That’s a Wrap: Lessons from G4C

The 2020 Games for Change (G4C) Virtual Festival officially ended last week, and boy, was that an incredible experience for IJKL Studio!

At first, we really didn’t know what to expect when it came to running our virtual booth. We had assumed our booth would be static, when in fact, we were able to present live, so we had to be extremely agile to whip something together on the first day of the Festival (Thank you, Interdisciplinary Improv class at the CDM), and then iterate each time on our presentation to make it better, smoother, and more engaging throughout our 5 live sessions.

At the CDM, we’re used to presenting our work to our cohort and faculty, but that audience is usually dedicated to hearing our presentations in full. I found it to be very intimidating at G4C when our anonymous audience came and went as they pleased. I had to work very hard to not let any drops in viewership make me lose my train of thought while presenting. But on the last day of the festival, we were rewarded with very positive feedback in our chat.

We were also able to put out an event-wide poll about loneliness, which produced some interesting results:

Although the responses followed a relatively standard normal distribution, it wasn’t entirely symmetrical, with more responses indicating that loneliness does affect our G4C visitors.

Other functions of the virtual festival included some awesome talks on the main stage: I listened to a keynote by Anita Sarkeesian on mental health in games, and was a little starstruck to hear her speak.

Another fun feature of the event was the speed networking, where you are randomly paired with another G4C attendee for a 5-10min conversation. At first, this felt awkwardly like speed dating (I mean, just look at the wording of the screenshot below), but this eventually became my coolest takeaway about the benefits of virtual conferences. Whereas an in-person conference requires icebreakers, and you never know exactly how much time you have to speak with someone, online networking in this format armed both participants with the same understanding about the planned length of the conversation and the need to be concise. It was a great way to meet others in the games industry, and we were able to direct some people to our booth because of it.

Finally, we are so grateful for all the connections we were able to make with potential players of our game. Having a platform to reach this group of gamers worldwide, meant we were able to get more responses for our game user test on art and narrative. This week, we will be integrating this feedback into a new digital prototype, and planning the design of a new level for our game, Lazuli. Stay tuned… 🙂

What were your favourite parts about G4C? Let us know in the comments below.

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