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Guest Blog: 07.48

Hello to you. I was planning to get something written yesterday, but I’m afraid the whole day ended up being a chain of train journeys dashing around to and from and across London.
First up, had a big early meet in guildford with a publishing partner who’s (all being well) working with us on a couple of big projects for the festival this year.
We’re having very different kinds of meetings about the festival this year compared to the past.
There’s this odd irony that as the whole show grows in stature, at the same time as we open it all out for more people to participate in with the opengamecity work, the central industry partnerships start to operate at a slightly different level. Things that used to be relatively simple for a single individual to ok, now become decisions across global brand management teams. Effectively, a team in Los Angeles dictates what can appear on a bus shelter ad in nottingham. It’s a process that’s as fascinating and complex as it is opaque and frustrating, but it’s increasingly a part of the day to day work at this stage of the year.
So, dashing back from guildford, i met up with James Newman from the National Videogame Archive and Martin hollis in soho, where we all learnt what a ‘stumpy’ was, before meeting up with Chloe, Chris, Arianna and Keita for an interview. This was K’s last day in Nottingham after a month with us working on the playground, and he’s looking happy, tired and easy to go home. We sat down to do a quick series of interviews for Xbox live, which (I’m told) will be going out on the Xbox dashboard sometime in the next few weeks. Largely, they were asking about the festival, future plans, the playground and the embassy event we were en route to that evening. K did his best, but tends to tire of being asked about his influences and i fear i may have indiscreetly announced some new ideas waaaaay before might be considered appropriate. Anyway…

25 mins later we’re striding down Piccadilly en route to the Japanese embassy for an event we’re running about the playground project, and the broad value of play. Embassy security is amazing. The first part, photo ID’s checked, bags scanned is much like any airport, but it’s following that that it gets really interesting. We have to be escorted inside by embassy staff, and taken in small groups into an airlock, before being released into an antechamber with lockers where we securely store our phones, laptops, any kind of photographic or recording equipment. The event kicks off promptly at 6.30 and seems to largely go well. Keita is charming as ever, and he and I are both tasteful, but very direction making appeals for financial support for the playground. It’s a capacity crowd, around 200 i think, and a real mix of people. Games events are always very difficult to judge audiences at. For everyone nerd who was up all night playing WoW there’s another person who doesn’t know what a playstation is, but this is a very warm and engaged crowd. The no-slides experiment works largely ok, but it does take a while to get into it. We finish at about 7.45 for a reception and spend an hour chatting about the event, the festival, the archive and the playground with attendees. The embassy guys seem really pleased with the show, and we finally tip out onto Piccadilly at 9 and go off in search of food and drink. 2 hours of ropey Malaysian food later and I’m having to make my apologies and turn in. K appears to be having a brilliant time so we end up having a brief debrief in the restaurant before I head back to the hotel.

So… It’s now 8.16 and I’m on the train to Brighton, heading down for the develop conference. This was great fun last year, but this time I’m sadly only down for today and overnight. A few festival meetings and sessions to host before tearing back up Nottingham for a midday thing tomorrow.

Oooop, we’re pulling in to Brighton. Hope you have a good day, talk later…