Local Makers Rep The Game Developers Conference, Jam on Trains, And Demo Pinbrawl

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The Game Developers Conference just wrapped up its 31st year, treating thousands of attendees to roundtable discussions, tutorials, summits and product booths.

Industry titans like Sony and Microsoft made their usual appearances, but the five-day event was so many independent game creators including a healthy presence from the Twin Cities area.

GLITCH and Power Leveling

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Ask An Indie: Charlie Mackin, VGDC – UMN

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Charlie Mackin, Designer/Producer, Vice President of Video Game Development Club (VGDC) – University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

What inspired you to start making games?

My family has always played games, I grew up watching my older brother play before I could hold the controller, and playing PC games like the Nancy Drew detective series. Once I got to college, I joined the Video Game Development Club to compose music for them. After awhile I started getting into the design side of it and have been working on games ever since.

At what age did you create your first game?

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Ask An Indie: Stephen McGregor, Escape Industries

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Stephen McGregor, Game Designer/Developer, Escape Industries

What inspired you to start making games?

I grew up playing video games, so when I was younger I had imagined becoming a game programmer and making games full time. I actually tried this as a child but programming was frustrating at the time, even with my dad and brother’s help. I was turned off to the idea at that point.

I came back to it in college when I found out that there were other things you could do in games besides programming or art. I took a natural interest in game design (my higher educational career was in engineering) and after a couple of years I got back in the saddle.

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[FIELD NOTES] Global Game Jam + GameCraft 2018

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Last weekend, over 200 programmers, artists, musicians and designers converged on the University of Minnesota campus to create games. Global Game Jam, launched in 2009, is the world’s largest event of its kind. Last year over 36,000 participants from 95 countries created over 7,000 games. Minneapolis-based games advocacy nonprofit GLITCH hosted GameCraft, the Twin Cities chapter of the event again this year.

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[FIELD NOTES] IGDATC January – Making Games with Bert & Ernie

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Professional and amateur game developers gathered on January 10th for an evening of design advice from industry veterans. The International Game Developers Association Twin Cities (IGDATC) chapter was founded in 2004 and meets regularly at the Nerdery in Bloomington with a focus on bringing together game makers in the Twin Cities at various stages of their careers.

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Ask An Indie: Kirk Hughes, GREEN’S DREAM

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Kirk Hughes, Freelance Indie Game Designer, GREEN’S DREAM.

What inspired you to start making games?

Growing up in a tiny Oklahoma town as a queer artsy kid was tough. I felt alienated from my peers and my family. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt like an alien. So I escaped into the alien lands of video games where I felt the freedom to empower myself to save worlds in peril. The games I kept my mind on as a kid taught my imagination to know no bounds, and I owe so much of my artistic success to the confidence those games built in me. I’m inspired to make games so that I can in turn inspire others in similar ways… And the interactive nature of games succeeds where other art forms fail.

At what age did you create your first game?

When I was 8, my family couldn’t afford to buy a Game Boy for me… So I made the shell of a Game Boy out of a tissue box, cut out the screen area, and fed receipt paper through the contraption. I drew hundreds of “side-scrolling” levels with obstacles, power-ups, and even checkpoints and goals.

I had stacks and stacks of receipt paper rolls that comprised my “Game Boy” game library. I moved on to create these bizarre interactive visual novels in PowerPoint, but my habit of first iterating on paper before implementing changes digitally began with my tissue box Game Boy.

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Ask An Indie: Nick Miller, Graveck Interactive

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Nick Miller, Lead Engineer, Graveck Interactive

What inspired you to start making games?

At age 6, my cousin introduced me to D&D. I barely understood what was going on, but I was hooked for life. Simultaneously, the NES craze had just started up. Add to this the fact that my family was into board games, and I was at the center of this perfect little maelstrom. As I learned reading, writing, and math at school, games were just a natural extension of the process.

I remember, circa third or fourth grade, that students were tasked with bringing in material to read for class. Other kids were bringing in Goosbumps and Highlights magazines. I was bringing in the Axis & Allies rulebook, Nintendo Power, and Mentzer D&D manuals (the red box!)

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