Lucky IMP students experience GDC Europe and GamesCom

Story: Emma Kiiski
Translation Douglas Symon

There were the most people in the booth area during the pauses in GDC
This years Game Developer Conference Europe and GamesCom guest lists included three students from our very own Degree programme in Media.  By winning the, Nokia sponsored, Demola organised mobile concept competition (read story) we were able to choose any conference in Europe to visit!  Our choice was GDC Europe 2011 and the affiliated GamesCom trade event that were held during the same week in Cologne, Germany.
It was easy to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and take part in both kinds of event on the same trip. With us travelled Bernard Garvey from Demola who seemed to enjoy our company.  For GamesCom Nokia were unable to finance our visit because of it officially being a separate event so TAMK very generously sponsored the extra nights needed to visit the trade fair.

GDC Europe is known and respected world wide as a large event in the gaming industry.  This year it included many lectures, parties and of course networking.  There were lectures from Monday to Wednesday on subjects ranging from business and marketing to game design, programming, visual arts and production.  We were of course able to choose which lectures we went to and most of the time plumped for those that seemed the most interesting.  Parties took place every night too.  From which you had to choose the best as well.  Networking was easier at parties because the feeling was relaxed and you were able to talk about more than just work.  At the end of the day my handbag was always full of business cards!
The humoristic lecturer told us about game design
It was fun to see that despite being at such a large event we were also able to meet other students.  We came in contact with, among others, German and Swedish students.  It was also brilliant to get to know people from outside Finland that are actually studying in the same area.  By sharing experiences and ideas you no doubt learn best.  On the other hand we also got to know some Finns from the games industry, which is handy when we come to think about internships.  GamesCom also had representatives from various Universities and that increased the possibilities for exchange studies.
Nintendo was pretty popular because their new 3DS console
We also succeeded in mingling with one of the biggest forces in the industry: ArenaNet!  The firm was presenting a demo of their new game, Guild Wars 2.  We were even able to test the game on Wednesday before the event even began as trade visitors and press had their own preview of GamesCom.  At the end of the week the gigantic halls we full to the brim with enthusiastic gamers.  Having been invited to the NCSoft party we got the opportunity to meet the actual producers from ArenaNet.  We got to know, among others, famous concept artists Kekai Kotaki and Daniel Dociu - a real once in a life time opportunity.  One of our group member's dreams came true when these legends came up with a surprising and unusual idea.  The next day at gamescom, on stage, Kekai was to draw a Guild Wars 2 tattoo onto none other than Anna's shoulder.  Of course you didn't need to ask Anna twice and she snapped up the opportunity what with being such a huge fan of the game.
Anna was very happy with her new tattoo
The journey was no doubt one that none of the group will forget! We are more than pleased with what we have learnt and found the whole experience really inspiring.  In the future we will no doubt be looking for even more promising opportunities, like this, to explore.

The three awarded students, Emma Kiiski, Douglas Symon and Anna Narinen are students of Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories from/about IMPs, the Media students