After 4 days of seminars and networking events, I was beat. But, boy was it worth it.
The first day was devoted almost entirely to the Casual Connect Leadership Conference organized and supported by Women In Games International (WIGI) and Women In Games Vancouver (WIGeh). Numerous speakers presented a variety of topics, each with a particular interest in the role that women play in games, games play in the lives of women, and the portrayal of women in games.
As a person interested in the breakdown of stereotypes, thus allowing everyone’s true potential to shine, I was very engaged in the presentations of the day, which in the end left me feeling very hopeful and empowered about the potential of gaming.
Not long after, a set of roundtable discussions were set up with a variety of topics ranging from working as a contract vs employed worker, owning a small business, and moving up in the games industry.
A networking event followed with the inclusion of other folks from a more general Casual Connect audience, and it was a great night!
Highlight of my day: Megan Gaiser of Her Interactive’s presentation on “The Importance of Leadership”
Day 2 (Day 1 of Casual Connect officially)
Audio day! The entire day had an option to hear speakers who are professionals in the audio for casual games environment. Great ideas were shared including a glimpse into how other professionals create their sound design assets. It was entertaining, welcoming, and I learned a great deal. Speakers covered a wide range of aspects including the creation of stings, sfx, composition, recording, and producing. I would recommend this to any person interested in the audio for casual games arena. A very cohesive day in the audio stream.
Highlight of my day: Barry Dowsett of Sound Rangers on “The Birth and Life of a Sound Effect”
Day 3 (Day 2 of Casual Connect officially)
I attended seminars in business, development, publishing, indie game developer issues, and branding. Very valuable to see how other roles in the game development sphere perceive the development, publishing and general business of casual games.
The evening finished with a social event at the Fairmont thrown by Mochi Media. It started late (I am usually an in bed by 10 PM up at 6 AM sort) but it had a great creative energy. Very welcoming atmosphere and people were very jovial. The open bar may have helped.
Highlight of my day: the presentation by Arthur Humphrey from Last Day of Work, who really challenged developers to create games that are truly original and thus have great staying power.
Day 4 (Day 3 of Casual Connect officially)
A good part of this day I spent in the area where the booths were set up, meeting people, mingling, and making some great contacts. I attended a very interesting seminar on Wellness Gaming (an area of which, as an educator and general outdoorsy type I am intrigued by) and was disappointed when there was little time left for questions. The audience seemed to be very engaged, and it was a shame that more time was not available.
Highlight of my day: Wellness Gaming Seminar, with its diversity and great ideas in creating games that not only entertain, but help.
I drove back to Vancouver not long after that, all the while reflecting on what a great experience Casual Connect Seattle 2009 had been for me.
Two things I liked: the friendliness of the Casual Games community and the desire to really “Be the change you want to see” in many of the people I met
One thing that could use improvement: in my perspective, a greater emphasis on critical discussion would be welcomed
One thing I would add: A stream or area related to games for learning and Serious Games to bring that world into Casual Connect. And while yes, they are different, I think an associated stream would be very beneficial for all parties.
Until next year Casual Connect!
Lead Audio Designer/Composer