Journey producer Robin Hunicke to speak at Boston Festival of Indie Games

The Boston Festival of Indie Games has announced that its keynote speaker will be Robin Hunicke, former executive producer of Journey. Hunicke's talk, Finding Meaning in Gameplay, will "focus on how developers can create games that inspire new feelings, by looking inward and examining the everyday experiences of their own lives," according to the festival's site.

Hunicke left thatgamecompany in late March 2012 for Tiny Speck, before co-founding indie studio Funomena in September 2012 with former thatgamecompany programmer Martin Middleton.

The Boston Festival of Indie Games, which is in its second year of existence, will be held on September 14. Its planners are raising funds on Kickstarter to improve the event, and are currently $2,414 shy of their $15,000 goal with 11 days left in the funding campaign. Incentive for those pledging $25 or more (aside from a warm, charitable feeling) is a PC bundle that includes Fieldrunners and Go Home Dinosaurs.
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Boston Festival of Indie Games Announces Keynote Speaker Robin Hunicke
Producer of award-winning PSN game Journey to present featured talk at festival
May 14, 2013 ---Cambridge, MA- The Boston Festival of Indie Games, presented by MIT Game Lab and Boston Indies, today announced game designer and producer Robin Hunicke as their keynote speaker scheduled to appear at this year's festival, scheduled for Saturday, September 14 at the MIT campus. BostonFIG is currently in the last two weeks of their Kickstarter fundraising campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/bostonfig/boston-festival-of-indie-games-2013.

Hunicke is well known as the executive producer of the award-winning downloadable game Journey on Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN). Her presentation for Boston Festival of Indie Games, titled "Finding Meaning in Gameplay", will focus on how developers can create games that inspire new feelings, by looking inward and examining the everyday experiences of their own lives.

As the executive producer of Journey, Hunicke ran a small indie team of roughly a dozen game developers. The game takes players from desert to mountaintop, through a breathtaking series of landscapes. Along the way, they cross paths with other players and can choose to adventure on together or alone. The experience struck the game world with its uniquely emotional qualities, while illustrating the high level of polish that a relatively small game development team can deliver. Journey achieved worldwide critical acclaim and marketplace success, as well as securing countless awards and nominations for game design, online innovation and artistic execution from numerous respected organizations such as BAFTA and the Grammys.

An artist and computer scientist by training, Hunicke recently co-founded the independent game studio, Funomena. There, alongside fellow Journey developer Martin Middleton, she is building a team to work on experimental gameplay projects and games for social good. Robin's interest in the unique power of games to bring people together began with her early work on family-friendly franchises MySims and Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox for Nintendo Wii.

Hunicke offers, "Speaking at national and international events such as Boston Festival of Indie Games gives me the opportunity to broaden our understanding of what games can be. It's also a fantastic opportunity to talk with the Indie developers of tomorrow, as their ideas and ideals take shape. Our biggest strength as a community is our willingness to share ideas and dialog about what the future of the medium will be. I'm interested in being part of that incredibly inspiring and important conversation about how we can build a diverse, sustainable and creative community."

Rik Eberhardt, BostonFIG co-producer and programming co-chair, says, "In part, we've developed Boston Festival of Indie Games on the foundation that game development is both highly collaborative and intensely creative, and that for indies in particular, you can successfully have the best of these two worlds, effective teamwork and focused creative inspiration. Robin's experience as a game designer and producer provides a model for this, encouraging indie game developers to reach for the highest heights when producing their games. We are incredibly thrilled that she is coming to Boston to talk with indie games enthusiasts in our community."

The 2nd annual Boston Festival of Indie Games will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the Stratton Student Center and the Johnson Athletic Center on the MIT campus. A celebration of independent game development in a variety of media and genres, Boston Festival of Indie Games is free and open to the public. Festival attendees play video games, tabletop games and live action roleplaying (LARP) games in a casual, inclusive environment, plus attend film screenings and keynote talks. To register to attend and to receive regular festival updates, visit www.BostonFIG.com.

About Boston Festival of Indie Games (www.bostonfig.com):
The Boston Festival of Indie Games is a celebration of independent game development with emphasis on the New England and neighboring regions. The Boston Festival of Indie Games seeks to support and showcase the efforts of independent game developers by providing a free public event that encourages attendees to share and interact with games in various media, including video games, location-based games and tabletop games. Produced under the non-profit auspices of BeEpic, a Boston location-based games production group, the Boston Festival of Indie Games is focused on creating an intersection between community, academic and independent interests in game play.

About MIT Game Lab (http://gamelab.mit.edu):
The MIT Game Lab brings together scholars, creators and technologists to teach, conduct research and develop new approaches to applied game design and construction. Ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the top 10 schools to study Video Game Design in North America, the MIT Game Lab maintains MIT's role as a leader in the study, design and development of games. The MIT Game Lab's goal is to explore, educate and engage the public by creating groundbreaking games, interactive online courses and new applications to real world challenges.

About Boston Indies (www.bostonindies.com):
Boston Indies is a community of dedicated independent game developers in Massachusetts and the surrounding area. Boston Indies works to foster a sense of community among Boston's independent game developers, facilitate monthly meet-ups and other related community events, encourage developers to create games independent of large budgets and large company ties, provide a safe environment to obtain critical feedback on game development works in progress and serve as a brain trust for important information sharing among local independent developers.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.