Murmel’s Blog – A Maze. 2014

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My dear readers,

It is me again with news from Berlin. The last few days have been amazing. I am now sitting in a bus back to Kassel and have a few hours of travel ahead. Berlin was awesome as always and here is my full blog of the event and stuff around it:

I arrived Wednesday evening and we just had a relaxed few hours at Stamm’s with some cooking, beer and talking. Daniel was also staying at Stamm’s and we did some catching up and listened to Daniel’s stories from IGF. I really hope to get nominated with one of our future games, I so wanna go there!

A Maze. Banner

THURSDAY
Thursday was our first day at the A Maze. and we arrived a tad late for Jonathan Blows talk and only caught the last ten minutes. It was quite interesting though. He talked about his new game “The Witness”, puzzles in games, how he thinks adventure games a not a very good way of making games and answered some questions. I heard someone say the talk would be online, but right now I can’t find it.

The forum “Indie Arena”, which is a place for German indie devs to talk and get help from their peers, had some of the members do 5-minute talks, which was up next for us. This also marks one of the most beautiful moments of my life, because I can now officially declare: I have found my arch enemy! @Majusarts had the audacity to accuse me of “stealing” his idea to tweet a photo of the stage, and so – what will go down in human history as fight of the giants – the Twitter-war commenced. I have been waiting for 29 years to finally find myself a true arch enemy! Feels like the movie “Megamind”. The question, which one of us will be the evil one has not yet been addressed, though. Gonna tweet him right away to ask. If you want to make sure he knows who clearly is the cooler one, I suggest you tweet him @Majusarts and let him know it’s me! Go #teammurmel #majusVSmurmel (actually: if ANYONE even uses this, I think I will laugh my ass off and then send them fan mail)

Next up was a visit to the exhibition where some really cool games were shown to the public. I won’t go into detail with this, because this blog will be long enough even without describing the games. Here are a few impressions of the exhibition though:

Next up was the Indie Arena meeting, where members could get to know each other “offline” and have some cake and beer. This is where I met Wolf from the studio “Threaks” (creators of Beat Buddy and friends of Black Pants) for the first time, who is a very nice and really awesome person. We talked about a project he has in mind, for a cooperation of some German devs, which will be amazing, if it happens. We actually talked for so long, I did not get the chance to have any other meaningful conversations, so that’s the Indie Arena meeting for me.  Some amazing Indian food with the guys from our studio concluded this day.

FRIDAY
Friday started off with a very interesting talk by Rilla Khaled about reflection in and on video games, which basically is a philosophical way of looking at games that is really similar to what literature studies is for the field of literature. She actually does with video games, what I do with books at university and I am impressed. Super interesting talk and I so wanted to talk to her that day, but she was like the most wanted person on the festival and whenever I spotted her she already was in a conversation. I really hope that I will get the chance to meet her somewhere and ask her more about her work and views.

Followed by a panel discussion with writers/journalists Cara Ellison, Chris Priestman, Dennis Kogel and Lucy Morris, about “modern game criticism” that, I guess, was supposed to be a state of the union of game criticism but for me the questions that were asked were a bit too shallow, which was not these guys’ fault at all, just made it not that interesting to listen to.

After this we went to get some food and meet up at the Black Pants office for a night of drinking with the studio. We are scattered over two cities so we rarely are able to meet all in one place and this was great fun. Not too interesting talking point wise for you to read, just telling stories and getting drunk. But I made pictures, so there is at least that. Lennert was missed dearly, he had to stay in Kassel.

It was getting a bit late and I really wanted to go back for the last night of party at A Maze. and so when we split up I was the only one to go. I once again met Sos and Marius, and some other people and I would guess around 3 a.m. I went on to get home to Stamm’s. Boring ending though, right? Enter Jones and Flo (one of the Black Pants founders who went on to working freelance, but still a close friend). Almost home, the phone rings, some drunk mumblings on the other end and back to Urban Spree I went. In hindsight this might have been one of the better (see description below) and at the same time worse (headache next day) decisions recently but let’s say seeing Jones raving (handing out vodka shots left and right), a bunch of nerds ripping off their shirts to 8-bit-techno music and just all around mayhem was totally worth it. I was home around 6 a.m. and the next I heard from Jones was a call at almost 6 p.m. stating he had somehow just woken up at the office. I am so sad and sorry, that there are no photos to testify of this glorious night, but my battery was long gone after a long day of A Maze.

This concludes the blog. I have to say it has been a wonderful time in Berlin and I hope you had some fun reading this. For those who stuck around till the end now comes the surprise Stamm dance video:

So long,
Murmel

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