Nordic Game Conference - The Malmö Experience

Story and pictures: Heidi Mäenpää
The Nordic Game Conference lasted for three days and gave all of us Game Design students a great overview on how the industry actually works. Like with many other new media professions, networking is the key element. Perhaps the main message of the whole event was "Drink All the Beers!", a statement made during one of the presentations. This means that even if you don't actually drink beer, you have to be ready to spend time with people from the industry at any time. The more people know your name, the more likely it is that you get help when trying to reach your personal goals.

The beginning of a great trip!

During the first day we had free time until the evening, so many of us went to visit Copenhagen or simply explored the beautiful and sunny city of Malmö. Later we gathered at the Slagthuset for the Indie Night and we got our first glimpse of the people we were going to spend the next two days with. As real Game Developers we tested the games that were being showcased and voted for the best one. The winner of the voting was announced at the Gala Dinner on Thursday evening.

Brave IMPs preparing to go outside and test Play Ground

Klemen Krulec trying out the Blind Monk

The winner of the Indie Night: Laza Knitez!!

Emma Kiiski mingling...

Play all the games!

Unfortunately Klemen's vote wasn't enough for the Blind Monk to win...

On Thursday it was time for the first set of keynotes and panels of the conference. There were also companies and software developers showing what they had to offer. In addition to some serious networking we were able to show our games to people and got expert advice on how to continue developing those games. It was a great learning experience!

The "Recruiters' Alley"

There was something familiar with these birds...

Wilhelm Österberg and Teemu Haila from Wooga sneaking around

Some like it colourful!

Demonstrating how to give your game demo some juiciness

After a long day of talking and mingling we joined the others for the great Gala Dinner, where all the winners of the NGC prizes were announced. The Finns seemed to be the loudest ones in the audience, because the noise we made every time a Finnish game was presented or won a prize was overwhelming. We of course were able to sneak into the good side of the dining hall, right next to the Sponsors table. You can find us from this picture, and you can also browse through the rest of the photos and see how many times you can spot one of us!

When the prizes had been handed out and everybody was full from the excellent food we were all transported to the party place, located in the middle of the city. There we focused on having a great time and handed out our business cards in hopes that we would be remembered the next day also...

This is how game developers party..!

On Friday morning we cleaned up our hostel rooms and headed to listen to the final day presentations. There was a mysterious lack of people in the first keynotes of the day, but the later the time was the more people found their way to the conference once again. There were some really interesting topics in the afternoon, the biggest hit being the panel about the IP usage of Game of Thrones. No surprise there, really...

Waiting for the first presentation of the day to begin

Where have all the game developers gone..?

The Game of Thrones discussion was a huge hit! 

My favorite speaker at the conference was Phil Fish, the once misunderstood indie game developer with many smart things to say. He is one of the creators of the brilliant Xbox360 arcade game FEZ, here is a trailer for it in case you have missed it.

One of the most interesting speakers in the conference: Phil Fish

For me and many others this was the most useful trip we have ever made. Getting to know people from the industry and networking with others interested in games not only helps us now but also in the future. I at least will join the fun next year, even if the funding comes from my own pockets. A definite recommendation to anyone interested in Nordic (and other) games!