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July 14, 2008

No More Slamdance

Overheard from Jonathan Blow, he of Braid development fame, via Sam Roberts: the Slamdance Games Festival is cancelled, and appears likely to be no more. No big surprise there, but it's unfortunate nevertheless. What a startling and swift fall into oblivion, triggered entirely by one little controversial entry.

It's a shame because, as one commenter noted, it was a good way for indies to get exposure outside of traditional gaming circles. Aaron Reed's report of his experiences there pushing his interactive fiction game "Whom the Telling Changed" was great stuff, especially the game transcript analysis he provided. Other shows are picking up the slack, like IndieCade, but there was still something about Slamdance being in Park City along with the Sundance festival that made it seem bigger than "just" a gamer's event.

1 comment:

Jimmy Maher said...

The OTHER side of Slamdance being at Sundance was that many of the people who wandered through were likely really there for the movies, and their interest in games was limited at best. This is why I've always been a little skeptical about Aaran Reed's transcripts from there, which seemed to show most people being confused by Whom the Telling Changed and losing interest quickly. Of course they did! These were likely mostly movie people killing time waiting for the next screening who wandered into the Slamdance Hall and idly poked at the exhibits, Telling among them. I never felt it was wise to read as much into these transcripts as many did.

But that's a tangent, isn't it? I think a better Slamdance would be affiliated with something like the South by Southwest Interactive Festival rather than tacked onto a film festival. I love movies and also love games, but I get the impression that most cinema buffs are of the Roger Ebert school when it comes to games: skeptical at best. I'm not sure we're at a stage where we should be even trying to fight that particular uphill battle.