Thursday, November 13, 2003

"IN pâ piren": A meeting place for the creative industries

Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlshamn, Sweden

I'm not entirely sure how to describe this event. Thirty years ago, I'm sorry to say, I probably would have called it a "happening." The title means "IN on the pier" in Swedish. It seemed to be a three-day-long cocktail party, conference, dance and game design competition all rolled into one, with no set schedule: a great big anarchic collection of technology and game-related activity. I gave a lecture and participated in a round table discussion on the future of the game industry in Sweden, but the main reason I was there was to help organize and judge the game design competition, a 24-hour race for teams of students. The whole thing was held to celebrate the construction of a new building for the Blekinge Institute of Technology on the pier at Karlshamn, and it all took place in the 3-story atrium... complete with bands, acrobats, and a woman who performed a mildly erotic dance with a vacuum cleaner. (You had to be there.)

Anyway, the game design race went very well and the winning entries were suitably imaginative -- some of the contestants showed real promise. I had a great (if somewhat confused) time and hope to go back. I also made a lot of new acquaintances in the nascent Swedish game academy.