Tag: keynote

PICNIC ’08, part one: A healthy dose of cross-media inspiration

ARGNet @ PICNIC 08 LogoEditor’s Note: Daniël van Gool, an administrator at the Unfiction forums, was on the scene at PICNIC ’08 on behalf of ARGNet. We were impressed with Daniël’s work covering PICNIC ’07 and, as media partners of the annual cross-media festival, were invited to a number of special events in addition to the speaker sessions. This is the first part of Daniël’s comprehensive look at this year’s event. All pictures are courtesy of Daniël as well.

The morning of the 24th of September marked the third year I walked up to the intriguing Westergasfabriek area in the West of Amsterdam to attend PICNIC on behalf of ARGNet. In my report on PICNIC ’07 I tried to describe why this area is perfect for a conference that is all about creativity, innovation and inspiration: the Westergasfabriek area just breathes all those things. If you want to try and get an idea how PICNIC looked and felt in 2008, check out the set of rather nice 360-degree pictures made by C360.

PICNIC’s ambition is still growing, and they have taken things another step further this year, welcoming an even larger audience in attendance and hosting even more events before, during and after the main conference in comparison to the previous two years. The PICNIC Club, the central lounging and networking area, was moved to the Gashouder building this year. Previously a huge silo used to store natural gas, during PICNIC it was fitted with large patches of grass, rows of picnic tables, a stage with some impressive lightning, a couple of huge displays of hundreds of images of sheep (I will come to this later) and various booths and domes where demonstrations were held and books and picnic-baskets were sold.

Around 1:00pm. Bas Verhart and Marleen Stikker, founders of the Crossmedia Foundation and PICNIC, opened the event and announced that over 5000 people had registered this year for the main conference and all the partner events. The main theme of this year’s conference was Collaborative Creativity, a subject that has a couple of interesting parallels with the world of ARGs.

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Why We Eat Strangers’ Candy:  A Reflection on the ARGFest 2007 Keynote by 42 Entertainment

“Delivering a keynote address to this audience is really difficult.  What can we talk about?  We can’t talk about anything we’ve done in the past because you were all there experiencing it. We can’t talk about anything we’re working on right now because that would ruin the fun and the mystery of the experience. We can’t talk about anything we have planned for the future because frankly, you are the competition. All that’s left is self-deprecation and the elephant in the room…trust.” — Elan Lee

Those words kicked off one of the most fulfilling experiences of the ARGFest weekend, according to many of the participants. The keynote address by Sean Stewart and Elan Lee not only educated the audience (composed of players, puppetmasters, aspiring puppetmasters and other interested parties) but it also provided memorable insights into the successful games that helped establish 42 Entertainment as one of alternate reality gaming’s lead design companies.

Early on, the speakers noted that alternate reality gaming has a unique cability to evolve at any given time in accordance with the audience’s wishes.  That characteristic allows mistakes to be quickly assimilated into the game in a way that avoids the perception of failure (“Yeah, we meant to do that!”).

The discussion was split into three main sections:

— How is trust established?
— Why should puppetmasters care if the players trust them?
— Why do ARGs require trust?

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