deeper conversation. I am myself a big fan of Big Fish Games and I wish all the best for their team.

I had a meeting scheduled also with John Vechey from Popcap, but unfortunately I did not manage to get together with him due to changes in the schedule. Fortunately I had a really pleasant conversation and office tour at Microsoft Casual Games division by Kim Pallister who showed interest on my Nordic Game slides earlier this summer. Kim seemed to be well aware of the “casual” on that same perspective that we in GameSpace project and we ended up also sharing some memories of C64 games. He seemed to be very sharp guy. Ok, it seems this feeling is mutual.. 😉

 Here are some pics of the meetings (mouseover for explanations):

Alex and Microsoft mail box. My presentation at Hardware. Seattle and blue beetle.

Me at the Space Needle. Nate and Pat. Nice dudes. Perhaps too little public transportation?

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Travel & conferences

I have been rather busy with travelling and starting up the idea generation study from the middle of September till now. The craziness ended last Monday when I arrived from Toronto, Future Play 2007 conference where we presented our “Casual Games Discussion” paper and “Creativity Techniques in Game Design” poster. It took me more than a week to recover from the jet-lag. It’s like Japan all over again. Well, some of the jet-lag problems must have been due to the lag of sleep that I gained in Northern Game Conference in Oulu, week before that.

Future Play 2007 conference was actually my second trip to Canada, since in September as I travelled to Seattle and Microsoft, I spent one day over border in Vancouver with Play New team playing our idea generation games.

In between these two I have been completely busy on putting finishing touches to our idea generation package that was sent for GameSpace industry partners. As we delivered the packages, we conducted pre-interviews with Hannamari Saarenpää and Johannes Niemelä and even though we have not have time to analyse the data, I have to say that we are holding a valuable piece of information. 🙂