February was the time of hard decisions – “CEGC”, “Casual Connect”, “Screenshake” – three conferences around the same time. Luckily, we already went to “Casual Connect” and “CEGC” last year, so – succumbing to the urge of getting to know new events and cultures – the obvious choice was “Screenshake”.
“Screenshake” is an independent game festival by “The House of Indie” in Antwerp (Belgium) and less focused on business relations than the other two events. Therefore, the visit made even more sense, since our new project still mostly consists of tons of concept paperwork and does not require new business partnerships yet, but rather highly valued feedback by fellow developers.
Antwerp is a beautiful city, very clean and well protected as you can see in the picture. I kicked off the “Screenshake” with friends and tasty Belgian beer – if you like to do the same, please be aware of the fact that it is far more potent than the usual beer around the world. In general, the first night was mostly about catching up with old friends. In addition, I also managed to visit the first “Belgium Game Awards” and somehow totally missed the first party night at “Screenshake”, which is a real pity, because even if Friday was only 1% of the Saturday night party it still would have been an amazing event. Every band on Saturday was a combination of outstanding music and custom-made visuals that were absolutely lovely. I can still hear people talking about the pixel train. Sadly, I was too stunned by the visuals, which is why I did not take a picture of this one, so here is a nice character instead:
“Screenshake” is of course not only about party and networking. The event also features a good collected game exhibition that is presented very well. But for me the best part were the talks. The lineup did not hook me right away; I went there just because I enjoy hearing talks and thoughts of other people in general. But these presentations knocked my socks off! There was a perfectly researched talk about the history of art games by Lana Polansky, a talk that was more a performance about love and violence by Ste Curran and my personal favorite: a talk about sim cities by Paolo Pedercini. This presentation quickly escalated into thoughts about teaching in games, combining society with gameplay ideas, solving society’s big problems and hearing interesting stories about sim cities and cities in general (all this in one single talk – if you ever have the chance to go to a talk by this guy – I highly recommend doing so).
The perfect ending for those days full of action for body and mind was the combination of live music performance and live gameplay of Journey and Ori.